Best Time to Visit The Philippines: Rainy Or Dry Season?

Last updated on March 3rd, 2020 at 11:25 am

As you already know, the Philippines is Rachel’s home country, and it has been mine too (apart from my home country Spain). It is an archipelago composed of more than 7000 islands and 17 regions. If you are a foreigner or even a Filipino wanting to explore the Philippines soon, continue reading as we unravel the best time to visit the Philippines based on our experience and research.

Because of its geographical features, millions of tourists coming from different parts of the world visit the Philippines to enjoy their beaches, mountains, lakes, and other tourist spots. Even in rainy season you will find a perfect weather in places like Camiguin and Siargao Island.

Read here: Things to Know before Visiting the Philippines

Also, read here: Travel Guide to Philippines (for low budget)

If you don’t know yet, here are some important information you might want to know about the Philippines too:

Visa

Nothing too complicated. Just make sure all is set and prepared based on the requirements for you to visit the Philippines. US and European passport holders need their visas to be at least 6 months before expiry. That’s for eligibility to stay for 30 days free. And if you are planning to stay longer than 30 days, read here how to get a visa extension in The Philippines!

Flight Out Ticket

This is a must. In Ruben’s experience, they will really require you to show your flight out ticket. He was once stuck in Singapore because they required him to purchase a ticket to make sure he will leave the country. And that’s even with him telling them that he will be renewing his visa in the Philippines!

If you don’t have solid plans on dates of leaving the lovely archipelago, here are sweet options for you. You have to make sure that you show a booking flight ticket leaving the Philippines. After this you can read how easy is the visa extension in the Philippines.

Currency

The Philippine’s official currency is the Philippine Peso (Pesos for plural).

Average exchange rate is $1 USD= 50 (PHP). You can check here for more information.

Safety

Traveling in the Philippines is safe. You should not have a problem. There is of course the basic make-sure-your-stuff-is-secure advice, but apart from that, there’s no need for extra security. I had the pleasure meeting female travelers and friends in the Philippines who told me that they felt totally safe at every moment exploring the country.

Looking for places to stay in the Philippines? Book with Agoda or Booking to get discounts!

Click here if you want to get discounts on your booking activities in the Philippines with Klook!

You may also click here to get a pretty sweet discount on your first booking with AirBnB! 

Having insurance while you are traveling outside your home country is very important. Make sure that you have one too, to keep you safe in your trips around the world.

Best Time to Visit the Philippines

The Philippines is a tropical country. It means that this country is found in the tropics, or a region located along the equator of the earth. Other tropical countries include India, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Instead of the usual 4 seasons, tropical countries like those only have two seasons wet and dry. But which one is the best time to visit the Philippines, wet or dry? Let’s find out.

Two Seasons in the Philippines – Dry and Wet Seasons

Dry Season

According to PAGASA, the government agency in the Philippines responsible for weather forecasting, the dry season in the Philippines lasts from December to May. The season is further divided into two – the cool dry season and the hot dry season. 

The cool dry season lasts from December to February, where rain is not expected but sometimes, typhoons occur in some parts of the country during these months. The hot dry season, or summer, lasts from March to May. Rain rarely occurs especially on the first two months and temperatures can go up to 34 degrees Celsius.

For many, during the dry season is the best time to visit the Philippines. It’s mainly because you are free to go out and explore the cities, towns, beaches, mountains of the country. It’s true if you’re an outdoor person like us. You can enjoy most of the natural tourist spots of the Philippines during this season.

Click here to know more about the weather in the Philippines.

What to do during the Dry Season in the Philippines

1. Go to the beaches and do island hopping.

If there’s something you cannot miss doing during the dry season in the Philippines, especially during the hot dry season or summer, it’s going to the beach. The country has thousands of beaches so there’s a lot of options to choose from. The most famous beaches in the Philippines can be found in Palawan, Boracay, Cebu, Batangas, and many more! Summer is indeed the best time to visit the Philippines to explore its beaches.

Best time to visit the Philippines

Read here: Boracay Travel Guide and Malapascua Travel Guide

Click here to read: Coron Travel Guide and El Nido Travel Guide

Also read: Best Beaches in Batangas and Best Beaches in Cebu

2. Do mountain hiking

There are many mountains you can hike during the dry season in the Philippines. Dry season is the best time to visit the Philippines if you like hiking because it’s more safe than hiking during the wet season. Just make sure to equip yourselves with the right equipment for protection during your hike. 

Taal Volcano

Click here to read a guide on hiking one of the most famous hiking spots in the Philippines: Hiking Taal Volcano.

Click here to get a discount booking a guide tour to Taal Volcano with Klook!

Also read here: Awesome Waterfalls in the Philippines

3. Visit cold provinces in the Philippines

If you cannot take the heat of the sun, go to the coldest spots in the Philippines during the summer! Some of these places are Baguio (the summer capital of the Philippines), Tagaytay, Sagada, Banaue, Batanes and Davao City.

Baguio

Read here: Baguio Tourist Spots and How to get to Baguio from Manila

Click here to read: Tagaytay Tourist Spots, Banaue Travel Guide and Where to Stay in Banaue

Also read: Exciting Things to do in Batanes and Davao Travel Guide

4. Experience the summer festivals

a. Ati-Atihan Festival

Best time to visit the Philippines, Ati-Atihan Festival

Celebrated every: Third Sunday of January

Location: Kalibo, Aklan

This whole-week of tribute to Santo Niño (with its peak on the 3rd Sunday of January) is a very festive and colorful festival. People with colorful face paints and indigenous costumes go outside to parade themselves. There are fun tribal dances and loud drum beats everywhere, as well as Catholic rituals.

b. Sinulog Festival 

Celebrated every: Third Sunday of January

Location: Cebu City

One of the most awaited festivals in the Philippines, Sinulog  brings together the residents of Cebu City to have fun, celebrate and showcase their talents in sports, street dance, pageants, and other activities. What to expect during Sinulog? Colorful and loud parades with concerts and parties. Sinulog is another tribute to Santo Niño and you will constantly hear “Pit Señor!” during the celebration.

c. Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Celebrated every: Second week of February

Location: Clark Freeport, Angeles, Pampanga

It’s one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Angeles City for over 22 years already. It’s a 3-day event of non-stop flying entertainment from hot air balloon rides, helicopters, paragliders, and skydivers. Visit their website to avail your tickets and to know more information about this event.

Read here: Where to Stay in Angeles City and Best Restaurants in Angeles City

d. Panagbenga Festival 

Celebrated every: February to March

Location: Baguio City

This month-long celebration in Baguio City is indeed a visual treat to the eyes. You’ll fall in love with the giant colorful floats adorned with beautiful flowers parade along the Session Road. There are also street dancing, loud music, and flower carts on the parade. This was first held after the 1990 Luzon earthquake to uplift the people affected by the disaster.

e. Pahiyas Festival

Pahiyas Festival

Celebrated every: May 15

Location: Lucban, Quezon

Also known as Harvest Festival, Pahiyas Festival is dedicated to San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. People competitively decorate their homes using the fruits and vegetables they have harvested and people can pick up those harvest for free! These decorations are judged by officials and the winner will get a prize.

Wet Season in The Philippines

Wet season in the Philippines lasts from June to November. It is where rain is expected almost every month and most of the typhoons come. However, rainfall distribution throughout the country varies from one area to another. 

Did you know that Baguio City, eastern Samar, and Eastern Surigao receive the greatest amount of rainfall every year? This is according to PAGASA, the weather agency of the Philippines. 

But don’t let the rain take away your chance to enjoy the Philippines! In fact, many people love the rain because of the humid and warm climate in the Philippines. You can also enjoy many activities and tourist spots in the Philippines even during the rainy season.

What to do during Wet Season in the Philippines

1. Go surfing

Who said that you cannot go to the beach during the wet season in the country? For surfers and surfing enthusiasts, the rainy season is the best time to visit the Philippines. It’s because the waves are ideal when it’s raining because of the Hanging Habagat or Habagat winds. Some of the best surfing spots in the Philippines are Siargao, La Union, Boracay, and Pagudpud

Read here: Best Siargao Tourist Spots and Best Beaches in Siargao Island

Click here to read: Best La Union Tourist Spots and 3-Day La Union Itinerary

Also read: Best Beaches in Boracay and Where to Stay in Boracay

2. Camiguin Island

Camiguin Island, tourist spots in the Philippines

Visit Mindanao places like Camiguin where it’s dry season. One of our favorite tourist spots in the Philippines. Camiguin island is a paradise to discover. From Mantigue Island where you can enjoy snorkeling to White Beach popular for the sand bar. If you want to relax in the island Hibok Hibok Hotspring will be your place when it’s getting cold in Camiguin.

Read here our favorite Camiguin tourist spots!

3. Siargao Island

Enjoy the best island hopping in the Philippines in Siargao with perfect weather. Siargao became in one of the most popular places to visit in the Philippines. This beautiful island is a must to explore. You can surf, relaxing, swimming, island hopping and visit the best tourist spots in the Philippines in Siargao. You can get by plane from Cebu and there are also ferries coming from Surigao.

Read here our favorite Surigao tourist spots!

4. Having a relaxing staycation

Who doesn’t love the relaxing vibes the rain gives when you’re indoors, sipping your hot cup of coffee or chocolate drink? If you got tired of all the activities during the summer in the Philippines and you want to take a break, you can have a relaxing staycation instead. Enjoy watching movies, eating, or even having a home-service massage.

Read here: Where to Stay in Tagaytay, Surigao, and Baguio

Also read: Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa and Manila 

Click here to book your staycation with discounts using Agoda and Booking!

5. Experience the rainy season festivals

a. Kadayawan Festival 

Celebrated every: Third week of August

Location: Davao City

Kadayawan came from the word “madayaw” which means beautiful in Davaoeño. It’s the most colorful harvest festival in Mindanao, which celebrates the beautiful and abundant harvest of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and other produce in the Davao Region. This festival is celebrated through colorful parades with huge floats, ethnic dance contests, fireworks display, pageants, and food events.

b. Masskara Festival

Celebrated every: Third week of October

Location: Bacolod City

The City of Smiles, Bacolod’s Masskara Festival is another colorful festival where the resilience of Filipinos is celebrated. There are parades everywhere with dancers wearing colorful smiling masks with loud drum beats. There are also events in this week-long festival such as pageants, concerts, and many more!

c. Wattah Wattah Festival

Image from Flickr | Jiru Rada

Celebrated every: June 24

Location: San Juan, Metro Manila

Also called the Basaan Festival, Wattah Wattah is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Saint John the Baptist, patron saint of San Juan. People go out to splash water on every person passing by the streets. Make sure to avoid San Juan every June 24  if you don’t want to get wet, ha!

More Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Time to Visit the Philippines

1. Expect higher prices for everything during the dry season

Of course, when visiting during the peak season in the Philippines (which is the dry season), you have to expect higher prices for everything- flight tickets, hotels, tours, non-seasonal food, etc. This can be expected also during the Christmas season. To minimize or avoid this, we recommend for you to book your flights and accommodations in advance.

Get discounts from booking your accommodations with Booking, Agoda, and Airbnb.

Read here: How much do you need to travel in the Philippines?

Click here to read how to explore the Philippines on a low budget!

2. Be aware of typhoons and other disasters

You wouldn’t want to be stuck and stranded in your hotel room during your trip, right? To avoid this inconvenience, make sure to be aware of the current news in the Philippines especially during the wet season where typhoons are expected to come. According to PAGASA, typhoon season’s peak is from July to October, when nearly 70% of all typhoons develop. You should also consider some of the disasters that might strike the places you want to visit, especially those with volcanoes.

3. Know the right places to visit for every season

When there’s a typhoon in the country, not all of the provinces are really struck by that typhoon. For example, when the typhoon is in the northern part of the country, you can still go on your trip in the middle part or southern part of the country. In our experience, it is best to visit beaches like El Nido during the dry season. During the wet season, you can visit places in the southern part of the Philippines like Camiguin, Siargao, and other provinces in Mindanao.

Read here: How to get to General Luna from Siargao Airport

Click here to read: Where to Stay in Samal Island, Davao

Also read: How to get to Siargao from Surigao

Verdict: What is really the best time to visit the Philippines?

For us, it depends on what kind of traveler you are. If you are an outdoor type of traveler who loves going outside to explore most of the time, then the best time to visit the Philippines is during the dry season, or the months of December to May. But if you don’t mind getting wet by the rain and still enjoy indoor and outdoor activities even when it’s raining, we could say that the best time to visit the Philippines for you is during the wet season, or the months of June to November.

It doesn’t really matter what time you visit the Philippines, as long as there are no emergencies or strong typhoons, we guarantee you that you’ll enjoy the Philippines no matter during what season you visit. 🙂 

For you guys, what is the best time to visit the Philippines? Dry season or rainy season? Let us know your thoughts!

Looking for places to stay in the Philippines? Book with Agoda or Booking to get discounts!

Click here if you want to get discounts on your booking activities in the Philippines with Klook!

You may also click here to get a pretty sweet discount on your first booking with AirBnB! 

Having insurance while you are traveling outside your home country is very important. Make sure that you have one too, to keep you safe in your trips around the world.

Feel free to use our links with discounts for Booking, Agoda, Airbnb and Klook. Using our links you will help us to continue with the maintenance of the website and it will not cost you anything. Thanks for the love guys.

Happy travels!

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. Now based in the Philippines!

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