When to visit the Philippines?
That is the big question!
But understand that the Philippines is an archipelagic country with different climatic types due to differences in geography and distances between the islands, so it is possible that it is raining hard in Manila and yet it is sunny and blue sky in Boracay. So forget about the weather! After all, there are other reasons why one place is best visited on specific time of the year.
January: Cebu & Iloilo
January may not be Cebu’s driest month but it is in fact the coldest. High chance of sunshine and blue skies, great time to go waterfall chasing in the south which are expected to be in their beautiful turquoise. Good time for scuba diving and for trekking the Osmena Peak too. Above all, it is Sinulog month, no further explanation needed! 🙂
If Cebu has Sinulog, Iloilo has Dinagyang. This grand festival is celebrated on the third week of January or after its Cebu’s counterpart. Like Cebu, it is also generally cold and dry in the province during January. Best time to see the heritage sites of Miag-ao, San Joaquin, Guimbal, Igbaras, Tigbauan and Iloilo CIty; the rice terraces in the mountains and the highlands of Leon, Tubungan and Alimodian.
February: Mountain Province
It is among the driest and coldest months in Sagada or in Mountain Province and even the Cordilleras as a whole. So do not forget to bring your jacket if your are heading there this time of the year. Foot traffic is not as crazy as December or summer which usually starts from March to June. Another good reason, the sea of clouds is almost always present in Kiltepan. 🙂
With the cold northeast monsoon on its peak, March is considered as the peak of winter in Batanes. It is also when the season starts to shift to summer so expect mostly blue skies and calm seas, good time to sail to the islands of Sabtang, Ivuhus, Itbayat and even the northernmost island of the Philippines – Y’Ami.
The Philippines’ Last Frontier is best experienced on dry month, most specially on the month of April when the sky is generally clear, the wind is generally subtle and the sea is generally calm. April is also the best month to go scuba diving in Coron and in Tubbataha Reefs. There may be many other tourists around, but hey, Palawan is a big province! You’ll definitely find some place or some island with lesser or no crowd at all, whether it is in Coron, El Nido, Puerto Princesa, Balabac, Cuyo, Cagayancillo, Linapacan or Culion.
Unless Isarog, Mayon or Bulusan is acting up, May is the perfect month to see the beauty of the provinces that make up Bicolandia – Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate. It is mostly blue skies and pearl cotton clouds, the rice paddies are on its greenest, the waterfalls may be quite dry and the waves on the eastern coast maybe smaller but you can surf anyway. Another go factor? The Whalesharks, they are present on May too!
The best time to see the famed rice terraces of Banaue is when they are on their greenest and when the backdrop seems like a painting of a sunny blue sky. Go here on the month of June to see what I am talking about 🙂
July: Dumaguete, Apo Island & Siquijor
July is not the driest month in these places, in fact they are considered the wettest. However, Dumaguete and the entire Negros Oriental, and Siquijor belong to Type III Climatic Type in the Philippines, or areas with unpredictable seasons. Generally speaking, there are still days with sun and blue skies, more than 50% chance actually. The good thing about traveling to this part of the country on July? Lesser crowd! So you will get to enjoy all their natural attractions in their full grandeur.
All roads lead to Davao on August, with the widely celebrated and highly anticipated Kadayawan Festival of Davao City! But more than this colorful festival, August is also a good month if you plan to go surfing in the eastern coast, scuba diving in Samal waters, go trekking in Mount Apo and even white water rafting in Davao River. By the way, Durian season also starts as early as August! 🙂
September: Iligan & Cagayan de Oro
September is the feast month of Iligan City, also in time for their yearly Diyandi Festival. Expect some rains, enough rain to fuel the rivers and the waterfalls. Needless to say, it is a perfect month to go white water rafting in Cagayan de Oro, the “River Rafting Capital of the Philippines”, or waterfall chasing in Iligan City, the “City of Waterfalls”.
October: Camiguin & Bacolod
The “Island Born of Fire” beckons everyone specially on the month of October for the Lanzones Festival. Apparently, it is the month when the sweetest lanzones in the Philippines are harvested. Weather wise, there are days of rains but there are also chances of sun and blue skies.
Meanwhile, the most anticipated festival in the Philippines – Masskara Festival – is staged every October in Bacolod City. It is not the driest month in Negros, rains are expected but there are also days with the sun. Nevertheless, rain or shine, the happiest festival on the country is enough reason to troop here this time of the year. And wait, the cake shops in Bacolod City, and the waterfalls and heritage sites in the suburbs, are all open rain or shine! 🙂
Yes! Antique on November! When the rice terraces of San Remigio are in beautiful green, when the waters around Nogas Island, Seco island, Malalison Island and Batbatan Island are generally calm, and when Urukay Festival of Anini-y is on.
Experience a different “White Christmas” in the Philippines’ 24/7 island of Boracay. With its pure and fine white sand that stretches for four kilometers, Boracay offers the warm of tropical island over the cold of winter in the other part of the globe. December is a great time to visit the island, it is generally sunny but not as hot as the dry months (March to June), the beach is not infested by algae, and the crowd is not as big as the summer crowd.