Philippines Destination Guide

Best time to visit The Philippines

The best time to visit the Philippines is from November to April. There are two distinct weather patterns in the Philippines. The southwest monsoon, which runs from May to October brings the rains and the northeast monsoon, which prevails from November to early May is the dry season. For most of the country, the wet season starts in June, peaks in July to September, and fades out in October. Typhoons are common from June to November with storms raging up the east coast.

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Best time to go

Banaue Rice Terraces

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
20℃ 21℃ 22℃ 22℃ 23℃ 23℃ 22℃ 22℃ 22℃ 22℃ 21℃ 21℃
 Average maximum temperature
24℃ 25℃ 26℃ 27℃ 27℃ 26℃ 26℃ 26℃ 25℃ 25℃ 24℃ 24℃
 Average hours of sunshine
 Average rainfall in mm
45 27 78 129 231 249 325 380 315 255 260 115

Bohol and Panglao Island

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
24℃ 25℃ 25℃ 26℃ 26℃ 26℃ 25℃ 25℃ 25℃ 25℃ 25℃ 25℃
 Average maximum temperature
30℃ 30℃ 31℃ 32℃ 32℃ 32℃ 31℃ 31℃ 31℃ 31℃ 31℃ 30℃
 Average hours of sunshine
 Average rainfall in mm
133 99 92 70 99 160 147 128 139 197 222 151

Cebu

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
24℃ 24℃ 24℃ 25℃ 26℃ 25℃ 25℃ 25℃ 25℃ 25℃ 25℃ 24℃
 Average maximum temperature
30℃ 30℃ 31℃ 32℃ 33℃ 32℃ 31℃ 31℃ 32℃ 31℃ 31℃ 30℃
 Average hours of sunshine
6 7 8 9 8 8 7 8 7 7 7 7
 Average rainfall in mm
104 88 60 66 115 175 191 162 175 195 166 122

Manila

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
21℃ 22℃ 23℃ 24℃ 25℃ 24℃ 24℃ 24℃ 24℃ 24℃ 23℃ 22℃
 Average maximum temperature
30℃ 31℃ 32℃ 34℃ 34℃ 32℃ 31℃ 30℃ 31℃ 31℃ 31℃ 30℃
 Average hours of sunshine
5 7 8 9 8 7 7 7 6 6 6 6
 Average rainfall in mm
16 7 11 23 124 270 388 430 350 190 133 64

Palawan

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
21℃ 22℃ 22℃ 24℃ 25℃ 25℃ 24℃ 23℃ 23℃ 23℃ 23℃ 22℃
 Average maximum temperature
30℃ 31℃ 32℃ 33℃ 33℃ 32℃ 31℃ 30℃ 31℃ 30℃ 30℃ 30℃
 Average hours of sunshine
 Average rainfall in mm
41 21 35 46 155 175 192 197 200 227 234 165

General travel tips

Time 
Local time is GMT +8 hours.

Business Hours
Most businesses are open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM weekdays and 8:00 AM until noon Saturdays. Banks are open from 9:00 AM till 3:00 PM Mondays through Fridays.

Languages
Two official languages --- Filipino and English. Filipino which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is also widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education.

Currency
The currency in the Philippines is the Peso. Foreign currency may be exchanged at your hotel, banks and authorised money changers. Exchanging money anywhere else is illegal and the laws are strictly enforced. Most restaurants and hotels accept major credit cards including American Express, Visa and MasterCard.

Electricity
220 volts a/c is the common standard. 110 volts a/c is also used, especially in major hotels.

Clothing
Dress for the weather – hot! Light clothing is ideal year-round, and absolutely during the hot and dry months from March to May. Temperatures average from 25°C to 32°C. Mean humidity is at 77%.
Comfortable yet sturdy footwear are best, as travelling to the islands will often involve some walking.

Tipping
Tipping is expected for many services. The standard amount is 10% of the total bill. Tipping is optional on bills that include a service charge, which is often 10% as well of the total bill.

Water
Water supply in Metro Manila and in all the other major cities are considered potable. Bottled purified water, spring water or mineral water is often supplied by hotels and resorts and sold in all grocery stores.

 

FESTIVALS  

JANUARY
Feast of Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church, Manila)- known to devotees in Spanish as Nuestro Padre
Jesus Nazareno. People go to Quiapo Church Manila to honour the miraculous wooden black statue of Jesus Christ carried by male devotees during the procession.

Ati-Atihan (Kalibo, Aklan) - The festival consists of tribal dance, music, accompanied by indigenous costumes, and parade along the streets. Christians and non-Christians observe this day with religious processions.

Sinulog (Cebu City) - The Sinulog celebration lasts for nine days, culminating on the final day with the Sinulog Grand Parade that features participants in bright coloured costumes dancing to the rhythm of drums, trumpets and native gongs.

FEBRUARY

Hot Air Balloon (Angeles City, Pampanga) - A four-day Festival boasts of fun-filled activities such as hot air ballooning, paragliding, skydiving, kite flying and many more.

International Bamboo Organ Festival (Las Pinas) - A ten-day series of cultural events that highlights the world famous Bamboo Organ created by Fray Diego de la Cera in 1824. The best of its local musicians and international performers gather to play classic and contemporary pieces on the bamboo organ.

Panagbenga Festival (Baguio City) - The festival is highlighted with a parade of floats that are decorated with flowers of different sizes and vibrant colours presented by street dancers clad in flower-inspired costumes dancing to the lively pulsating beat of the drums and lyre.

MARCH

Moriones Festival (Marinduque Island) - One of the most colourful festivals celebrated in the island of Marinduque. Participants wear colourful costumes (similar to those worn by Roman Legionnaires) and masks made from paper mache and painted in lively colours.

Semana Santa/ Holy week (Nationwide) - A significant religious festival that is being observed all over the Philippines annually. Features the Senaculo - a Lenten play that depicts events from the Old and New Testaments related to the life, suffering, and death of Christ.

MAY

Pahiyas Festival (Lucban, Laguna) - A colourful feast celebrated in honour of San Isidro Labrador. It is the farmers’ thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest with a grand display of colourful rice wafers, fruits, vegetables, and handicrafts adorning every house in the town. 

JUNE

Parada ng Lechon (Balayan, Batangas) - Succulent roasted pork forms the highlight of the occasion, decked out in their platforms with all kinds of décor. It also coincides with the feast of St John the Baptist. Be prepared to get wet as people observe the feast by repeating the ritual of baptism- pouring water. 

JULY

Kinabayo Festival (Dapitan City) – through colourful pageant re-enacting the Spanish-Moorish wars. The addition of local colour and modernism has made this annual celebration a popular attraction which brings thousands of tourists to the Dapitan City. 

AUGUST

Davao’s annual festival, Kadayawan Sa Dadaw promises another weekend of fanfare and fun-tribal style. Kadayawan parade is held, featuring colourful, orchid-bedecked floats and more than a dozen ‘’ethnic” groups dancing to the beat of wooden drums.

SEPTEMBER

Penafrancia Viva La Virgen (Naga City) - Bicol Region’s biggest celebration is an annual affair that combines religion with culture and tradition, packing it all in a 9-day fiesta of biblical proportions. Stay until sundown for the stirring climax: the fluvial parade as it makes its way down the river, surrounded by a sea of glowing candles.

OCTOBER

Masskara Festival (Bacolod City) - The festival that made Bacolod famous began as an event to inspire the locals to face the hard times with a smiling face, thus masks with smiling faces are worn by revellers who join the parade. Participants engage in street dancing, drum beating, drinking, eating and just being merry.

NOVEMBER

Higantes Festival (Angono, Rizal) - Angono’s joyous fiesta in honour of San Clemente. Devotees dressed in colourful local costumes, wooden shoes and carrying boat paddles. The street event culminates in a fluvial procession in Laguna de Bay amidst revelry that continues until the image is brought back to its sanctuary.

DECEMBER

Giant Lantern Festival (San Fernando, Pampanga) - San Fernando makes the biggest, most spectacular lanterns, some at around 40 feet in diameter and bearing thousands of light bulbs a piece. Watch them all in their twinkling, blinking, flashing glory in this grand Christmas exhibit.