Best Time to Visit the Philippines

The Philippines offers an adventuresome journey for nature lovers with its spectacular biodiversity and top-notch hiking trails. As such, I highly advise planning your trip to coincide with the country’s best weather conditions – which differ depending on the area.

Written by Marijim Dy Timkang | Edited by Bianca Versoza

For many people, whether from our neighbors in Asia or from far-off Europe and North America, the Philippines is a must-visit summer destination. Its tropical climate and pristine beaches promise a perfect paradise getaway. Plenty of fascinating cultural sites exist to explore, from the historic Spanish colonial cities to the vibrant local markets.

The Philippines offers an adventuresome journey for nature lovers with its spectacular biodiversity and top-notch hiking trails. As such, I highly advise planning your trip to coincide with the country’s best weather conditions—which differ depending on the area.

That said, I’ve listed down a couple of tourist spots that you should definitely consider and the best times to visit these places in the Philippines.

Best time to visit Baguio

Best time to visit: November and March to May

Baguio is a marvelous city that sits at an altitude of approximately 1,540 meters in the Cordillera Central mountain range in Luzon. Thanks to its high elevation, Baguio offers a cool and refreshing climate, a striking difference from the rest of the tropical country.

Even locals flock to Baguio during the summer months (March to May) to escape the heat. I expect even more locals to visit the city since more flights have been opened to cater to domestic travelers.
As someone from Cebu, the thought of going to Baguio was very intimidating due to the long hours of land travel involved. I’m someone who’d much rather fly than travel by car.

However, now that domestic flights have become available, it has become more accessible (and less anxiety-inducing as a mom of two young boys). My cousin and his wife even spent their 10th anniversary there, and they had a relatively easy time traveling.

The shoulder season in Baguio is from November to May. During these months, the weather is moderate—not too hot or cold, making it an ideal time for sightseeing and exploring the city. Plus, there’s a lower chance of rain so you can freely move around the city.

If you want to see the Panagbenga or Baguio Flower Festival, you should consider visiting in February. This month-long celebration showcases beautiful flower floats and vibrant street dancing, displaying the creativity and cultural richness of the locals.

Best time to visit Ifugao

Best time to visit: April to June

The Banaue Rice Terraces, often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” are located in Ifugao. These are 2,000-year-old terraces that were carved into the mountains by the ancestors of the indigenous people. The Rice Terraces are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offer an awe-inspiring view, especially during sunrise.

The best time to visit the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao is during the dry season, which typically runs from April to June. During these months, the rice terraces are lush and green, providing an incredible backdrop for photos. It’s also the harvest season and tourists can sometimes participate in traditional harvesting activities, getting a firsthand experience of the local culture.

However, do take note that this is also peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds. For a more peaceful visit, consider going in the off-peak months of July to September.

During these months, the rice terraces take on a golden hue as the crops mature, offering a different but equally stunning view. The crowds are also sparser, giving you more opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the scene.

Best time to visit Vigan

Best time to visit: January to May

Now, we journey to Vigan, a city noted for its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. This city is in the province of Ilocos Sur and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most distinctive feature of Vigan is its fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture, which has made it a top destination for history and architecture buffs.

From January to May, the dry season is generally the ideal time to visit Vigan. During these months, you can explore the city’s cobblestone streets and marvel at its historic buildings without worrying about sudden rainfall.

This is also when the city holds the vibrant Vigan Longganisa Festival, typically in January, and the Viva Vigan Festival of the Arts in early May. These festivals allow you to experience the local culture in a celebratory atmosphere.

Best time to visit Manila

Best time to visit: January to April

Manila is the Philippines’ capital city and one of the country’s oldest cities. It is a bustling metropolis that seamlessly blends history and modernity. The city is well-known for its historical sites, such as the centuries-old Fort Santiago and the walled city of Intramuros. Other popular attractions include Rizal Park, Manila Ocean Park, and the vibrant malls and markets of Makati and Binondo.

Event places, like the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila Metropolitan Theater, and the Mall of Asia Arena, also regularly host local and international entertainment shows and exhibitions. You can catch performances ranging from theater productions, concerts, art exhibits to live sports events.

You should schedule your trip to Manila during the dry season, approximately from January to April. These months provide the best weather for exploring and roaming around the city’s historical sites, parks, and shopping districts. The temperatures can reach up to a maximum of 33 degrees Celsius at these times, so don’t forget to wear sunblock and hydrate regularly.

Best time to visit Albay

Best time to visit: March to May

Albay is a province located in the Bicol Region of the Philippines. It is known for its captivating natural wonders, the most famous being the Mayon Volcano. This active volcano, renowned for its near-perfect cone shape, is a significant draw for tourists. Besides its natural beauty, Albay is also celebrated for its unique local cuisine, which is known for its spicy dishes made from locally grown chilies.

Other attractions in Albay include the Cagsawa Ruins, the remnants of a 16th-century Franciscan church that was buried by a volcanic eruption in 1814. The ruins, with the backdrop of the Mayon Volcano, provide a picturesque and historical site for visitors to explore.

The dry season, specifically from March to May, is the best time to take a trip to Mount Mayon. During these months, the Mayon Volcano and other natural attractions are usually clearly visible and not obscured by rain clouds. This is also ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, ATV adventures, and visiting the Cagsawa Ruins.

The Magayon Festival, held in May, is a month-long celebration showcasing the province’s culture, arts, and history. It’s a great time to try the local food, watch traditional performances, and join the various festival activities.

Remember, though, that this period is also the hottest, with temperatures reaching up to 35 degrees Celsius.

Best time to visit Palawan

Best time to visit: December to April

Palawan is a stunning island province in the Philippines known for its pristine beaches, incredible wildlife, and the stunning Subterranean River National Park. The clear waters surrounding the island are rich in marine life, making it a popular destination for snorkeling and diving.

Other prominent attractions in Palawan include the Calauit Safari Park, El Nido’s enchanting lagoons, and Coron’s famed shipwrecks. Palawan’s unique biodiversity and spectacular landscapes make it a paradise for nature lovers.

Book your flight to Palawan during the dry season from December to April. At this time, the weather is ideal for beach activities, snorkeling, diving, and island hopping.

This is also a great time to explore the Underground River National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also dive into the picturesque lagoons and unique fauna of El Nido and Coron.
The local highlights during this period include the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Centre, where you can get up close with crocodiles and other wildlife, and the local markets, where you can sample fresh seafood and local delicacies.

During this period, Palawan also celebrates the Baragatan Festival, a month-long event in June that showcases the province’s rich cultural heritage, local arts, and vibrant traditions. Activities include street dancing, agricultural and trade fairs, and traditional games.

Always respect local customs and traditions, wear appropriate clothing, and stay hydrated, as temperatures can rise to 33 degrees Celsius during these months.

Pro tip: Make sure to get your shots updated before you travel, especially for diseases like dengue and malaria, which are prevalent in tropical regions.

Best time to visit Aklan

Best time to visit: November to April

Aklan is a province situated in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It’s most famous for the island of Boracay, known worldwide for its idyllic white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant nightlife.

As mentioned, I live in Cebu, and I’m proud to say we also have some beautiful beaches here. But, the sand in Boracay is incomparable. It’s so fine and white, almost like walking on powder. The island is also renowned for its diving sites, vibrant coral reefs, and outdoor activities like parasailing, kiteboarding, and cliff diving.

Beyond Boracay, Aklan also offers visitors a glimpse into the province’s rich cultural and historical heritage, with notable attractions such as the Ati-Atihan Festival, Kalantiaw Shrine, and the Museo de Aklan.

You should visit Boracay during the Amihan season, which typically runs from November to April. This time of year offers the best weather conditions, with less rain and a cooler climate. It’s the perfect time to lounge on the white sand beaches of Boracay, take part in various water sports, or simply enjoy the stunning sunsets.

The province also celebrates the Ati-Atihan Festival, one of the oldest and grandest fiestas in the country, in January. It is held in honor of the Santo Niño, or the infant Jesus, and involves days of street dancing, music, and colorful costumes.

Best time to visit Bacolod

Best time to visit: October

Bacolod is a city on the Philippines’ Negros Island. It’s known as the “City of Smiles” thanks to its yearly MassKara Festival, a Mardi Gras-like event featuring vibrant costumes, lively music, and street dancing. Bacolod is the capital of Negros Occidental, a province known for its sugar haciendas and the remarkable hospitality of its people.

Apart from the MassKara Festival, Bacolod is also famous for its gastronomic treats, specifically its Chicken Inasal, a local version of grilled chicken marinated in a mixture of lime, pepper, vinegar, and annatto.

The city’s most popular event, the MassKara Festival, takes place every fourth Sunday of October, making this the best time to visit Bacolod. The city streets become a vibrant stage for parades, street dancing, and other activities.

The festival is a celebration of resilience and positivity, meant to uplift the spirits of the residents during a time of crisis in the past. Visitors worldwide head to Bacolod during this time to witness the spectacle and experience the city’s unique blend of culture and merry-making.

Bacolod offers several historical and cultural attractions, like the beautifully preserved Mariano Ledesma Lacson Mansion, also known as The Ruins. There’s also the Negros Museum and the San Sebastian Cathedral.

Best time to visit Cebu

Best time to visit: January

Cebu is an island province in the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region. Known as the “Queen City of the South,” it’s famous for its rich history, vibrant festivals, stunning natural attractions, and delicious cuisine. The city of Cebu is the oldest city in the country and home to historical landmarks such as the iconic Magellan’s Cross and Fort San Pedro.

Nestled between the seas and mountains, Cebu boasts a variety of natural attractions, from white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, perfect for snorkeling and diving, to mountain peaks offering breathtaking views of sunrise and sunset.

I’ve always believed that Cebu is the best place to live in the Philippines because everything’s a short drive away. If you want to dip into the sea, you can reach the beach within an hour. If you want a refreshing mountain breeze, you can head inland and find yourself amidst verdant mountain landscapes.

The best time to visit Cebu is in January, when we celebrate our biggest and most famous festival – the Sinulog Festival. Sinulog, just like Aklan’s Ati-atihan festival, is dedicated to Santo Niño or the child Jesus, a religious celebration filled with vibrant costumes, pageantry, street parades, and traditional dances.

In addition to Sinulog, visitors can explore the historical Basilica del Santo Niño and stroll down the historic Colon Street. Since you’re already downtown, do some shopping at the vibrant Carbon Market, where you can find a mix of fresh produce, local delicacies, handicrafts, and second-hand items.

Cebu offers exciting activities like canyoneering in Badian, scuba diving in Moalboal, or mountain trekking in Osmena Peak in Dalaguete for those who crave an adrenaline rush.

Best time to visit Davao

Best time to visit: August

Davao region is the southernmost part of the Philippines known for its diverse ecological features, vibrant cultural heritage, and, of course, as the home of the famed Durian.

Davao City, the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area, is at the heart of this region. It is a melting pot of cultures with influences from various indigenous groups, Chinese traders, Spanish colonizers, and modern urban life.

Davao is also home to Mount Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines, making it a popular destination for mountaineers and nature enthusiasts. The mountain’s diverse ecological system houses hundreds of bird species, many of which are endemic to the region, along with a stunning variety of flora and fauna.

Visit Davao in August to witness the Kadayawan Festival, an annual celebration of the city’s cultural heritage and bountiful harvest. With a series of parades, street dances, and exhibits showcasing local products, it’s a vibrant display of Davaoenos’ gratitude for the city’s natural resources and rich cultural heritage.

For nature and wildlife enthusiasts, visiting the Philippine Eagle Center, home to the critically endangered Philippine Eagle, and venturing on a river cruise at the Davao Gulf to spot the rare Irrawaddy dolphins are highly recommended.

Outdoor enthusiasts can also consider a challenging climb to Mount Apo or embark on a white-water rafting adventure at the Davao River. For a more relaxing experience, you can drop by Samal Island to soak in its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. It offers a breathtaking landscape and a peaceful retreat away from the bustling city life.

Best time to visit Siargao

Best time to visit: September to November

The island, known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, got its name from its consistent and powerful waves, particularly at Cloud 9, a surfing spot famous for its perfect barrel waves.

Siargao is located in the province of Surigao del Norte, in the northeastern part of Mindanao. It’s surrounded by the Pacific Ocean’s sparkling blue waters and endowed with white sandy beaches, thriving coral reefs, and verdant mangrove forests.

Apart from surfing, Siargao is a haven for nature lovers and island hoppers. You can explore the island’s natural attractions like the Sugba Lagoon, known for its clear turquoise waters, ideal for paddle boarding. The Magpupungko Rock Pools, which only appear during low tide, offer a unique swimming experience with its natural pools and smooth boulders.

Fun fact: My mom is actually from Del Carmen (a town on the island). My mom would take me to Siargao during summer vacations, so this island is close to my heart. Plus, my father-in-law is from General Luna, another town which is where you can find Cloud 9. 

The best time to visit Siargao is from September to November, during the surfing season when the waves are at their best. During this time, the island hosts the annual Siargao International Surfing Cup at Cloud 9, attracting surfers from all across the globe.

Also worth experiencing is the island’s vibrant local culture. Join the locals in their lively fiestas and get a taste of their unique island cuisine, the highlight of which is fresh seafood, including the local favorite – kinilaw, a dish of raw fish marinated in vinegar and local spices.

Another fun fact: You can find various versions of kinilaw all over the Philippines, but I only eat it in Siargao because the freshness of the seafood is unmatched. This is because the fish is caught directly from the surrounding ocean. It’s definitely a must-try.

Nature enthusiasts should not miss a trip to the Sohoton Cave on Bucas Grande Island. It’s an impressive cave system that houses one of Asia’s largest colonies of fruit bats.

Visit the tranquil Daku Island, Guyam Island, and Naked Island for some downtime. These island clusters, the main attractions when you go island hopping, offer pristine white sand beaches perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling.

Best time to visit Camiguin

Best time to visit: October

Camiguin, known as the “island born of fire,” is a picturesque island-province located in the Bohol Sea, off the northern coast of Mindanao. It gained its moniker from its origins – formed from volcanic eruptions and earthquakes over the centuries and is now home to seven volcanoes.

The island is famously known for White Island, an uninhabited, horseshoe-shaped sandbar that offers panoramic views of the volcanoes. It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, snorkeling, and simply basking in the beauty of nature.

Camiguin is also home to a compelling underwater attraction – the Sunken Cemetery. This unique site is the result of several volcanic eruptions in the 1870s that caused a part of the island, including a cemetery, to sink beneath the sea.

Now marked by a large white cross, the Sunken Cemetery has become a popular spot for snorkeling and diving, offering visitors a surreal experience as they explore the coral-encrusted gravestones and thriving marine life that now inhabit this underwater cemetery.

The best time to visit Camiguin is in October when the much-celebrated Lanzones Festival takes place. This annual festival honors the island’s primary crop, the lanzones – a small, sweet, and tangy tropical fruit. The festival features street dancing, music, cultural performances, and a grand parade showcasing the local farmers’ colorful and creatively decorated lanzones.

Visitors can enjoy a taste of the sweet lanzones, freshly picked from the farms, or try the island’s unique wine and jam made from the fruit. Besides, various food stalls selling local dishes and handicraft shops offer locally made souvenirs, making it a truly immersive cultural experience.

Apart from the festival, the island has a lot more to offer. It’s a paradise for nature lovers with several waterfalls, hot and cold springs, and a wildlife sanctuary to explore. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the challenging trek to the peak of Mount Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano offering panoramic views of the island and the surrounding seas.

Take a Trip to Our Philippine Paradise

Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures, a tranquil retreat, or a slice of vibrant local culture, the Philippines won’t disappoint. Our tropical paradise offers a unique blend of natural and urban attractions, guaranteed to provide you with a refreshing and unforgettable travel experience.

Just make sure to plan your vacation during the ideal months to enjoy the best of what each place has to offer without having to deal with the extremes of weather.