Best time to visit Philippines and Manila
When is the best time to visit Philippines?
The Philippines’ tropical climate can discourage you from staying for very long. Since the country has wet-dry seasons which can overlap on each other for up to two months, there is a chance that your trip to the beaches will be delayed by bad weather, even in the supposedly dry months of March to May. The months of June to November are drenching wet due to the serial typhoons which enter or skirt by the country on its way to the northern countries. From December to May, the climate is generally dry, but can get dense and humid during the summer months of March to May, when average temperatures can be as high as 35oC. So if you’re concerned about your health and the weather, the best time to visit Philippines is during the dry season – but braces yourself for the balmy temperature.
Best time to visit Manila?
As the city has a garbage and drainage problem, tropical diseases are also rampant with successive flooding of the streets, Malaria and Dengue fever are common during the wet season, as well as gastric diseases like cholera and typhus. In the summer months, the rabies cases add up; though you are not required to have any immunization shots before you enter the country, take them anyway as a precaution.
Many of the country’s cultural traditions are also observed within the same dry months, particularly Christmas; which can start as early as September. Don’t be surprised to see holly wreaths at the malls months before Decmber, as Filipinos tend to extend their holidays for days on end. Actually, the Christmas season extends for up to the middle of January, when the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt is traditionally observed. As early as April, and coinciding with the full moon, the country observes Holy Week in remembrance of the Passion, and this is probably the best time to go out of town since the city is practically desolated three days before Easter Sunday. Apart from these two major occasions, fiestas of patron saints are also celebrated year-round in districts or barangays surrounding the metro, and the Flores ‘de Mayo or Santacruzan is also observed on the latter weeks of May. You’ll see beautiful women, parading in glamorous gowns in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary all throughout the ‘flower month’.
Despite the heightened security alert in the country post 9/11, Philippines remain to be a safe vacation destination for tourists. The country’s capital is Manila nonetheless; expect rigorous security measures at the airport and everywhere else where large crowds gather. There is also political unrest in the country at present, when even the highest officials in the government are under legislative scrutiny for corruption – mass demonstrations are a normal part of a commuter’s life, especially in this politically-relevant city. If you can bear with the suspicious frisking and the shouting at the streets, Manila is bearable at the very least.
Since the crime rate also climbs during the peak holiday seasons and during the opening of classes in June, be extra vigilant on the street; you shouldn’t be traveling on your own in the city anyway, so keep someone who knows the city in constant company, especially on problem areas. Manila is as safe as any city in Asia; it is even safer than Bangkok or Bali, but be alert just the same, for your own welfare.
Grace is loving every minute she spend traveling around Philippines, meeting people and making new friends. Her travel mantra - “Live, breathe. It is never too late to feel alive.”