Weather in the Philippines’ capital Manila can be divided into three general seasons: a cool, dry season between December to February that heats up to a hot, dry summer season from March to May, before transitioning to a soaking-wet rainy season from June to November.
In practice, Manila’s buildings and pavements act as a heat sink, and combine with the city’s ever-present humidity to make the Philippines’ capital feel like a hothouse all year round.
The rainy season changes the picture for the worse. Heavy rains often turn into typhoons, which can be positively dangerous in Manila—exposing visitors to the risk of falling objects or getting swept up in a flash flood.
Given Manila’s climate, then, avoid visiting or staying for long during the rainy season. Time your visit instead for that short window of tolerable coolness between December and February, where staying outside actually feels pleasant.
Fast Climate Facts
- Hottest Month: May: (92 F / 33 C)
- Coldest Month: January (85 F / 29 C)
- Wettest Month: August (18.8 inches)
- Driest Month: February (0.3 inches)
- Windiest Month: December (9.8 mph)
Urgent Seasonal Information
Visitors to the Philippines' capital should mind the weather-related hazards inherent to either the summer or the rainy seasons. If it's not the heat shadowing your trip, it's the danger of getting caught in a flash flood!
Manila’s overburdened drainage system fares poorly against the massive volumes of water brought by the rainy season. Reckless disposal of garbage has clogged the capital’s storm drains, leaving the city vulnerable to flooding during typhoons. This also aggravates Manila’s already atrocious traffic situation. It's best to avoid going out and about in Manila during rainy season—or just avoid visiting during those months.
Heat and Heatstroke
During the summer season, local temperatures can climb as high as 100 F (38 C). Smart locals prefer to stay indoors out of the sun, preferably in air-conditioned interiors, in the middle of the day. Take precautions against heatstroke if you can’t avoid going out in the summer heat—drink plenty of water, or apply ice to your armpits, groin, or neck.
Certain diseases tend to crest with the coming of the rains—mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue; and waterborne diseases like cholera, leptospirosis, and typhoid fever. Avoid contact with floodwater, and lather on some mosquito repellent whenever possible.
Dry Season in Manila
The months of December to February offer a cool, dry break for Manila residents, who enjoy crisp cool air in the Christmas months and a little after. Filipinos in Manila will sometimes put on the rare sweater or jacket against the dry season’s cooler winds.
Humidity moderates the effect somewhat, with levels ranging from 73 to 75 percent throughout the season. Occasional rain showers decline drastically as the season progresses, with two inches of rain in December dropping to 0.3 inches by end-February.
Visitors during Manila’s dry season enjoy excellent weather for walking through the ancient walled city Intramuros and its churches or visiting the capital’s open-air weekend markets. Many Manila visitors in this season also go out to see the rest of Luzon, including (but not limited to) the Banaue Rice Terraces and Pampanga’s food scene.
What to pack: Visitors to Manila in the dry season should bring light, moisture-wicking clothes and comfortable shoes—this is great weather to get a lot of walking done. A portable umbrella will ward off surprise rains.
Average Temperatures by Month:
- December: 73 F / 85 F (23 C / 29 C)
- January: 72 F / 85 F (22 C / 29 C)
- February: 72 F / 86 F (22 C / 30 C)
Summer in Manila
From March to May, Manila visitors discover exactly why American colonial officials moved the whole government to the Baguio highlands in the summer months. Manila is a notorious urban heat island: the city's concrete absorbs the sun’s radiant heat, creating a temperature bubble that's some two degrees hotter compared to the temperature in neighboring rural areas.
Humidity and rainfall hit yearly lows in the summer months: between 66 to 68 percent for the former, and 0.7 inches for the latter in the month of April.
Manila gets fewer tourists during these months, as beach destinations across the Philippines like Boracay lure even Manila residents away. Summer also coincides with school vacation, allowing middle- and upper-class families to flee to friendlier escapes elsewhere in the Philippines.
What to Pack: Visitors to Manila in the summer need to pack light, moisture-wicking clothes, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat (if possible), and plenty of sunscreen. An umbrella can also ward off the sun as well.
Average Temperatures by Month
- March: 77 F / 90 F (24 C / 32 C)
- April: 77 F / 92 F (25 C / 33 C)
- May: 78 F / 92 F (26 C / 33 C)
Rainy Season in Manila
As June begins, the rainfall in Manila begins to escalate, peaking in August with an average rainfall of 18.8 inches and 22 average rainfall days. Humidity, too, crests at 83 percent on that month.
Rainy season (also known as the monsoon season) is as low as low season can go, with no festivals and very few tourists visiting at that time of year. For good reason, too: the humidity and near-constant rainfall prevents visitors from exploring the city’s outdoors, limiting them to the malls (if the near-constant traffic allows; traffic jams get positively nightmarish during the rains).
Flooding is commonplace among Manila’s poorly-drained streets, and that’s on a regular rainy day. Typhoons can bring flash floods that inundate whole houses and hurl loose, light materials like GI roofing onto unsuspecting pedestrians.
What to Pack: Visitors to Manila in the rainy season should pack for the monsoon weather, adding a waterproof jacket or windbreaker, and umbrella to your luggage. Don’t bring a raincoat: the humidity will make you sweat as if you’re in a sauna, and you’ll be a clammy, stinky mess by the time you get the raincoat off. Use an umbrella against the rain instead.
Average Temperatures by Month
- June: 77 F / 90 F (25 C / 32 C)
- July: 77 F / 88 F (25 C / 31 C)
- August: 76 F / 87 F (24 C / 30 C)
- September: 76 F / 87 (24 C / 30 C)
- October: 76 F / 88 F (24 C / 31 C)
- November: 75 F / 87 F (24 C / 30 C)
Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Humidity in Manila
|January||78 F / 26 C||0.5 inches||72 percent|
|February||79 F / 26 C||0.3 inches||73 percent|
|March||81 F / 27 C||0.8 inches||66 percent|
|April||84 F/ 29 C||0.7 inches||64 percent|
|May||85 F / 29 C||5.4 inches||68 percent|
|June||83 F / 28 C||11.2 inches||76 percent|
|July||81 F / 27 C||14.3 inches||80 percent|
|August||81 F / 27 C||18.7 inches||83 percent|
|September||81 F / 27 C||13.1 inches||81 percent|
|October||81 F / 27 C||7.9 inches||78 percent|
|November||80 F / 27 C||4.4 inches||76 percent|
|December||79 F / 26 C||2.2 inches||75 percent|