13 Reasons Why You Should Head to the Philippines this Winter

Concepcion Island | © Valerie Caulin
Concepcion Island | © Valerie Caulin
Photo of Valerie Caulin
24 October 2017

Skiing and hot chocolate by the fireplace are cozy but as freezing temperatures and gloomy days approach, it’s time to plan your winter escape. A tropical country, Philippines deserves to be on your list of winter sun destinations. Here’s why you should pack your bag and head to the Pearl of the Orient Seas.

1. Endless summer

Tropical countries like the Philippines enjoy their sun and warm temperature all year round. Find your much-needed sun-fix in the Philippines and refuge from the cold climate. Though Philippines has shorter daylight hours from December to February with an average of 11 per day, it’s way better than the 8 hours in many countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Swap your gray skies for Philippines’ clear blue sky.

2. Cooler temperature

Hot and humid – that’s the common perception about the Philippines. Escape the freeze while avoiding the heat by traveling to the Philippines during its “coldest” month. Sunny but not too hot even for those who are used to tropical climate and warm compared to the icy grip in other countries. Temperatures in the Philippines from December to February can go as low as 21°C. No need to suffer with below freezing temperatures.

Perfect weather in the Philippines | © Valerie Caulin

3. Less rain and low chance of typhoon

Philippines has two seasons – the rainy and dry season. Its location next to the Pacific Ocean subjects the country to typhoons including the catastrophic Haiyan (local name, Yolanda). The rainy season in the Philippines that also brings typhoons is from June until October. Come December, the weather is cooler with less or no rain at all.

4. Beach life

Warm temperatures and sunny weather all year round, means going to the beach even during the winter months of December and February. While your folks back home are layering, feel free to strip to your bikini and bask in the sun. Blue skies, white sandy beaches and coconut juice in hand – these images will surely fuel some jealousy back home.

5. Outdoor fun

Winter sun in the Philippines is not just about beaches; Philippines is more than white-sand shores. Other activities include hiking trails, hot spring resorts, and forests with cooler weather to comfortably enjoy the Philippines outdoors. Enjoy walking tours without soaking in sweat when you travel here during winter.

6. Enjoy a different White Christmas

Instead of snow, Philippines has white-sand beaches from Boracay to off-the-beaten paths like Guimaras Island. Snowball fights can be exchanged with splashing waters or building sandcastles instead of snowmen. Swap skiing with snorkelling and sledding with boating. A real change of scenery, who wants a cold Christmas anyway?

7. Witness a how locals welcome the New Year

Greet the New Year with a bang – literally! New Year’s Eve in the Philippines is the loudest with each family enjoying firecrackers to ward away bad luck. There’ll be plenty of firework displays for you to see.

Pasko sa Pinas | © Bro Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ via Flickr

8. Experience Filipino Christmas and New Year traditions

From the nine days of dawn masses called Simbang Gabi to wearing polka dots on New Year’s Eve, spending your winter holiday in the Philippines allows you to see more of Philippines’ culture. From religious to superstitious, the differences between your home country’s holiday traditions and that of the Philippines will be fascinating.

9. Fiesta season

Prepare to derail from your diet plan when visiting the Philippines during winter. Weeks and days leading to Christmas and New Year are all about parties. The highlights are Noche Buena for Christmas Eve and Media Noche for New Year’s Eve. Christmas parties carry on after Christmas with family reunions or friends meet ups. So loosen up your pants and make room for more lechon!

10. You won’t feel alone

Cold winters are synonymous with sadness but not in the Philippines. As the country with the longest Christmas, the love and happiness can be contagious. There is something in the air during the Christmas season that allows visitors to feel that they are part of the whole festivities. Filipinos are loved for their warm hospitality, so don’t be surprised if you are invited by locals to join their family’s Noche Buena or Media Noche – as long as you promise to sing karaoke!

11. Still has a touch of home

Major cities in the Philippines like Cebu and Makati provide international flair for their many visitors. Prepare your own Christmas treats in your Airbnb rental using ingredients widely available in most grocery stores or enjoy a mug of Eggnog served in hotels. Decoration wise, the tall Christmas trees and glittering Christmas baubles are found all over the country. Miss the pine smell so reminiscent of Christmas? Visit Baguio in northern Philippines.

Dinagyang Festival | © Valerie Caulin

12. Witness major festivals

For those on an extended winter vacation, January is festival month in the Philippines particularly in the Visayas region. There’s Sinulog of Cebu and Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan both every 3rd Sunday of January and on the 4th Sunday, is Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival. With these festivities, you won’t find time for winter blues.

13. Less crowd

Another reason to extend your winter holiday until the end of February is the lack of crowds. After New Year, Filipinos go back to school and work after a week or two of Christmas vacation. From then on until the summer break (end of March until May), you might find yourself alone or just with a couple of other guests in your resort, especially during weekdays. Another good thing about it? Lower rates in hotels and resorts.

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