The Climate of the Philippines is tropical and maritime. It is characterized
by relatively high temperature, high humidity and abundant rainfall. It is
similar in many respects to the climate of the countries of Central America.
Temperature, humidity, and rainfall, which are discussed hereunder, are the
most important elements of the country's weather and climate.
Based on the average of all weather stations in the Philippines, excluding
Baguio, the mean annual temperature is 26.6o C. The coolest
months fall in January with a mean temperature of 25.5oC while
the warmest month occurs in May with a mean temperature of 28.3oC.
Latitude is an insignificant factor in the variation of temperature while
altitude shows greater contrast in temperature. Thus, the mean annual
temperature of Baguio with an elevation of 1,500 meters is 18.3oC.
This makes the temperature of Baguio comparable with those in the temperate
climate and because of this, it is known as the summer capital of the Philippines.
The difference between the mean annual temperature of the southernmost
station in Zamboanga and that of the northermost station in Laoag is
insignificant. In other words, there is essentially no difference in the
mean annual temperature of places in Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao measured at
or near sea level.
Humidity refers to the moisture content of the atmosphere. Due to high
temperature and the surrounding bodies of water, the Philippines has a high
relative humidity. The average monthly relative humidty varies between 71
percent in March and 85 percent in September. The combination of warm
temperature and high relative and absolute humidities give rise to high
sensible temperature throughout the archipelago. It is especially
uncomfortable during March to May, when temperature and humidity attain
their maximum levels.
Rainfall is the most important climatic element in the Philippines.
Rainfall distribution throughout the country varies from one region to
another, depending upon the direction of the moisture-bearing winds and
the location of the mountain systems.
The mean annual rainfall of the Philippines varies from 965 to 4,064 millimeters
annually. Baguio City, eastern Samar, and eastern Surigao receive the
greatest amount of rainfall while the southern portion of Cotabato receives
the least amount of rain. At General Santos City in Cotabato, the average
annual rainfall is only 978 millimeters.
Using temperature and rainfall as bases, the climate of
the country can be divided into two major seasons: (1) the rainy season, from June to
November; and (2) the dry season, from December to May. The dry season may be
subdivided further into (a) the cool dry season, from December to February; and
(b) the hot dry season, from March to May.
Based on the distribution of rainfall, four climate types are recognized,
which are described as follows: