Generally, the weather in Manila is hot, dry and humid. In a tropical country that is very near the equator, expect to be sweaty even when you are just standing still. This is why Western tourists are advised to always carry bottled water to cool off and rehydrate.
Manila, as the rest of the Philippine islands, experiences only two seasons: the wet and dry seasons. Locals joke that the two seasons in the country are the hot and very hot. And you may be sure it is hot in Manila. Its coldest months from November to January are only as cold as the warmest months in countries that experience winter.
How does this affect tourism in Manila?
The primary concerns of foreign tourists before coming to Manila are safety and the weather.
Regarding safety, the local police and a lot of common sense can help a tourist get around.
Regarding the weather, however, there is pretty much nothing one can do but to wear the most appropriate clothes. On normal days when it is not raining, it is good to be in a simple cotton shirt and casual short pants. That is the perfect get-up when strolling in a tropical country. When it rains, it is best to stay at home.
Exactly how hot is it in Manila?
Weather in Manila typically ranges from 20 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius. There are no significant rises or dips. The hottest recorded temperature was at 37 degrees Celsius just a couple of years ago, while the coolest never drops lower than 20 degrees Celsius. (In the Benguet province, north of Manila, however, temperatures drop to as low as 4 degrees Celsius. In that part of the country, water on a surface freezes into a thin slate of ice.)
For some Western tourists, the tropical heat is the main attraction. People living in frigid lands could get used to basking under the tropical sun and sweating all day all over. Some hit the beach, hoping to get the perfect tan under the scorching tropical sun.
Manila is a bit cooler during the wet months of May to November. Although Filipinos, especially farmers, enjoy these months because of the cooler nights and abundant supply of water, there are always worries that a devastating typhoon could hit anytime. Just two years ago, super Typhoon Ketsana destroyed most of Manila and killed a number of residents. Four days later, another super typhoon hit the northern provinces of Ilocos and again killed local residents. More than 10 typhoons batter the country every year and almost always there are recorded cases of deaths and damages to properties. Thus you should be prepared for rain by bringing a handy coat with a hood or buying an umbrella at local establishments.
Of late, the climate and weather in Manila have become very unpredictable due to the El Niño and/or the La Niña phenomenon. Temperatures may go higher during the wet months and heavy rains could pour during the dry months. This could result to unforeseen and mis-forecasted flooding.
PAGASA or the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration advised residents and tourists to be more sensitive to the changing weather in order to avoid illnesses and discomforts.