We all know there are four seasons of weather: Spring, summer, winter and fall (or autumn). In countries like the Philippines, however, the four seasons aren’t recognized as such. Officially or unofficially, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is what the people living in the Philippines recognize.
I’ve updated this article to correct the information I was originally told. There are only two seasons of weather in the Philippines and they are:
- Dry Season (tag-araw) – November to April
- Rainy Season (tag-ulan) – May to October
There are other “unofficial seasons” and they are:
- Winter/Cold Season (tag-lamig) – November to January
- Summer/Hot Season (tag-init) – March to May
- Spring or when things grow (tag-sibol)
- Autumn or when things die off (tag-lagas)
The Perception of Cold or Hot
When I lived in Phoenix, AZ, USA, I used to laugh at the people that were called “snowbirds” — people who came to Phoenix for the winter from places where it was much colder. The snowbirds would walk around in T-shirts and shorts when everyone else was wearing heavy clothing, sweaters and jackets. Clothing such as the north face from Backcountry.com didn’t exist in the snowbirds’ luggage. It was amusing, but understandable. The temperature rarely went lower than freezing in Phoenix and these people came from places where it was always below freezing in the winter. They had more brown fat on their bodies, which served to insulate them from the cold.
I’ve been living here for more than six years. For me, it’s almost always either warm or hot. The Filipinos are running around in sweaters and jackets during the cold season while I’m wearing a T-shirt. I guess I could be considered something like a “snowbird”, but not coming from a place where it snows. Of course, I’m adapting to the climate more and more as time progresses. Acclimation is a wonderful thing. Perhaps I’ll be wearing a jacket (and I have nice, warm leather jacket hanging in my closet) during the cold season in a few more years.
Keeping Tabs on the Weather
Most of the bad weather in the Philippines occurs during the rainy season (but not always). That’s when the tropical storms and typhoons like to roll in, destroy things and kill people. There is a website that I visit almost every day, to find out what the current state of the weather is: The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)
Looking at the satellite map they provide, I can tell whether it’s safe for me to be running around in Olongapo City. I ignore the fact that a lot of Filipinos are running around regardless of the weather, aching to be another statistic, and stay home when I don’t believe it’s safe to be out there.
Right now, as I write this, it’s the rainy season (and still hot) in the Philippines. People are taking showers, with bar soap and shampoo, in the rain and all kinds of things you would never see happening in the US. I’m staying indoors, where I’m comfortable and dry.