The Seasons of Weather in the Philippines

We all know there are four seasons of weather (spring, summer, winter and fall) right? In tropical countries like the Philippines, the four seasons aren’t even recognized. Officially or unofficially, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is what the people living in the Philippines recognize. The only thing that bothers me about Philippines weather is when people know about tropical cyclones soon to arrive and then do nothing to prepare for them. It bothers me more than the storms themselves.

The Seasons

Hurricane Isabel ISS - weather There are only two official 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, Arizona, I used to laugh at the people we 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. It was amusing, but understandable. The temperature rarely went below freezing in Phoenix and these people came from places where it always went below freezing in the winter. They had more brown fat on their bodies, which served to insulate them from the cold.

Even though I’ve lived in the Philippines for several years, it’s almost always either warm or hot for me. 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. Somehow, though, I doubt I ever will.

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 cyclones like to roll in, destroy things and kill people. There is a website I visit almost every day during rainy season, 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 outside of my neighborhood. 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, it’s rainy season again (and still hot). Some people are taking showers in the rain, with bar soap and shampoo. Others are doing all kinds of things you would never see them doing anywhere else.


 

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