May is shoulder season for travel to the Philippines and is a great time to visit if you want lower prices, thinner crowds, and generally good weather. Temperatures are hot, and while there's a chance of rain, if you tailor your activities to the conditions, this can be a great month to visit. Here's where to go and what to do in the Philippines in May, plus information on an exciting month-long festival.


May is the end of the dry season in the Philippines, and because it sits on the cusp, there's increasing rain throughout the month. The rain can be unpredictable in volume and timing, but there's still plenty of sunshine and fine weather. Humidity and temperatures are higher than earlier in the dry season, and while there is regional and altitude-related variation in temperatures in the Philippines, expect temperatures of between 79°F and 93°F (26°C and 34°C) in May. 

Crowds & Costs

Thanks to the imminent rains, May is shoulder season for international travel to the Philippines. However, it's a busy time for domestic travelers as schools are on holiday in late April and May. Places popular with domestic travelers⁠—particularly beach resorts readily accessible from major cities⁠—will be busy with locals, so book accommodation in advance. However, domestic and international travelers often have different travel preferences, so there's no need to assume that everywhere will be operating on peak season rates or availability in May.

Where to Go

Traveling the Philippines in May requires balancing your needs and interests with the weather and accessibility. While higher-altitude remote places (such as the Cordillera in northern Luzon) potentially offer cooler climates, they may be difficult to access⁠—flights might be canceled and overland travel hindered by mud on unsealed roads. If you're keen to hike to the incredible Banaue rice terraces or the eerie hanging coffins of Echo Valley this month, be aware that you may need to change your schedule at short notice. Or you might consider having a few buffer days built into your itinerary in case of delays.

One destination best visited in May rather than any other month is the city of Legazpi, in southeastern Luzon. The city hosts the month-long Mayon Festival in honor of Mount Mayon, the volcanic peak just north of Legazpi and one of the country's most famous icons and tourist destinations. Locals celebrate their culture, history, and mythology through street performances. There are also sports events and competitions, singing competitions, quiz nights, and night markets selling food.

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What to Do

Many travelers come to the Philippines for a grand beach vacation, and the high temperatures in May make lounging on the beach and swimming very appealing. While scuba diving and snorkeling are popular in the Philippines, the increasing rain of May might churn up the sea and reduce visibility. If you're intent on diving, check local conditions before heading out. 

If you make it to Bohol on a beach vacation, there are other great things to do around the island besides beach activities. The Chocolate Hills are an impressive sight and are so named because of the brown color they turn in the dry season. There are many quick, easy, and more challenging hikes to enjoy around the conical domes. Animal lovers should also check out the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, Bohol. The tiny, wide-eyed, nocturnal primates are protected here, and visitors can learn all about them as well as see them in the flesh (er, fur).

Events in May

Mayon Festival, Legazpi. Running throughout May, this festival pays tribute to the local volcano, Mount Mayon. 

Flores de Mayo, nationwide. Religious processions are held all over the Philippines to celebrate the coming of the rains; they are sometimes candle-lit at night.

Turumba FestivalPakil, Laguna. This festival is held over seven consecutive weekends in April and May. It commemorates the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary, so seven acts of devotion are enacted, one on each weekend.

Traveling to the Philippines in May? Check out these great itineraries

Palawan: Adventure in Paradise - 6 Days. Palawan's exotic geography and diverse vegetation are exceptional in a country that already has its fair share of awe-inspiring sights. This six-day adventure includes snorkeling, wildlife spotting, riding an underground river, and kayaking the El Nido islands. 

Island Hopping in the Philippines: Manila, Donsol, Cebu & Palawan - 20 Days. Spend 20 days island hopping in the Philippines, hitting some of the country's major highlights. Swim with whale sharks in Donsol, hike among the chocolate hills of Bohol, explore an underground river in Palawan, and more.

More Helpful Information

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