November is when the dry season begins in the Philippines, and you shouldn't encounter anything more than brief showers. The major exception is if a typhoon is coming your way. There's a moderate risk of them in November, which bring heavy rains and winds and can be devastating. Fortunately, there's usually a lot of warning, so keep an eye on weather reports and be prepared to change your plans.
As a tropical country, the temperature in the Philippines is relatively uniform throughout the year, although there's some variation by latitude and altitude. In November, expect temperatures of between 77°F and 91°F (25°C and 32°C) in most places.
Crowds & Costs
November is the start of the high season for travel to the Philippines, although it's not as busy as the super-peak periods around Christmas/New Year and Easter. The most popular beach resorts, such as El Nido and Coron, start to fill up in November, so book accommodation and transport well in advance if you're heading to popular destinations. The Philippines is always relatively affordable, but prices rise during the peak season so expect to pay more at hotels than in the low season.
Where to Go
For hiking adventures, head to the Cordillera of Northern Luzon. The area should be accessible (and comfortable to travel) after the rainy season. Hikers won't want to miss Banaue or Sagada. At over 2,000 years old, the rice terraces at Banaue are still in use today. UNESCO protected, they're an incredible sight. Not far away, near Sagada, are a collection of burial sites that are eerie yet fascinating places to visit and are reflective of pre-Christian traditions in the Philippines. The hanging coffins in the Echo Valley are suspended on the side of the cliffs, while coffins were piled up in stacks at the entrance to the Lumiang Burial Cave and Sumaguing Cave.
The most popular beach resorts are usually popular for excellent reasons: a good range of accommodation to meet various budgets, accessibility, and spectacular attractions. For a classic Philippines beach experience, don't overlook favored El Nido. Check out the Bacuit Archipelago off the western coast. Studded with steep, tree-covered karst islands that are highly photogenic, the archipelago is great for boating, kayaking, and snorkeling. Sheltered lagoons on some of the islands are especially lovely to swim in.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
If you like the idea of swimming with whale sharks, this bucket-list activity is possible in some parts of the Philippines from November. Whale sharks are present in the sea in various places around the Philippines, but in northern Luzon, Donsol is a perfect place to do so because the welfare of the animals is a high priority. In some parts of the country, there are few or no restrictions on how you can swim with whale sharks or how many people can do so at a time. This can lead to the animals getting distressed and, at the very least, disturbed. In Donsol, scuba diving with whale sharks isn't permitted, only swimming and snorkeling. Plus, there are restrictions on how many people can do so at once, and for how long.
If you want to scuba dive in the Philippines in November, check out Moalboal. Diving from this beach resort area in the southwest of Cebu Island is highly renowned thanks to an incredible natural phenomenon: the sardine run. Divers can hang out with millions of silvery sardines that swim in wondrous formations. Sardines may sound a little less glamorous than whale sharks, but the experience of swimming with darting shoals of fish is no less awe-inspiring.
Events in November
Todos los Santos (All Saints Day), nationwide. During this Catholic festival on 1 November, families visit local cemeteries to honor loved ones who have died and to put food offerings at their graves.
Traveling to the Philippines in November? Check out these great itineraries
Whale Shark Encounter in the Philippines: Ticao & Donsol - 3 Days. On this eco-friendly tour, you can swim in a protected and responsibly-managed environment with wild whale sharks. Considered the best place in the world to see the gentle giants, Donsol is also a paradise of soft-sand beaches and magnificent limestone rock formations.
Ifugao Village Trek - 5 Days. This quick trip will have you trekking to four native Ifugao communities, immersing yourself in the culture through forested mountains and ancient rice terraces.