The rainy season peters out in October, with more rain earlier in the month but mostly clear skies by the end of the month. Typhoons are still a risk, but as you usually receive plenty of warnings for tropical storms (as long as you pay attention to local weather reports), you can change your travel plans if you need to avoid being in the path of a storm. As a tropical country, the temperatures in the Philippines are pretty consistent year-round, although they vary by altitude and latitude. Expect temperatures of between 77°F and 91°F (25°C and 32°C) in October and humidity when the sun comes out after the rain.
Crowds & Costs
October is the shoulder season for travel to the Philippines. Earlier in the month, when the rains are still more persistent, you may be able to find lower prices on accommodation and transport. Toward the end of the month, international travelers return in larger numbers, and prices inch upward once more. It's a good idea to schedule accommodations in advance, especially if you want to stay in a particular hotel or resort.
Where to Go
Come October, you might consider heading to Bacolod, the capital of Negros Occidental, for the MassKara Festival. One of the biggest festivals in the country, it's said to be similar to Carnival in Brazil: flashy costumes, dancing, parades, and street parties. Masks are an important part of the getups. Unlike many traditional festivals, this one isn't very old: it was devised in the 1980s when Bacolod was having a tough time. The masks' smiles are meant to spread joy.
The lingering rains earlier in the month can make getting around more challenging than in the dry season. As a result, many forms of transport are affected: roads in rural areas may be muddy or impassable, flights may be canceled or delayed, and ferries might be uncomfortably choppy. If you want to travel anywhere particularly remote or far away from big cities, it would be better to wait until later in October, when the weather is drier and conditions more stable.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Lovers of tropical fruit may be amazed by the varieties available in the Philippines, including some that you might not have seen before. Feast on fruit and celebrate lanzone season in Lambajao, on the island of Camiguin off Mindanao. The town hosts an annual Lanzone Festival, celebrating the fruit that grows in abundance here. If you've never tried one, this is your chance (they're a small sweet Southeast Asian fruit somewhat like smooth-skinned lychee). If visiting Camiguin for the festival you can also take advantage of its beautiful beaches—including the white sand bar, White Island—and snorkeling above reefs with blue-lipped giant clams.
If on Camiguin Island, you might want to go hiking up Mt. Hibok-Hibok, the active volcano that dominates the small island. It's 4,370 feet (1,332 m) tall and takes between three and five hours to reach the top and a couple more to get back down. You'll need to obtain a permit from the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources office in Mambajao before you start. The normal starting point for the hike is the Ardent Hot Springs in Mambajao (a great destination with naturally-fed pools surrounded by forest). On clear days you may see Bohol in the north and Siquijor in the west. While this is an active volcano, it last erupted in the 1950s.
Events in October
Ibalong, Bicol and Legazpi. This festival in the third week of October features dances and street performances that enact stories of local mythical heroes and gods.
Lanzones Festival, Lambajao, Camiguin Island. This sweet festival celebrates the tropical lanzone fruit in the third week of October.
MassKara, Bacolod. Yet another festival in the third week of October, this big party gives Bacolod its nickname: the City of Smiles. Locals and visitors alike wear smiling masks and party in the streets.
Traveling to the Philippines in October? Check out these great itineraries
Diving in the Philippines: Cebu, Negros & Bohol - 9 Days. Experienced divers can enjoy the Philippines' vibrant marine biodiversity, colorful reefs, and white-sand beaches on this exciting nine-day itinerary.
The Philippines Highlights: Sand, Sea & Mountains - 15 Days. Discover the best of the Philippines on this all-encompassing tour as you paddle, snorkel, rappel, hike, and fly your way across the country.