How to Survive and Enjoy Summer in the Philippines
DURING THE PHILIPPINES' hottest months of March, April and May, the country's erratic tropical weather consisting of very agonizing heat and humidity with unexpected rain showers baffles locals, tourists and travelers on how to survive and enjoy “Summer” or technically the country’s dry season.
Summer in the Philippines is not only equated to vacation, school breaks, Lenten season, traveling to famous beach resorts and tourist spots but it also mean a low water supply and frequent brown outs. In Mindanao, the lack of electricity that lasts for several hours is a common problem. According to news reports the rotational brownouts have negatively affected businesses and everyday lives. In Metro Manila, dams and water reservoirs often reach critical levels threatening the water supply.
With an intermittent supply of electricity and water, Summer in the Philippines can be a matter of “survival”. It has been reported that incidents of heat stroke, more common among the elderly and senior citizens, rise tremendously during these months.
Surviving and enjoying Summer in the Philippines had even become more difficult given the confusing changes in the weather. Even during this supposed to be “dry season”, a heavy downpour appears without warning causing flash floods and traffic that can last for several hours. Weather experts say that this phenomenon is called "La Nina". Opposite of which is the “La Nino” that results to astonishing surge in temperature. The record high temperatures make it almost unbearable to be out in the sun even for just a few minutes. This unpredictable weather changes in the Philippines is very exasperating and can affect travel plans and the kind of clothes that should be worn.
Some sectors blame it on “global warming”. With global warming the rise in temperature from the usual 32 to 34 degrees Celsius to 37 to 40 is becoming more frequent. It has been reported on April 2013 in Quirino, a province in Northern Luzon, that the temperature reached 40.1 degrees Celsius- the hottest recorded temperature in the Philippines. In Metro Manila, the highest temperature was recorded to be at 34 degrees Celsius and may reach 37 degrees before Summer ends.
However, despite the staggering rise in temperature and humidity, authorities are reluctant to declare that a “heat wave” is already plaguing the country. Nevertheless, the continuous exposure to the sun’s rays is definitely a health risk.
While the Philippines offer stunning shorelines and an array of tourist spots, Summer has its share of challenges. With the heat, humidity, traffic, overcrowded malls and resorts, including the now more often brown outs and low water supply, means and ways should be devised for surviving and enjoying Summer.
Here are some tips on how to survive and enjoy Summer in the Philippines.
1) Head to the Malls. The Philippines is a country full of gigantic and beautiful malls. Malls occupy very huge spaces and more are still being built. There is the “Mall of Asia” in the South, the “Trinoma” in the North and the newly opened “Aura Mall” in the posh Global City in Fort Bonifacio.
In almost every place in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces, malls owned by the richest in the Philippines provide relief from the Summer heat. Despite the financial constraints, people still flock to the malls not only to look for bargains but also to find temporary respite from the unbearable Summer heat.
2) Indulge on those favorite Summer frozen delights. The Philippines is a tropical country where fruits and other delicacies abound during Summer. It is this time of the year when everything cold and frozen, other than the usual ice cream, is a treat.
With a variety of fruits and ingredients, the "halo-halo" which is an assortment of ingredients topped with shaved ice is very popular. During Summer, the halo-halo where the combination of ingredients actually does not make sense gives that instant cooling effect with a flavor soothing to the senses. Aside from halo-halo, try to taste the different shakes, “mais con yelo” and the variety of fruits that are abundant during Summer.
3) Have a vacation. Summer in the Philippines also means vacation. It is the time of the year when students enjoy a two-month break from school. Books and notes are momentarily put on the shelf while traveling to those stunning beaches of crystal blue waters and powdery white sands appear to be on everyone's list. Aside from going to the beaches, many travel either to Baguio- the considered Summer capital of the Philippines or to the just two (2) hours away Tagaytay where the famous Taal Volcano on a lake can be seen.
4) Sweat it out. Summer is the best time to find and try different sport activities. It is the time to get physical and burn those unwanted calories. Try to engage in those activities where you have to continue moving and working out. Try brisk walking and gradually move to jogging and running. Continually keep up the pace until you feel the lightness in your body. Just keep on moving and do it. Summer time gives the kind of weather that is very suitable for sport activities despite the sudden rain showers.
In the Philippines there is plenty of open spaces to sweat it out or get physical aside from the “paid and members only” gyms. There is the Quezon City Memorial Circle ideal for jogging, running, brisk walking and doing a lot of physical activities. You can also try the Sunken Garden in the nearby University of the Philippines for biking, walking, running and skate boarding.
While sweating it out, enjoy the world famous sunset in Manila Bay. Along the breakwater of the whole reclaimed area where the Cultural Center of the Philippines stands is a haven for joggers and physical fitness buffs. During Summer, joggers, bikers and runners abound enjoying the whole expanse of the reclaimed area.
5) Chase your bucket list. Summer is the perfect time to fulfill some of the things pending in your bucket list. You can bungee jump, or hike to Mt. Apo- the Philippines highest mountain. Try and enjoy white water rafting in Cagayan de Oro. Depending on your bucket list, the Philippines offer a lot of opportunity to fulfill those activities you want to do before you hit the bucket.
6) Watch a movie. With numerous gigantic malls in the Philippines watching a movie is another good option to beat the Summer heat. Go out and relax and see the latest blockbuster. Movie theaters in the Philippines are state of the art and have the latest in terms of technology and innovation.
7) Do a “staycation”. With the horrendous traffic, overcrowded resorts and beaches, “staycation” or the art of staying at home is one way of surviving and enjoying Summer in the Philippines. With the sun's heat becoming unbearable and given the budgetary limitations, staying at home and enjoying the company of your family is a very good alternative. Watch the best movies showing on DVD. Savor on home cooked recipes. Play games with your children like scrabble and chess or just simply relax in the comforts of your own home.
8) Keep in mind those Summer essentials. As you do all these things during Summer, never forget the essentials such as being constantly hydrated and getting sunblock protection. With a variety of activities to do during Summer, getting thirsty and having sunburn is usual. To prevent this, it is necessary to drink the right amount of water and to cover those exposed parts of your body with sunblock before getting out in the sun.