This article will inform you about the Kitesurfing season in the Philippines, wind and climate. It will focus on what is important for Kitesurfing. For more substantial information about the climate in the Philippines check Wikipedia.
First off, the Kitesurfing season in the Philippines is dictated by the trade winds. These are the NE-Monsoon – Amihan – and the SW-Monsoon – Habagat. Amihan season is from November till April, Habagat season is from about May to October. These dates vary from year to year and from region to region, there might be a couple of days or weeks transition period in between or it might just change over night. The influence area of both of these prevailing wind systems extends for thousands of kilometers over the open ocean, the South China Sea for the Habagat and the East Chinese Sea and Philippine Sea for the Amihan. Lots of water evaporates over these areas and is being carried towards the Philippine Islands by the trade winds. Rule of thumb is: rainy season is where the Monsoon hits Land first, so Northern Luzon and the East coast is rainy during Amihan Season, Palawan and the Western areas during Habagat. The central and southern parts (the Visayas and Mindanao) are less influenced by this pattern, generally there are lots of local exceptions due to the rugged topography of the Philippines.
Habagat is not really Kitesurfing season in the Philippines, as it is generally a bit unpredictable and not very consistent, travelling to the Philippines for Kitesurfing during Habagat season is not recommended.
Amihan season is the prime Kitesurfing season in the Philippines, with steady, consistent and reliable winds.
There are two bigger areas that are prime for Amihan, just for the fact that they get consistent, reliable winds: the North Coast of Luzon (Area 1) and an area in the Central Part of the Philippines (Area 2), roughly between Bicol peninsula, Mindoro, Panay and the Northern half of Palawan. Images from Windfinder.
The following pictures show different scenarios, these are not comprehensive but just typical Amihan setups. Note that the Amihan wind often comes in gushes, first Northerly (first Picture), then in the course of the next couple of days turning more and more easterly (second and third picture).
Wind like in the Picture above would have grown men on 5’s and 7’s up on the North Shore and bring massive swell with it. There might be days when even experienced riders are better off staying out of the water up there. Sibuyan Sea, Boracay and Cuyo would also have conditions for rather small kites, on the east coast of Palawan, in the Calamianes Islands and in Bicol the kite of choice might be one size bigger.
After a couple of days the Amihan will turn more easterly with good winds all over the 2 areas laid out before.
However, in the course of the next days the wind will turn more easterly and especially the area between Boracay and Northern Palawan / Calamianes will get good wind, there might be days when this area is the only location that has enough wind to kite in the whole Philippines, like in the picture below. Continue reading about the area you see there in the article about the Central Part.
The Amihan tends to be more Northerly in the beginning of the season and more Easterly towards the end. Some spots work better with easterly wind, some with northerly wind and some work with either. Check our reviews of Kitesurfing Spots in the Philippines for more specific descriptions.
Last but not least: the pictures you see as well as forecasts in general are based on satellite data. None of them are able to pick up local characteristics such as thermals, venturis, etc. At the end of the day, long-term local knowledge paired with modern technology cuts the cheese, for most spots you have to be able to read and interpret the forecast!
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