Philippines' seasons: What are Amihan and Habagat?
In the Philippines, Amihan and Habagat refer to the two kinds of winds and seasons that occur in the country every year.
Amihan is known as the Northeast monsoon while Habagat is known as the Southwest monsoon.
A monsoon is a seasonal rain and wind pattern. "Monsoon" is from the Arabic word, "mawsim" which means season.
A switch in wind direction is the primary indicator for the change between one monsoon to the other. It usually takes place during nighttime.
At some periods, the two monsoons switch several times before settling into a pattern for the season. Amihan and Habagat are also characters in Philippine mythology.
Amihan is the Northeast Monsoon
Amihan is the Filipino term of Northeast monsoon, which is a cool and dry northeast wind coming from Siberia and China and blows down to Southeast Asia. This season is characterized with slight to moderate rainfall and a prevailing cold wind that affects east of the Philippines. The monsoon commonly occurs from October to late March, although occurrence may vary every year.
High peak season in the Philippines is during the amihan season since it brings the best weather conditions. The air is cool, there is less rain, and humidity is low, plus the sunshine is less threatening. Northeast monsoon contributes to colder Christmas nights which gives a better ambience fit for the festive season.
If you're up for a vacation during this season, it is best to pack warmer clothes for the cool evenings along with your tropical outfits.
Habagat is the Southwest Monsoon
Habagat, on the other hand, is the southwest wind characterized by frequent heavy rainfall and humid weather. During Southwest monsoon or hanging Habagat, the high-pressure area is at the Australian continent, and the low-pressure area is at North China, Mongolia, and Siberia. The gusty winds from the west and excessive rainfall often turn to dangerous typhoons.
While the rain may ease farmers to irrigate the rice fields, the heavy rainfall may trigger floods, landslides, and potentially endanger residents living near riverbanks. The typhoons that habagat brings, unfortunately, cause millions, sometimes billions, worth of reconstruction damage and kill hundreds of Filipinos.
The southwest monsoon affects the country from late June to October (occurrence may also vary each year). Low season in the Philippines occurs during the habagat season because of frequent rainfall and high humidity. A series of flash floods and landslides are regular incidents during this season. If you're planning to take a vacation during this time, you may want to bring rainwear with you.
Amihan and Habagat of Philippine Mythology
In the Philippines, Amihan and Habagat are also known as characters in Filipino legends. Habagat is known as the Southwest Wind, god of wind, and god of rain who rules the kingdom of silver and gold called Himpapawiran (sky). Amihan is the personification of Northeast Wind.
In this mythical story, Habagat saw the beautiful Amihan and fell inlove with her. To win her heart, he entered a contest of speed and force against other gods of winds. After defeating them all, even his fiercest rival: Buhawi (typhoon), he brought his beloved with him to Himpapawiran where they rule the kingdom together.
In another legend, specifically a creation story, Amihan is a god who turned into a bird and stopped the war between Bathala, the god of the Sky, and Aman Sinaya, the god of the Sea. Amihan also saved the first humans, Malakas (strong) and Maganda (beautiful) by pecking the bamboos they were born in. The god then flew Malakas and Maganda to one of the islands where they settled and populated the Earth.
Amihan and Habagat Researches and References
Most pictures used for this article are from Patrice Laborda, the picture Flood in Philippines is from Wikimedia Commons and the dual stamp image courtesy of Philippine Postal Corporation A.K.A PHLPost.
If you want to know more about Amihan and Habagat, take a look at some of our references below.
- Weather in the Philippines
- Monsoon Weather
- Habagat God
- Goddess Amihan
- Filipino Mythology
Speaking about seasons, outside it's very sunny...
Last, but not Least
If you would like to receive interesting content like this in your email Inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.
In addition to our monthly newsletter, we will send you our weekly e-Bulletin with one fascinating topic, like today. There will be no advertising or sales pitch.
We also want to thank YouTube for the amazing videos on this page.
Thanks for reading, and if you wish, see you next week!
The Research and Media Team at Scotty's.
The views, ideas, and opinions expressed by the writers of Scotty's Media team do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, ideas, and opinions of the company, Scotty's Action Sports Network, Inc.