Just How Extreme Is the Heatwave in the Philippines?

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Some say that this might be the worst heatwave in the Philippines yet.
Photo by Oleksandr P on Pexels

Cecil Morella of GMA News Online (2024) reports that Filipinos are experiencing a heat that is “so hot you can’t breathe.” 

Even tourists have had to endure the extreme heatwave in the Philippines in the past few weeks. What’s worse is that it doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon. 

This therefore begs the question:


An article on GMA News Online (2024) states that Joey Figuracion of PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) said that there is nothing like that right now. 

He explained that a heatwave comes when an area’s temperature exceeds its maximum temperature by five degrees Celsius for three to five consecutive days. He pointed out that temperatures in the country have only exceeded less than that. 

For example, Quezon City recorded 37.8 degrees compared to its average temperature, which was 34 or 35 degrees Celsius in April. 

However, many Filipinos are expressing how uncomfortable (and unbearable) it is to be outside throughout the day. Currently, the Philippines heat index is at an all-time high.

An article from Inquirer.net (2024) quotes PAGASA, explaining that the heat index is “a measure of the contribution that high humidity makes to abnormally high temperatures in reducing the body’s ability to cool itself.”  

The Philippine weather update indicates that several areas are expected to hit heat indexes of around 42 to 45 degrees, which is among the highest experienced in the country.

Once the heat index reaches 42 degrees, PAGASA tags the area under the “danger category,” as there are higher chances of people experiencing potentially lethal heat-related illnesses like heatstroke.  

Apart from the extreme discomfort, the heat can also affect the livelihood and lifestyles of the people. The heatwave in the Philippines has already caused major problems such as low water supply and the loss of crops and livestock.

ReliefWeb, a news website for humanitarian projects, reported (2024) that hundreds of schools had suspended their classes and shifted to having them online because of the unbearable heat. 


  • Wear light clothing
The Better Health Channel suggests that you can keep temperatures low by keeping yourself cool despite the humidity. You can do this by wearing light clothing throughout the day. As much as possible, stay in cool areas and avoid staying under the sun for too long.  When commuting, take a modernized jeepney instead of a habal-habal, as these vehicles are air-conditioned. You can also bring a mobile fan with you that you can use during your commute.  Avoid wearing multiple layers of clothing and use clothes that are made from soft, thin fabrics to feel more comfortable. 
  • Stay hydrated
Better Health also suggests drinking an adequate amount of water every day to keep yourself hydrated. Water should be a go-to beverage because of its many benefits for your health.  A blog by Good Food Is Good Medicine (2022) talks about how important water is, as it brings important nutrients to your cells, gets rid of waste, protects your organs, and most importantly, regulates your body temperature.  Make sure to bring a water bottle with you whenever you go outside to work or school, or to run errands. When dining out, opt to have water instead of soft drinks or juice. If you can, purchase an insulated water bottle that will keep your water cool for long periods. This type of bottle can even preserve ice for a whole day.    The general rule of thumb is to have eight glasses of water a day, but this may vary from person to person. WebMD (2023) mentions that men should have a total of thirteen cups (about three liters) while women should have nine (a little over two liters). 
  • Stay in the shade
Again, if you have to go outside, stay away from direct sunlight as much as possible.  Look for some shade if you’re waiting for a jeepney or bus. Avoid eating outdoors as well since it’s also extremely humid even if you’re in a shaded area. Lastly, bring an umbrella (or wear a cap), put on sunscreen, and wear sunglasses. 
  • Avoid physical activities outdoors
Extreme heat can make it difficult for those who go jogging or engage in outdoor physical activities regularly. With the country’s heat index at an all-time high, this is unfortunately not the best time to exercise outdoors.  However, that shouldn’t deter you if you insist on getting your reps in. There are many exercises you can do indoors. You can refer to fitness videos online and use home workout equipment.  Exercising at home not only helps you avoid the intense heat, but it is also more convenient. You can get in your reps and have time for chores, socializing, and other recreational activities.  On the other hand, you can expect a lot more rain in the coming months as the dry season in the country is about to end. Some weather updates have also indicated that the heatwave in the Philippines may still be present sometime during the second half of the year. All things considered, stay vigilant and alert as you combat the extreme heat during this time. The heatwave in the Philippines today is no joke, so take precautions and keep yourself informed with weather updates from time to time


Morella, Cecil. 2024. “‘So hot you can’t breathe’: Extreme heat hits the Philippines.” Philstar Global

Rita, Joviland. 2024. “Is there already a heat wave in the Philippines? PAGASA answers.” GMA News Online.

Sarao, Zacarian. 2024. “Heat index to hit 42°C to 45°C in 37 areas on May 17, says Pagasa.” Inquirer.net. 

Save the Children. 2024. “Philippines: Heatwave forces hundreds of schools to shut with classes moved online to beat the heat.” ReliefWeb.

Good Food Is Good Medicine. 2022. “Why it’s important for you to drink water and stay hydrated.” UC Davis Health.

WebMD Editorial Contributors (Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev, MD). 2023. “How Much Water Should I Drink a Day?” Nourish by WebMD. 

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