Just three days after the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that La Niña had ended, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced the onset of the rainy season last June 4, 2021.

From October 2020 to March this year, a weak and moderate La Niña, which refers to the cooling of ocean surface temperatures, prevailed in the country. Coupled with the Northeast Monsoon or Amihan, it was predicted to bring above-normal rain conditions, which were seen in previous typhoons. On November 1 last year, Super Typhoon Rolly, 2020’s strongest tropical cyclone in the world, devastated 8 regions including Bicol. Floods, mudslides and storm surges affected 2 million people. In the same month on the 11th, Typhoon Ulysses struck Central Luzon, causing massive floods and landslides.

Now, the Southwest Monsoon or Habagat—warm and moist air that speeds up cloud formation that causes rainfall—has become the dominant weather system in the country. This is one of the factors that prompted PAGASA to declare the start of the rainy season. In a press statement, PAGASA administrator Dr. Vincent Malano explained, “The passage of Tropical Storm Dante and the occurrence of widespread rainfall in the last five days for areas under Type 1 climate confirm the onset of the rainy season. Intermittent rains associated with the Southwest Monsoon will continue to affect Metro Manila and the western section of the country.” The western parts of Luzon, Mindoro, Negros and Palawan fall under the Type 1 climate category.


Massive flooding in Romblon due to the torrential rains brought by #DantePH. (Photos from PIA-Romblon)


The End of La Niña Does Not Spell Safety

With La Niña ending last June 1, WMO said that “neutral conditions are likely to dominate the tropical Pacific in the next few months.” PAGASA hydrologist Rosalie Pagulayan further explains, “There’s no La Niña, no El Niño, which means wind conditions have returned to normal. So, we can expect a normal amount of rainfall from June to September in the whole country.”

But as with everything related to the weather, nothing is set in stone. In WMO’s press release, the chance of neutral conditions continuing until July is at 78%. This decreases to 55% by August to October, while conditions are uncertain for the rest of the year.

Despite this high chance of neutral conditions, PAGASA warned that “The probability of near to above-normal rainfall conditions is high in the next two months (June-July.) The public and all concerned agencies are advised to take precautionary measures against the impacts of the rainy season.” Simply said,  the end of La Niña does not mean that the country will be safe from tropical cyclone risks. “We can’t discard the possibility of extreme events,” says Pagulayan. “Our mindset should always be disaster preparedness.”

The Philippines is the country most-visited by tropical cyclones in the world. Here, the rainy season is synonymous with typhoons and floods. “This month of June, PAGASA forecasts that we may experience 1 to 3 tropical cyclones. Usually, tropical cyclone occurrences peak from July to September.” Though PAGASA announced there will be monsoon breaks or non-rainy periods which may last for days or weeks, Pagulayan stressed that we are currently in the thick of typhoon season. 


(source: PAGASA)


How Manmade Activities Worsen Natural Disasters

But despite the absence of La Niña, Tropical Storm Dante caused flash floods and landslides in Visayas and Mindanao earlier this month. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported 11 deaths and over 122,000 people affected. Damage in agriculture was pegged at over ₱90 million, while infrastructure damage was over ₱130 million. “The amount of rainfall Dante produced was staggering and unexpected,” admitted Pagulayan. “In my opinion, the change in landscape may have been a major contributor.” 

Aftermath of tropical storm #DantePH at Barangay Cabil-isan in Daram, Samar. (Photos courtesy of Slug Rosales)


Pagulayan refers to the altered natural environment brought about by human acts such as deforestation and development projects. In an earlier interview, Dr. Renato Solidum Jr, officer-in-charge of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, and undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate explained how manmade activities can worsen disaster impacts. “Landslides occur in steep places or those with soft ground. Destroying our mountains through deforestation or housing developments leads to faster erosion and lowland flooding. The eroded soil along with improper waste disposal fill up our rivers and drainages, also causing floods.” 

WMO echoed this statement by saying that now that La Niña has ended, climate events are now in the hands of human-induced climate change. “La Niña has a temporary global cooling effect, which is typically strongest in the second year of the event. This means that 2021 has got off to a relatively cool start – by recent standards.  This should not lull us into a false sense of security that there is a pause in climate change,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.
Taalas warned that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere remain high, fueling global warming. In fact, WMO predicted a 90% chance of at least one year between 2021 to 2025 to become the warmest on record. Soaring temperatures mean warmer oceans, which spell disaster. This, Pagulayan confirmed in a previous article. “Warmer oceans result to more evaporation. When there’s more moisture in the atmosphere, this may result in intensified tropical cyclones,” she said. “This means stronger rains, storm surges, and the possibility of tornadoes. Coastal communities will be inundated even those that do not usually experience floods. Heat waves may occur. While some parts of the country may experience droughts, other parts will receive excess rainfall. The greatest impact is on food production.”


Preparedness as a Personal Responsibility

It’s the second year we, Filipinos, find ourselves grappling with both the typhoon season and the COVID-19 pandemic. While this makes the management of evacuation centers challenging, Pagulayan stresses the importance of being pro-active when it comes to preparedness. “Let’s not rely solely on the government for our safety. Let’s ask ourselves what we an contribute.” She gives the following tips:


Weather forecasts are essential today as they were centuries ago. Our ancestors used observation methods to predict the weather, such as the loud croaking of frogs and the animals’ frantic scramble for shelter, believed to indicate imminent rain or stormy weather. Rain may also be preceded by a red sunrise, cloud towers on mountains, and a starless sky. The sound and sight of giant waves rolling are signs of a looming storm.

Meanwhile, the change of seasons is seen through the ripening of certain fruits. The proliferation of duhat, kaimito, langka and melon happens during the dry season, while the abundance of durian, guyabano, santol and siniguelas signifies the wet season. These observations are especially useful to farmers, sailors, and fishermen whose livelihoods are weather-based.  

Fast forward to modern times, and weather forecasts are now available across all media platforms. Despite their accessibility, many are not aware of how much work is involved in coming up with reliable forecasts. According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Aldczar Aurelio, the process requires several steps and the use of weather instruments. “We analyze weather maps (current and previous data), interpret the weather data coming from synoptic stations, monitor the images from weather satellites, analyze the outputs of numerical meteorological weather prediction, and discuss with fellow weather forecasters. It’s also important to know weather patterns or the behavior of weather systems for particular months or seasons.” 



The Importance of Weather Forecasts

Because of our country’s geographical location, the Philippines is prone to natural disasters including tropical cyclones. According to PAGASA, about 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility, bringing with them hazards such as floods and destruction.

In October last year, Typhoon Ulysses entered the country during the pandemic, causing 67 deaths and more than P16 billion damage in agriculture and infrastructure. Though typhoons cannot be prevented, impacts can be mitigated through preparedness. According to Aurelio, weather forecasts can help in the following:


PAGASA Weather Specialist Aldczar Aurelio 


Observing Weather on Your Own

Should you find yourself in a situation that hinders you from receiving weather forecasts, Aurelio suggests that observing your surroundings like what our ancestors did.  


Cloud formations 

Aurelio states that cloud observation is a basic foundation of meteorology. “There are three types of cloud formations. High clouds, middle clouds and low clouds,” he shares. “High clouds are associated with good weather— sunny, clear and fair. It’s ideal for outdoor activities.  Middle clouds are associated with fair weather, but also with the brewing of bad weather. Low clouds are associated with bad weather—storms and rain. Cumulonimbus known as thunderstorm clouds are examples of low clouds. These low clouds are common during the rainy season.” 

He also added some folk knowledge in predicting the weather, “When you see tower-like clouds, expect rain because those will bring thunderstorms. If you see a field [of clouds] on the base of clouds, it’s possible to experience a tornado.”  




As to the popular belief that starless skies predict rain, Aurelio says that “Clouds that can cause severe thunderstorms cover the whole sky dome. “ But if a few stars are visible, then rain is still possible. 

Given the ever-changing weather systems, forecasts are never 100% accurate. But the constant monitoring of weather forecasts and a keen awareness of our surroundings may boost our safety and preparedness. After all, we cannot escape the seasonal changes of our country’s weather even during a pandemic.

Our country’s natural environment is in a dire state. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Philippines is highly vulnerable to climate change with its increased weather events, and rising sea level and temperatures. A study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 revealed that the Philippines ranks third in deaths due to air pollution. The country also ranks third as a source of plastic pollution in the oceans according to a 2015 report by Ocean Conservancy.

Pro-environment speeches always talk about how we need to save the environment for the next generation. But to solidify this advocacy, we need the next generation to fight alongside us in the name of environmental protection. And one effective way to do this is through children’s books that nourish young minds in engaging ways.

According to the 2017 Readership Survey by the National Book Development Board, picture books and storybooks for children are the second most-read book genre among respondents. Among children and even young adults, over 72% read the said genre.

Building on these statistics, Panahon TV celebrates Buwan ng Wika this August by featuring writers with a heart for Mother Nature. Their children’s books written in Filipino capture the next generation’s imagination, while instilling in them a love for the environment.


Writers slash Eco-Warriors

Liwliwa Malabed

With 16 children’s books published and 4 more waiting in the wing, Liwliwa Malabed has been writing for young readers for 18 years. Some of her books have been recognized by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People through the PBBY-Salanga Writers’ Prize. We shine the spotlight on her environmental book Luntian, Ang Bungang May Pakpak (Luntian, the Winged Seed Pod), illustrated by Aaron Asis and published by Lampara Books. The story talks about Luntian, a seed pod who dreams of becoming a sturdy forest tree like her mother. While chasing his dream, Luntian goes on an adventure, meeting a Northern Luzon giant cloud rat and a Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower.


How did the concept for the book come about?

Luntian was written after a visit to the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems (MCME) in Los Baños, Laguna. There, I saw towering native trees like the Red Lauan. Our guide told us about indigenous species that depend on these trees to survive. Somehow, the idea that one tree can support all these creatures stuck and I went back to Manila with the imprint of the lauan tree in my mind.


How did you craft the story?

First, I researched on dipterocarps. I learned about how their seeds have wing-like parts so they can ride the wind and reach far. I also looked up the animals and plants that live on these trees. I personified my characters because I needed the seed pod to come alive, to have an active role its story. It is still a seed, yes— but with an impatient desire to become a giant.



What do you think are your book’s strongest points?

I made a conscious decision to write it in Filipino and I am glad I did. A story resonates more with children when told in a language they can easily understand. I am also happy with the story within the story part of the book, that Luntian wants to grow into a giant tree so she can be a home to forest creatures because of a tale told by Lolo Ninok, a Philippine scops owl. The illustrations by Aaron Asis are wonderful! The artist’s work is the puzzle piece that completes the narrative.


What do you hope children will learn after reading your book?

I am hoping that children will be more aware of how magnificent and valuable trees are, that planting native trees is beneficial to the environment because they are more resilient against strong winds and flooding brought about by typhoons. Also, endemic species prefer to live in native trees.

Jomike Tejido

Jomike Tejido is both a writer and illustrator with over 50 children’s books under his belt. In 2010, he won two National Book Awards for writing and illustrating Tagu-Taguan, and for illustrating Lub-Dub, Lub-Dub about pioneering pediatrician Fe del Mundo. Also an architect, Jomike has been writing children’s picture books since 2001. One of them is the Anvil-published endangered species series, which features lovable stories about the pawikan (marine turtle), dugong, Philippine eagle, and tamaraw (Mindoro dwarf buffalo) among others.

5 of 7 books in Jomike’s endangered species series

How did the concept for the endangered species series come about?

The series was commissioned by Anvil Books in 2007 and it was my first experience in having a commissioned set of three stories. Then the series picked up and more titles sprang. They must have commissioned me for it due to my long-running daily comic strip that dealt with the lighter side of environmental issues. Mikrokosmos in the Philippine Daily Inquirer ran from 2000 to 2007.


How did you craft the stories?

I took into consideration some pointers I learned from the writers’ workshop I attended, wherein a child psychologist talked about a child’s psychological needs. From there, I made my stories more mundane and specific. Pao Tamaraw was inconsiderate and playful, while Gilas Agila was boastful and had a superiority complex. All these traits are flaws relatable to children, and personified by animals in their habitat. As children can sometimes act like “wild animals,” I could easily relate animals to kids. I worked with Haribon Foundation, and I had a pack of endangered animal flashcards I used as my main list. Then I worked with credible websites to fill in other factual details.

What do you think are the strongest points of this series?

The strongest points are my low word count (thus short storyline), relatable characters and whimsical digital art. I made it a point that the science part wasn’t didactic or rammed into the readers’ minds.


What do you hope children will learn after reading these books?

I hope that children can learn to love animals, especially those endemic to our country, and not feel that just because they are local, they are uncool. I’d like young Filipinos to be proud that these creatures come from their land. I want them to know where these animals live and what they eat, just like how kids are familiar with foreign creatures from TV or books.


Augie Rivera

Writing for the classic Filipino children’s show Batibot propelled Augie Rivera to be a children’s book writer. His books have received recognition from award-giving bodies, including the prestigious Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. Recently, he was awarded with the 2020 Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas for Children’s Literature in Filipino. Last year, Augie’s 19th book, Bayan ng Basura, illustrated by Jill Arteche, was published by Adarna House and Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines. The protagonist is a pawikan who, after a storm, ends up in the deep end of the ocean littered with trash and ailing fellow sea creatures.

How did you come up with the story’s concept?

The book was commissioned by Greenpeace because they wanted to tackle the issues of single-use plastics and ocean pollution. I based the story on real-life events, such as the marine turtle that had a plastic straw shoved up its nose in Costa Rica in 2015. I also read up on the dead whale in Compostela Valley which had 40 kilograms of plastic in its stomach. Then I saw a footage of a British diver in Bali who showed the incredible amount of garbage floating on the sea. These bits of news fueled my imagination, which was why my story had a post-apocalyptic feel to it, wherein there was more garbage than sea creatures.


What do you think are your book’s strongest points?

I really like the book illustrations by Jill Arteche. The first time I saw them, the style reminded me of  Maurice Sendak’s work. When I met Jill, I found out that Sendak is one of her major influences. When the pawikan was surround by trash, the illustrations were dim. They brightened when the trash disappeared.

What do you hope kids will learn from story?

I want them to be aware that they can do something to solve a big problem such as ocean pollution. They can do their part in their own little ways because that’s how big problems start—from little things. I want them to be mindful of their actions because humans are not the only living things here on earth.



Practicing What They Preach

These writers don’t only write about caring for the environment; in their own homes, they also practice eco-friendliness. Liwliwa, for instance, was brought up by a grandmother who taught her how to reuse and recycle. “At home, we try to be mindful of our carbon footprint, conserving water and energy, and refusing single-use plastic.”

Jomike reuses product packaging, and passes on environmental values to his children. “I teach my kids to save water and energy by turning off faucets and appliances when not in use. I let them watch nature documentaries to expand their world view, and see animals wider than the scope of domestic pets,” he shares.

Ever since Augie moved to Marikina a few years ago, he’s been more conscious of waste segregation. “Once, I accidentally mixed vegetable peel with non-recyclable waste, and I had to go to the City Environment Management Office to either pay the fine of P2,000 or do community work. I never made the mistake again.” When he goes out, Augie brings his own eco bag, straw and utensils. “I agreed to write Bayan ng Basura because I really support environmental advocacies.”

Linaaw, Liwliwa’s daughter, reads her mother’s book


Telling Mother Nature’s Stories

All these children’s book writers agree—it’s vital to write environmental stories for children.

“It’s important to imbue the love for animals and care for the environment at a young age,” Jomike shares. “Stories like mine aim to foster the love for these creatures by letting kids feel that these characters are like their friends (or themselves), who have flaws like any normal person and can be taught to become better.”

Liwliwa thinks that these stories are more important now during the pandemic. “Nowadays, children are always indoors, and stories connect them with the outside world,” she says. “Stories about the environment make children realize how nature makes it possible for us to live our lives and how children can participate in protecting our planet.”

Augie believes that stories about the environment gives hope to the next generation. “As grownups, we didn’t do our part in saving our planet.  So we should raise our children’s awareness on the issues, and encourage them to do their part and hope for a better world to live in.”




Some areas in Northern and Central Luzon will continue to experience lights rains today.
According to PAGASA, the Northeast Monsoon or Amihan prevails in Northern Luzon, bringing cloudy skies with light rains in Cordillera, Batanes, Babuyan, Cagayan and Ilocos Norte. In Isabela, Aurora and Quezon, cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and isolated thunderstorms will be experienced due to the Tail-End of a Cold Front. In the rest of the country, including Metro Manila, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will be experienced but localized thunderstorms are still possible.

Because of the surge of Amihan, gale warning is still in effect off the seaboards of Northern Luzon where wave height may reach up to 3.4 to 4.5 meters. Fishing boats and other small seacraft are advised not to venture out into the sea, while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves in Batanes, the Babuyan Group of Islands, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, the northern and eastern coasts of Cagayan, Isabela.
Supermoon brightened the sky
Last night, a larger and brighter moon graced the skies to the delight of selenophiles or moon lovers.
This astronomical event happens when the moon, at a full phase, coincides with the perigee or its closest distance to the Earth. Yesterday, the moon reached its perigee at 4:43 PM and its full phase at 11:47 PM. PAGASA said that the moon appeared 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual.

LOOK | Tonight's Supermoon as seen in Tanza, Cavite. The Moon reached its Perigee (its closest distance to the Earth) at 4:43 PM earlier. At 11:47 PM, it will reach a Full Moon phase and can appear up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual.Photos and video captured by Mary Crystalline T. Araracap

Posted by Panahon.TV on Sunday, December 3, 2017

Warm Weather on Rizal’s Birth Anniversary

The Ridge of a High Pressure Area (HPA) continues to bring generally fair weather in the country. This weather system suppresses cloud formation, causing lesser chance of rains. As it prevails today, partly cloudy to cloudy skies prevail in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao though isolated rain showers and thunderstorms are still possible.

In an interview with PAGASA Weather Forecaster Samuel Duran, he mentioned that no weather disturbance is expected to affect the country within the next two to three days.

Non-working Holiday

While it’s a back-to-work Monday in most areas of the country, some provinces are enjoying an extended vacation today. These include Ifugao, which celebrates its provincial foundation anniversary, and Laguna, the birthplace of Dr. Jose Rizal whose birth we commemorate today.

Here are expected weather conditions and temperatures in these areas:

Rains in Soccsksargen areas

The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) continues to bring rains to some areas in Southern Mindanao.

This Saturday, portions of the Soccsksargen Region, including Sarangani and South Cotabato should still brace for light to moderate rains. Meanwhile, in the rest of Mindanao, a generally fair weather will be experienced. Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms will prevail in Luzon and Visayas.

In an interview with PAGASA Weather Forecaster Obet Badrina, he mentioned that no tropical cyclone is expected to affect the country this weekend.

Typhoon and Flood Awareness Week 2017
Meanwhile, to further strengthen the nation’s readiness for tropical cyclones and their possible effects, the Typhoon and Flood Awareness Week 2017 was officially launched.

In a press conference held in Quezon City yesterday, Dr. Esperanza O. Cayanan, the chief of PAGASA Weather Division, highlighted that the bureau will now use “impact-based” information dissemination instead of focusing on the figures and data.

Nine to 14 tropical cyclones are expected to enter or develop within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) until November this year.

ITCZ soaks parts of Mindanao

The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) continues to affect Southern Mindanao.

ITCZ is characterized as an area where winds coming from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres meet; this interaction results to rains in the affected areas.

As this weather system prevails, cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms will be experienced in Mindanao today. Rains have been affecting the region since last week, prompting the cancellation of classes and declaration of State of Calamity in Kabuntalan and other areas in Maguindanao due to widespread flooding.

Light to moderate rains will also affect the regions of Central Visayas and Negros Island. In the rest of the country including Metro Manila, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will prevail only with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.


Rainy first day of school in parts of Luzon and Mindanao

According to the Department of Education, an estimated 28 million students officially opens the school year 2017-2018 today. As students and teachers head back to school, rains will prevail in some parts of Luzon and Mindanao.

According to PAGASA, the Southwest Monsoon or Habagat is still affecting the western section of Northern and Central Luzon, while the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is affecting Southern Mindanao. Due to these weather systems, cloudy skies with light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms will be experienced in the Ilocos Region, Zambales, Bataan, Maguindanao, Soccsksargen and Davao Del Sur including Davao City. In the rest of the country including Metro Manila, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will prevail except for isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.

In an interview with PAGASA Weather Forecaster Samuel Duran, he mentioned that morning rains will be more frequent as Habagat prevails.

However, Duran clarified that there is no weather disturbance in the county within the next three days.

Moderate rains continue in Palawan

The Southwest Monsoon, locally known as Habagat continues to affect the eastern section of Luzon.

As this weather system prevails, Palawan will continue to experience light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms. In the rest of the country including Metro Manila, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will prevail only with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.

With rains concentrated in Palawan, humid weather is still expected to prevail in most parts of the country.

Get to Know Habagat
Every year, when the rainy season begins, Habagat begins to affect the country. Due to its warm and moist characteristics, Habagat causes monsoon rains that could last for a couple of days or even a week. Here are things you must know about this weather system: