When the Wind Blows
The Philippines Hot Season | Wet Season
When people talk about seasons in the Philippines, the most common (if cliché) aphorism must be some variation on; “There’s hot, and then, there’s hot and wet.”
Indeed, the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s columnist, Ambeth Ocampo, in her informal discussion of the Philippines’ phenomena, ‘Amihan’ and ‘habagat’, cites Governor-General Francisco Sande’s report to the King of Spain composed in 1576:
“…there are two general seasons (in Filipinas), the dry season, (when) the BRISAS, as they are called, blow from the southeast to the north, finally blowing directly from the north; while in the other or wet season, the VENDAVALES blow from northwest to southwest.
Chinese traders rode the Amihan winds to the Philippines and Indonesia. The Spanish Galleons arrived each year with sails filled with the Amihan departing Acapulco in January-March for a three-month voyage to Manila laden with silver from the Empire’s colonial mines. The return trip tended to be a real bitch of a run extending as long as seven months and claiming most of the lost galleons.
Badging As Memory Palace
Recently, I created a badge treatment of the two seasons where Hot = Amihan and Wet = Habagat. The main reason for this little exercise — an identity design warm up on a brain foggy Sunday morning — was to help myself remember the difference between the two.
Amihan & Habagat in My Mind
I started thinking about the wind for three reasons:
- Keeping my tent secure on occasional tent trips to Siquijor; during Amihan, the wind blows furiously on the windward side of the island a tent on the beach is a chore.
- A recent acquaintance who runs a Kite Surfing School queued the classes awaiting the arrival of winds that I’m guessing are the Amihan winds that we currently feel blowing in from the East. The Amihan winds blow right into my condo as I face due East.
- A locally produced line of outdoor gear takes Habagat as the name of their company. I own a Habagat backpack and think pretty highly of their stuff. It’s one of those great instances when buying locally is both a solid move and practical.
But that’s not exactly accurate because I’ve encountered other people who obsessively anticipate the Amihan winds. In Mati, the wave and wind surfers wait every year for the right winds to kick up for their particular adrenaline cocktail.
I like to think about other people who anticipate the winds arrival: sailors, surfers of all kinds, treasure hunter/divers, all manner of people for whom the seas and waves and the wind govern their lives.