Date and time notation in the Philippines

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Since the Philippines has not officially adopted any time and date representation standard based on the ISO 8601, notation practices across the country are in various, customary formats.


In casual settings, alphanumeric date formats are usually written with a middle-endian order (month-day-year) in a way similar to that of the United States. Another format, the little-endian order (day-month-year)[citation needed] is widely applied in more formal transactions and written communications especially in businesses, the government and academe, also in the military and usually the police, although the middle-endian format is still prevalent in daily use (except the armed forces). Since there is no law mandating the date order, minimum or maximum length, or format (i.e. alphanumeric or numeric), notations sometimes vary from office to office, in private and public sectors. Such can be observed in passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, which particularly notate the date numerically as MM-DD-YY, and in house bills or executive orders dated alphanumerically with a MMMM-DD-YYYY format.

Hyphens (), periods (.) and forwardslashes (/) are the most common separators for a numeric date format. On the other hand, an alphanumeric date in month-day-year format instead uses spacing and a comma between the day and year. A day-month-year variant likewise does not necessarily require a comma between the month and year.

Below are date format variations typically used in the Philippines:

Format Order Example
MMMM-DD-YYYY April 05, 2016
MMMM-D-YYYY April 5, 2016
DD-MMMM-YYYY 05 April 2016
D-MMMM-YYYY 5 April 2016
MM-DD-YYYY 04-05-2016
M-D-YYYY 4-5-2016
MM-DD-YY 04-05-16
M-D-YY 4-5-16
DD-MM-YYYY 05-04-2016
D-M-YYYY 5-4-2016
DD-MM-YY 05-04-16
D-M-YY 5-4-16

In Tagalog, however, the day-month-year notation is the proper format as adapted from the Spanish. The ordinal prefix ika is applied on the day first as in ika-31 ng Disyembre, 2015 (English: 31st of December 2015). The month-day-year format is also used, albeit rarely and more for Spanish recitation.[citation needed] The English-based formats (Disyembre 31, 2015 or especially in the military, 31 Disyembre 2015) are used but are still read in the Tagalog day-month-year notation.

Weeks are generally referred to by the date of some day within that week (e.g., "the week of July 14"), rather than by a week number. Holidays are an exception; such days are typically identified by a week number, relative to the day of the week on which the holiday is fixed, either from the beginning of the month (first, second, etc.) or end (last, and far more rarely penultimate and antepenultimate). For example, National Heroes Day is defined as being on "the fourth Monday in August." Calendars mostly show Sunday (or Monday) as the first day of the week.


The Philippines uses the 12-hour notation in most oral or written communication, whether formal or informal. A colon (:) is used to separate the hour from the minutes (for example 12:30 p.m.). The use of the 24-hour notation is usually restricted in use among airports, the military, police and other technical purposes.

Spoken Conventions[edit]

Numerical elements of dates and the time may pronounced using either their Spanish names or vernacular ones; the former is somewhat pedestrian whilst the latter tends to be longer, formal and academic.


Date: 12/15/2015

  • Spanish-derived: Disyembre akinse, dos mil kinse (Spanish: A-quince de diciembre, dos mil quince)
  • English-derived: Disyembre kinse, dos mil kinse (also in use)
  • Tagalog: Ika-labinlima(ng araw) ng Disyembre dalawang libo't labing-lima

Time: 8:30 p.m.

  • Spanish-derived: Alas otso imedya ng gabi (Spanish: A las ocho y media; note ng gabi as vernacular designation for in the evening)
  • Tagalog: Tatlumpu (minuto/sandali) makalipas ikawalo ng gabi

See also[edit]