MANILA -- Daytime in the country, or the period between sunrise and sunset, will be longest during the solstice this Wednesday, June 21, with Northern Philippines' Batanes experiencing lengthiest duration of daylight then.
Sunrise and sunset that day in Batanes' capital Basco municipality will occur around 5:21 a.m. and 6:42 p.m., respectively, so daytime there will be about 13 hours and 21 minutes long, noted Dario dela Cruz, Space Sciences and Astronomy Section chief of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
"Batanes folk will have some extra time for day activities," he noted.
Pagasa data indicate daytime in Basco was shorter during this year's March equinox, when duration of day and night were almost equal, as sunrise and sunset there occurred at 6:04 a.m. and 6:11 p.m., respectively.
Dela Cruz said sunrise was the moment when the sun's upper edge becomes visible over the eastern horizon.
Sunset occurs when the sun's edge disappears in the western horizon, he also said.
Solstices happen twice a year - around June 21 when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer and around December 21 when this celestial body is over the Tropic of Capricorn.
Both tropics, the equator as well as Arctic and Antarctic circles, are the five major imaginary latitude lines circling Earth.
Batanes is the Philippine area nearest the Tropic of Cancer.
In the Northern Hemisphere where the Philippines is, the solstice in June is known as the summer solstice and marks there the year's longest day in terms of daylight.
Such solstice is called the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere and marks the year's shortest day there.
While daytime will be longest in Batanes during Wednesday's solstice, dela Cruz said Southern Philippines' Tawi-tawi province will experience then the shortest day.
He said sunrise in Tawi-Tawi's Batu-batu area that day will be at 5:49 a.m. while sunset there will occur at 6:14 p.m., resulting in daytime of almost 12.5 hours only.
"It'll be night already in Tawi-Tawi while daylight is still prevailing in Batanes," he said.
Daytime in Central Philippines during the June solstice will be neither as long as Batanes' nor as short as Tawi-Tawi's, however, he noted.
According to Pagasa, the solstice this Wednesday will occur at 12:24 p.m. (Philippine Standard Time).
"This event marks start of the apparent southward movement of the sun in the ecliptic," noted Pagasa.
Ecliptic is the imaginary line in the sky marking the sun's annual path, said experts.
Several Northern Hemisphere cultures consider the June solstice as summer season's midpoint.
Such cultures feature feasts and religious activities celebrating the solstice.
Among foreign beliefs associated with the June solstice is being able to get married soon if a river's current brings together two crowns of flowers a prospective spouse weaves and tosses there.
In the Philippines, however, there appears to be no known beliefs and practices associated with such solstice.
Dela Cruz is open to receiving information on the matter.
"It'll be interesting to document those," he said.
Such documentation will help promote better understanding of Philippine culture, he added. (PNA)