The Philippines will suspend in-person classes in all public schools for two days due to extreme heat and a nationwide strike by jeepney drivers, the education department said Sunday.

Extreme heat has scorched Southeast Asia in recent weeks, prompting thousands of schools to suspend in-person operations and authorities to issue health warnings.

Many schools in the Philippines have no air-conditioning, leaving students to swelter in crowded, poorly ventilated classrooms.

"In view of the latest heat index forecast... and the announcement of a nationwide transport strike, all public schools nationwide shall implement asynchronous classes/distance learning on April 29 and 30, 2024," the department said on Facebook.

The education department oversees more than 47,000 schools across the archipelago nation.

Some jeepney drivers also plan to hold a three-day nationwide strike starting Monday to protest the government's plan to phase out the smoke-belching vehicles used by many Filipinos to commute to work and school.

The suspension of in-person classes comes after Manila recorded its highest ever temperature.

The temperature in the city hit a record high of 38.8 degrees Celsius (101.8 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday with the heat index reaching 45C, data from the state weather forecaster showed.

The heat index measures what a temperature feels like, taking into account humidity.

The hot weather persisted on Sunday with many people flocking to air-conditioned shopping malls and swimming pools for relief.

"This is the hottest I've ever experienced here," said Nancy Bautista, 65, whose resort in Cavite province near Manila was fully booked due to the hot weather.

"Many of our guests are friends and families. They swim in the pool to fight the heat."

The months of March, April and May are typically the hottest and driest of the year, but this year's conditions have been exacerbated by the El Nino weather phenomenon.

"All places in the country, not necessarily just Metro Manila, are expected to have hotter temperatures until the second week of May," Glaiza Escullar of the state weather forecaster told AFP.

"There is a possibility that the areas will exceed those temperatures being measured today until the second week of May."

Camiling municipality in Tarlac province, north of Manila, recorded a temperature of 40.3C on Saturday -- the country's highest this year.

As the mercury rose, Gerise Reyes, 31, planned to take her two-year-old daughter to a shopping mall near Manila.

"It's hot here at home. This is the hottest I've ever experienced especially between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm," she said.

"We need a free aircon to cut our electricity bill."

Global temperatures hit record highs last year, and the United Nations' weather and climate agency said Tuesday that Asia was warming at a particularly rapid pace.

The Philippines ranks among the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.