Techniques from dynamical systems theory have been applied to study horizontal stirring of fluid in the Philippine Archipelago. The authors’ analysis is based on velocity fields produced by two high-resolution (3 and 6 km) numerical models. Particular attention is paid to identifying robust surface flow patterns and associating them with dominant Lagrangian coherent structures (LCSs). A recurrent wind-driven dipole in the lee of the coastline is considered in detail. The associated LCSs form a template for stirring, exchange, and biological transport in and around the dipole. Chaotic advection is argued to provide a relevant framework for interpreting mesoscale horizontal stirring processes in an archipelago as a whole. Implications for the formation of filaments, the production of tracer variance, and the scale at which stirring leads to mixing are discussed in connection with an observed temperature record.