They also stop rocks and large bugs from hitting your most sensitive exposed body parts (assuming you are wearing a full face helmet). I've been hit in the fingers by rocks (yes, even with gloves on) where it is dangerously distracting.
In the rain, I've noticed, no matter how hard it's raining, my gloves are always dry (they are water repellent, not water proof, so it makes a difference). In the dry cold, I don't think they help much, BUT, for some reason they DO seem to keep my hands from cooling when it's hot.
In the Philippines, I probably wouldn't have them, unless it was for impact protection.