The Visayas are a major island and cultural grouping in the midsection of the Philippines. Nearly every part of the region has some fine beaches along its coasts, some fine diving areas including many coral reefs teeming with life, and some interesting historic buildings, mostly from the Spanish colonial period, in the cities and some towns. Most of the larger islands have mountains near the center, most of them volcanic in origin though few are active now.

The country’s best-known resort island, Boracay, is in the northwestern corner of the region. Diving destinations include Malapascua in Cebu Province, Panglao Island in Bohol Province, Apo Island in Negros Oriental, Danjugan Island in Negros Occidental, and many others. Other tourist draws include Metro Cebu which is the main urban center of the region, the Chocolate Hills of Carmen, Bohol, and whale watching in the Tañon Strait off Bais City, Negros Oriental.

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Some of the most important provinces consist of one main island plus a few smaller ones nearby.

  • Cebu Province, a large island and a populous province, transport hub of the region, Has the largest urban center in the Visayas, Metro Cebu, with Mactan-Cebu International Airport, a major air hub and the Philippines’ second busiest airport. Many visitors enter the Visayas via either this airport or the sea port in Cebu City.
  • Bohol, a mid-sized province with a booming tourist industry. Attractions include the resort area Panglao Island, the scenic Chocolate Hills, and a forest reserve with Tarsiers, one of the world’s smallest primates.

Some of the larger islands have more than one province

  • Panay with Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo provinces. The main tourist draw is the highly developed beach resort island of Boracay.
  • Negros with Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. Tourist draws include the tallest peak in the Visayas, the semi-active Kanlaon Volcano near Bacolod, the tourist town and retirement destination Dumaguete, and diving destinations such as Apo Island.
  • Leyte Island with Leyte Province and Southern Leyte
  • Samar Island with Samar Province, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.

The region also includes several small island provinces, each one main island plus some smaller ones nearby:

  1. Siquijor — between Bohol and Negros, known for legends of witches and sorcerers.
  2. Guimaras – between Panay and Negros, famous for mangoes.
  3. Biliran – between Samar Island and Leyte Island

Festivals

  • Ati-atihan Festival (January, Western Visayas)
  • Dinagyang Festival (January, Western Visayas)
  • Sinulog Festival (January, Central Visayas)
  • Pintados Festival (June, Eastern Visayas)
  • MassKara Festival (October, Negros)
  • There are ferries nearly anywhere in the Visayas, with the port in Cebu City as the main hub and smaller ports all over the region. There are also lots of buses, many of which ride ferries for parts of their routes.
  • Visayas information from wikivoyage.

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