Seated at the heart of the Philippine archipelago, the islands of Visayas are among the prettiest and most visited in the country. From east to west, these islands continue to lure visitors of different tongues and nations for their pristine beaches and untamed wilderness. Its main islands of Samar, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Masbate, Panay and Negros are further encircled by equally magnificent islets and breathtaking waters. Famous for its white sandy beaches and incomparable nature, coupled with great Visayan hospitality, Visayas is truly a paradise at the heart of the Philippines.
As gems of tourism in the country, the islands of Cebu, Panay and Bohol offer their visitors a wide array of opportunities to discover the treasures and beauty that lie within them.
Cebu, known to the locals as the “Queen City of the South,” is also the oldest in the country. With its rich history that has brought major landmarks such as the Magellan’s Cross, Fort San Pedro, and the monuments of the epic Datu Lapu-Lapu who killed Ferdinand Magellan, and the latter, who is one of the first to discover the Philippines. Cebu is also a huge commercial center and an international transport hub, having an international harbor and many other smaller ports. South of the Philippine’s oldest city is the town of Carcar where well-preserved Castillian houses stand, surrounded by beautiful gardens and old churches. Authentic wood guitars are famous products at Maribago, while amid the beach clubs and resorts are many other historical sites.
Magellan's Cross in Cebu
Panay Island holds other historical and cultural gems, including an 18th century baroque church known as Miagao in Iloilo. The nearby Sicogon Island with its virgin forests, magnificent mountains and rich marine life, is a retreat for scuba divers. Who would forget to mention the most popular island treasure that is the Boracay Island, a huge expanse of sugary white sand beach and a prime destination to experience the sun.
Miagao - An 18th Century Baroque Church in Iloilo
Bohol is another one of the prime islands in Visayas, where natural wonders abound. The island is most famous for its limestone hills (hundreds of them), better known as the “Chocolate Hills” as they appear like huge mounds of the sweet treat. Aside from its handsome beaches, one interesting site in the island is the Baclayon Church, a very old stone church, and probably the oldest in the country.