The Visayas, with 16 provinces, is a cluster of islands of varying sizes in the middle of the archipelago. It is where the historic and dynamic city of Cebu, and the world-famous Boracay beaches, can be found.
Must-see destinations in the Visayas are:
Known as “the Queen City of the South”, historic Cebu is the center of trade and commerce in the southern Philippines, and was briefly named the country’s capital in the 16th century. The province features miles of forests, two national Parks, the Cawasan Falls and the Bolok-Bolok Mineral Springs.
In Cebu City, visitors can find Magellan’s Cross, planted by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 in commemoration of the first Filipinos baptized into Christianity. Ironically, across the monument housing the Cross is the Lapu-Lapu Monument, a bronze statue erected in honor of the first Filipino leader to resist Spanish attempts at colonization and who faced Magellan on the battlefield.
The Santo Niño de Cebu, the oldest religious relic in the country, is housed at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, one of the country’s oldest churches. The relic was presented by Magellan to Queen Juana in 1521 as a token of friendship.
The University of San Carlos, the country’s oldest university, can also be found in the province.
Nearby Mactan Island also offers world-class beach resorts and dive spots.
The province of Bohol, just two hours away by ferry from Cebu, is the home of the world-famous Chocolate Hills – thousands of cone-shaped mounds scattered over 50 square kilometers. Aside from this top tourist attraction, Bohol also has popular diving destinations on the island of Panglao, Balicasag and Pamalican, from where visitors can also go whale-watching.
Boracay. Touted as having some of the world’s best beaches, Boracay Island, in the province of Aklan, actually has more than 30 beaches with four kilometers of dazzling powder-fine white sand and warm, crystalline waters.
On Boracay Island, visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports, including diving, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. Visitors may also choose to hop to some of the nearby islands, get that perfect tan, rejuvenate the senses in one of the wellness spas, or just relax in the sunshine.