THE VISAYAS are emerald and sapphire jewels dotting the land and seascape between Luzon and Mindanao. Centrally located this cluster of islands entice the adventurous, the daring and lover of nature and beauty to frolic in the sun, sea and sand.
At the very center is the island-province of Cebu, itself ringed by 166 smaller islands. Mactan island has some of the best diving spots in the country and Bantayan, another isle, is famed for its breathtaking coral formations.
|Magellan's Cross in Cebu|
Cebu City was the first Spanish settlement in Asia and is the second largest metropolis in the country, rivaling Manila in many ways.
|Cebu Sinulog Festival|
Two hours away from Cebu by ferry boat is Bohol, more rustic but just as exciting for the adventurous and daring. The most popular diving destinations are Panglao, Balicasag and Pamalican islands, from where one can also go whale-watching. Its top tourist attraction are the Chocolate Hills, thousands of cone shaped mounds scattered over 50 square kilometers. Bohol is also home to the tarsier, the oldest insect-eating mammal and smallest primate on the planet.
The Samar-Leyte region in the Eastern Visayas offers a quieter but equally picturesque life of rural Philippines.
The Panay and Negros islands offer a glimpse of the country's Spanish roots. Iloilo boast centuries-old churches, period houses and fine hand-loomed fabrics. Negros Occidental was one of the nation's sugar bowl and bastion of the old rich landed gentry. Negros Oriental is ideal for land and water adventure sports like trekking, scuba diving and kayaking.
|Miag-ao Church in Iloilo Province|
|Transporting sugarcane in Negros|
Off the province of Aklan is Boracay, touted as one of the best beach in the world, with four kilometers of dazzling powder-fine white sand and warm, crystalline waters.