The most visited part of the Philippines consists of seven major islands that surround the Visayan Sea. It is a region of paradisiacal islands and beaches, unbeatable diving and bustling tourist resorts.

The main islands of the Visayas are clockwise from the most northerly: Masbate, Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negros, and Panay. They are all fairly massive and are surrounded by innumerable islands, islets and the most beautiful turquoise waters. Beaches are usually of the white coral variety where the sand squeaks as you walk.

The most popular of the Visayas are Cebu and Panay; the latter is made famous by its close smaller neighbor, Boracay Island. This little gem is as good as it gets, with some of the most stunning beaches on earth. They are a dazzling sugary white and are almost always fringed by manicured-looking tropical palms.

Cebu is the main island of the Visayas, both commercially and politically. It is an air and sea hub, with an international airport and numerous ports. Cebu City is the main city on the island, dubbed the ‘Queen City of the South’. Colon Street in Cebu City is the oldest street in the Philippines and features many interesting attractions and good shopping.

Bohol Island is another of the smaller main tourist destinations in the Visayas. It, too, has fantastic beaches and resorts and is the home of the fabled Chocolate Hills. There are interesting resorts all around the island and the scuba diving is some of the best in the Philippines.

Getting There & Away

Cebu is the main transport hub of the Visayas. It is just over an hour’s flight from Manila although it also receives direct international flights from many Asian cities. Each of the main Visayas Islands can be reached directly by air from Manila, including the island of Romblon. Most parts of the Visayas can also be reached by boat from Manila and Mindanao.