The Visayas region in the Philippines is a land of stunning natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and fascinating history. From the breathtaking beaches of Boracay and Palawan to the charming colonial towns of Iloilo and Dumaguete, the Visayas has something to offer for every traveler. So whether you’re a beach bum, a history buff, or a foodie, the Visayas will not disappoint.
Top Visayas destinations to visit
1) Bohol – Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Sanctuary, and more
Bohol is a province located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. It is known for its stunning natural landscapes, including the famous Chocolate Hills. These natural wonders are a series of more than 1,200 hills that are spread over an area of 50 square kilometers. The hills are called “Chocolate Hills” because the grass covering them turns brown during the dry season, making them look like giant chocolate mounds.
Aside from the Chocolate Hills, Bohol is also home to the Tarsier Sanctuary. Tarsiers are small primates that are found in the forests of Southeast Asia. The sanctuary protects the endangered Philippine tarsiers, known for their unique large eyes and ability to turn their heads 180 degrees. Visitors can observe the tarsiers up close and learn more about these fascinating creatures.
In addition to the Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier Sanctuary, Bohol has many other attractions. These include the Loboc River Cruise, the Baclayon Church, and the Hinagdanan Cave. The Loboc River Cruise takes visitors on a scenic boat ride along the Loboc River. In addition, they can enjoy a buffet lunch and music from local musicians. The Baclayon Church is a historic stone church built in the 16th century. And the Hinagdanan Cave is a natural limestone cave that features a crystal-clear underground pool.
2) Cebu – Historical landmarks, beaches, and nightlife
Cebu is a province in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, known for its historical landmarks, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife. Additionally, the province is home to the oldest city in the Philippines, Cebu City, founded in 1565 by the Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
One of the most popular attractions in Cebu is the Magellan’s Cross. This wooden cross was planted by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, marking the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines. Another famous landmark is the Basilica del Santo Niño, which houses the oldest religious relic in the country, the Santo Niño de Cebu.
Aside from its historical landmarks, Cebu is famous for its stunning beaches. Some of the most popular beaches in the province include Mactan Island, Bantayan Island, and Malapascua Island. These beaches offer crystal-clear waters, powdery white sand, and a wide range of water activities, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and island hopping.
And when the sun goes down, Cebu comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. The province is home to many bars, clubs, and restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets. From live music venues to rooftop bars, Cebu has something for everyone.
While at it, here are some of the most Instagrammable places in Cebu where you can capture worth-cherishing memories.
3) Siquijor – Mystical island with beautiful beaches and waterfalls
Siquijor is a small island in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. It is known for its mystical reputation, which has earned it the nickname “Island of Fire.” The island is said to be home to many healers and mystics who use natural remedies and traditional practices to cure ailments.
Aside from its mystical reputation, Siquijor is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines. Some of the most popular beaches on the island include Salagdoong Beach, Kagusuan Beach, and San Juan Beach. These beaches offer crystal-clear waters, powdery white sand, and a serene atmosphere perfect for relaxing and unwinding.
Another attraction in Siquijor is its waterfalls. The island has several waterfalls, including Cambugahay Falls, Lugnason Falls, and Lagaan Falls. These waterfalls offer a refreshing escape from the heat and humidity of the island and are perfect for swimming and picnicking.
4) Negros – Whale watching, hot springs, and ancestral houses
Negros is a province located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It is known for its diverse attractions, including whale watching, hot springs, and ancestral houses. The province is also home to the famous MassKara Festival, a colorful October celebration showcasing the province’s rich culture and history.
One of the most popular attractions in Negros is whale watching in Bais City. Visitors can take a boat ride to see the dolphins and whales that inhabit the waters off the city’s coast. The whale watching season is from November to April, when the waters are calm, and the whales are most active.
Another attraction in Negros is the hot springs. The province has several hot springs, including the Mambukal Hot Springs in Murcia and the Pulangbato Hot Springs in Valencia. These hot springs offer a relaxing and therapeutic experience and are perfect for unwinding after a long day of sightseeing.
And for those interested in history and culture, Negros has several ancestral houses that are worth a visit. These houses were built during the Spanish colonial period and showcase the unique architecture and design of the era. Some of the most popular ancestral houses in Negros include the Balay Negrense in Silay City and the Daku Balay in Himamaylan City.
5) Iloilo – Spanish colonial architecture, delicious cuisine, and festivals
Iloilo is a province located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It is known for its rich history, delicious cuisine, and colorful festivals. In addition, the province is home to several Spanish colonial-era churches and buildings, a testament to its rich cultural heritage.
One of the most popular attractions in Iloilo is the Miag-ao Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This baroque-style church was built in the 18th century and is known for its intricate carvings and unique architectural design. Another popular attraction is the Calle Real, a street in Iloilo City lined with Spanish colonial-era buildings.
Aside from its historical landmarks, Iloilo is famous for its delicious cuisine. Some of the most popular dishes in the province include La Paz Batchoy, a noodle soup made with pork, liver, and egg, and Pancit Molo, a dumpling soup similar to wonton soup.
And when it comes to festivals, Iloilo is home to the Dinagyang Festival, one of the most colorful and vibrant festivals in the Philippines. The festival is held every January and showcases the province’s rich culture and history through street dancing, parades, and other cultural events.
6) Leyte – War history, stunning beaches, and island hopping
Leyte is a province located in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines. It is known for its role in World War II, as it was the site of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history. The province is also home to some of the most stunning beaches in the Philippines and several islands that are perfect for island hopping.
One of the most popular attractions in Leyte is the Leyte Landing Memorial Park, which commemorates the landing of General Douglas MacArthur and his troops during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The park features a museum and several monuments that pay homage to the sacrifices made by the soldiers during the war.
Aside from its war history, Leyte is known for its stunning beaches. Some of the most popular beaches in the province include Kalanggaman Island, Canigao Island, and Digyo Island. These beaches offer crystal-clear waters, powdery white sand, and a serene atmosphere perfect for relaxing and unwinding.
And for those interested in island hopping, Leyte has several islands that are worth a visit. These islands include Cuatro Islas, a group of four islands offering pristine beaches and clear waters, and San Pedro Island, known for its snorkeling and diving opportunities.
7) Guimaras – Mango plantations, white sand beaches, and island tours
Guimaras is a small island province located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It is known for its sweet mangoes, which are considered to be the best in the country. The province is also home to several white sand beaches and offers island tours that showcase its natural beauty.
One of the most popular attractions in Guimaras is the Trappist Monastery, run by the Cistercian Order monks. The monastery is known for its peaceful and serene atmosphere and is a popular destination for those seeking spiritual retreats.
Aside from the Trappist Monastery, Guimaras is also famous for its white sand beaches. Some of the most popular beaches in the province include Alubihod Beach, Guisi Beach, and Natago Beach. These beaches offer crystal-clear waters, powdery white sand, and a serene atmosphere perfect for relaxing and unwinding.
And for those interested in exploring the island, Guimaras offers island tours that showcase its natural beauty. These tours take visitors to mango plantations, natural attractions, and historical landmarks like the Guisi Lighthouse and the Buenavista Church.
8) Camotes – Caves, beaches, and natural attractions
Camotes is a group of islands in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. It is known for its natural attractions, including caves, beaches, and waterfalls. In addition, the islands are a popular destination for those seeking a peaceful and quiet getaway.
One of the most popular attractions in Camotes is the Buho Rock Resort. This resort features a natural rock formation perfect for cliff diving and offers stunning ocean views. Another popular attraction is the Timubo Cave, a natural limestone cave that features a crystal-clear underground pool.
Aside from its natural attractions, Camotes is also home to several beautiful beaches. Some of the most popular beaches on the islands include Santiago Bay, Mangodlong Beach, and Lake Danao. These beaches offer crystal-clear waters, powdery white sand, and a serene atmosphere perfect for relaxing and unwinding.
And for those interested in waterfalls, Camotes has several waterfalls worth visiting. These waterfalls include Tudela Falls, Panganuron Falls, and Busay Falls.
How to get to the Visayas and travel tips
Getting to the Visayas is easy, as the region is well-connected to the rest of the Philippines by air, sea, and land. The major Visayas airports are Cebu, Iloilo, and Bacolod. These airports offer direct flights to Manila and other destinations in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Traveling around the Visayas is also easy, as several modes of transportation are available. These include buses, jeepneys, tricycles, and taxis. It is also possible to rent a car or motorcycle. However, it is recommended to only do so if you have experience driving in the Philippines.
When traveling to the Visayas, keep in mind that the region is prone to typhoons and other natural disasters. Therefore, it is recommended to check the weather forecast before traveling and follow local authorities’ instructions in case of emergencies.
The Visayas region in the Philippines is a land of stunning natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and fascinating history. Whether you’re a beach bum, a history buff, or a foodie, the Visayas will not disappoint. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to discover the wonders of the Visayas!