Introducing The Visayas

Several threshold events in the history of the nation occurred in the Visayas. Magellan landed off the Cebu coast in 1521, marking the Philippines' first contact with Europeans, and MacArthur fulfilled his vow to return to the country during WWII, landing near Tacloban on Leyte.

This is the part of the country that fits the clichés of the sun-soaked, gin-stained Edenic paradise. The beaches are white and palm fringed, the locals fish in the turquoise waters, and the heat is so enervating that all exertion is called into question.

You can hopscotch the region on a virtual armada of seagoing vessels, from humble bangka to modern ferries. You can travel from Cebu, the Philippines' raucous and cosmopolitan second city, to Boracay on the northwestern tip of Panay, the raucous and cosmopolitan beach resort. Numerous smaller, more subdued beaches can be found around the Cebu and Negros islands and on Panglao Island off Bohol, a worthy destination itself. Lesser travelled islands such as Siquior and Romblon offer more privacy and the chance to get into the lethargic flow, and for those wishing to stop time altogether there are the thousands of tiny islands unmarked on most maps, their names known only to locals.