Home to dazzling white-sand beaches and astonishing coral walls, the world's smallest mammal and its biggest fish, eastern Visayas are the aqua heart of an island nation. This region's natural appeal is utterly compelling – the Chocolate Hills of Bohol and shimmering millions of sardines of Moalboal, waves and caves of Samar and waterfalls and rice terraces of Biliran.
Cebu City has a certain cosmopolitan allure, but the distant corners of the eastern Visayas are the real lure. Make time to visit beach-blessed Bantayan Island, dive-magnet Malapascua, surf-blessed Calicoan and the unique pink-sand bays of remote Sila.
Twin disasters (Typhoon Yolanda and the Bohol earthquake) battered eastern Visayas in 2013 but today all areas are very much welcoming travelers again – even Tacloban in Leyte, which suffered terribly, has recovered remarkably well. And with new flight routes and expanded fast craft connections, there's no better time to visit this fascinating, underexplored region.