the beautiful islands and beaches of the Visayas - without the
hassles of getting lost!
to plan your routes around the islands and cities of the area
such as Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Siquijor and
About Visayas Philippines
According to Visayan folk traditions, the Visayas were populated by
Malays migrating from Borneo to Mindanao and to the Visayas, while other
Malays crossed to Palawan through Sabah. Other Malays were suggested to
have crossed from Samar island to the Bicol region in Luzon. The theory
suggests that those ancient tribal groups who passed through Palawan may
have migrated to what is now the island of Luzon.
A supplementary theory was that at that period, the Malay people were
moving north from Mindanao to the Visayas and to Luzon. Various groups
of Europeans and Chinese also integrated with the native population
during that period.
The group of islands includes Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Masbate, Negros,
Panay, Samar, and hundreds of smaller islands. Samar and Leyte, on the
east, act as buffers, protecting the other islands from storms and
giving them a mild, Mediterranean-type climate that permits intensive
cultivation. The coastal plains of Samar and Leyte are densely
populated. Cebu, Negros, and Panay are the commercial heart of the
Visayan Islands. Cebu city is one of the region's trade, transportation,
industrial, and cultural centers.
It was in Cebu that Magellan planted the Cross making it the first
Christian settlement in the country. But it was also in Cebu that the
early Filipinos put up their first heroic resistance to Spanish
colonization. Led by Lapu-Lapu, the courageous chieftain of Mactan, the
Filipino warriors repulsed the advance of the Spaniards and took the
life of Magellan. But freedom for the Philippines would be short lived
because after 44 years the foreign colonists, driven by their lust for
gold and exotic spices of the East, would return with a vengeance. On
April 27, 1565, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in Cebu to reestablish an
oppressive Spanish dominion over much of the country that would last for
the next three hundred years.
Under Spanish rule, Cebu became the country’s first city—ahead of Manila
by seven years. As such, many of its attractions, structures and
institutions would necessarily have the distinction of being the oldest
in the country. The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in downtown Cebu is
the oldest church; Fort San Pedro, the oldest yet smallest fort; San
Carlos University, the oldest school; and, Colon Street, the oldest
avenue in the country.