The Visayas roundup

Three regions, 6 major islands, 16 provinces, countless islets, diverse peoples and cultures, treasured and timeless heritage, unlimited adventures, a myriad of nature's pageantry and spectacle--one can just put motherhood words about the Visayas group of islands, but no amount of words can truly describe its beauty. Be that as it may, 29 Pinoy Travel Bloggers has put up something for travel junkies out there, and we hope to capture even just a glimpse of what to see, taste and feel in the islands.

In this blog, Pinoy travelers have an array of reasons and motives why they set out their foot on a destination and going for a second serving. Some find love and fall in love, get mesmerized, rejuvenated, enthralled by the adventures, and simply get awed.

The Pinoy Travel Bloggers (PTB) is proud to bring you to the different parts of the Visayas and allow you to savor their experience as they trot, dive, swim and climb around the islands.

For the sheer love of it

See it with a naked eye. No one would possibly argue with the fact that Bohol is a paradise--an island province that has a lot to offer in terms of culture, adventure, and nature. One can soak under the sun in the beaches of Dumaluan and Virgin islands, play with the fishes and get excited with the sight of dolphins in Balicasag Island, get awed by the wonder of nature that is the Chocolate Hills in Sagbayan or Carmen, or soak your tired feet in the cool waters of Mag-aso falls, but nothing compares to its kind and friendly people.

Beyond this nature's spectacle, Pang Seguban of My Backpack Diaries saw and experienced  Bohol in a different light. She says, "Simply because the beauty of Bohol was not only seen by my naked eyes but was also felt by my heart."

Home is where the heart is
. Francis Balgos of Pala-lagaw simply takes pride in the city of his childhood--Roxas City, the birthplace of Philippine President Manuel Roxas, and dubbed as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines. In his blog, Francis spends some time reminiscing about his childhood when summer vacations were spent over rice paddies or fishing. Roxas City is pretty much laid back and simple despite the surge in urbanization and still managed to bag the recognition as the Cleanest and Greenest component city in Western Visayas. When visiting Roxas City, one should not forget the iconic Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral. It is al jump-off point, as well, to the interesting travel destinations in the nearby towns like as the Santa Monica Parochial Church in Panay town that houses the "Dakong Linganay" or Big Bell, which is the biggest church bell in Asia. Francis mentions further these travel destinations in Capiz and whether or not there is aswang in Capiz, find out at Pala-lagaw.

Love and its benefits.
B, Bora, or Boracay as what locals simply prefer it to be called is a beachcombers’ mecca—that setting foot on its fine sand beaches and pristine emerald waters are akin to conquering the world. Why not? It still remains to one of the best beaches in the world—giving the best of the modern-day amenities and the old-world feel.

For many, Boracay is an icon. For some, it is a cliché, but for Paula of Pondering Paodaolei, Boracay is love, as she aptly quips:

I always yearn for her cool shoreline, her misty winds, her calm waters and that fairy-tale feel I indulge in at dusk.  When the sun sets just beyond the horizon, slowly dipping into the waters below, my senses are hypnotized, making me stand still for a moment or so. I am magnanimously enthralled at how Mother Nature capitulates every thing I am. Sweet, romantic, passionate and always in-love.

Fun! Fun! Fun! Likewise, Darwin Miranda Cayetano was smitten with the adventures and Boracay has to offer. However, it would have been incomplete without a good company. It was simply a fun-filled trip together with other Pinoy Travel Bloggers.

A perfect sanctuary. While he gets lost in translation, Ian of Limbonisan finds his future home in Cebu province simply because he loved the people, the simple and rustic life. In Cebu, he finds endless possibilities of enjoying the perfect blend of urban living and exploring nature like soaking in the blue waters of Bantayan Island, Camotes Island.

Of sand and Sandy. Marky of Nomadic Experiences raves about his 5-star P400 peso accommodation spending with the sand and Sandy, a quiet time in the beach, people watching and waiting for the sun to set. Experiencing picture-perfect Malapascua with its blue waters and powdery white sand beaches would be perfect of course, when shared with someone special to your heart. Marky did not mince words. For him, it was one for the books. Malapascua is not just about the sun, sand and the sea. It was special.

Photo by Francis Balgos of Pala-lagaw
Being there first. No one has told about Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort, and with this, Cris of Pinay Thrillseeker is proud to have written about it. Away from the madding crowd of the Bantayan Island's main tourist area, the resort made her Bantayan Island sojourn a more meaningful one as she basked in solace and tranquillity. She hopes, though, that this peace and solace would not be spoiled in the coming years.

Cheers to that! What could be more special than spending a wedding anniversary or any special occasion in a beautiful island like Camotes Islands? Earl of Suroy Pilipinas and his wife did just that on the occasion of their 5th wedding anniversary. Both travel junkies, the couple was simply captivated with this quaint and seemingly obscure island paradise.

The breathtaking view of the wide, white sand beach of Santiago Bay, the habal-habal tour to San Francisco's destinations like the Mangodlong Rock Resort, Danao Lake, Bakhaw Beach and Timubo Cave are forever etched in their memories. Oops, did I mention the delicious seafood they had?

Spending some time in the islands would be boring if one is not able to see what lies beneath those azure waters. Sarah Grace of Wandering Potpot suggests one should learn how to dive especially if one goes to a beautiful Island like Malapascua where one can swim with thresher sharks—if you are already an experienced diver. Be that as it may, Sarah was over delighted and smitten at the color and life underwater. Her first dive has brought her nothing but the passion that she vows to return to cavort with Malapascua—perhaps, this time she can swim with the thresher sharks? 

Exploring history, culture, and heritage
If one is not soaking into nature and adventure, one can indulge in many historical and cultural destinations in the Visayas.

Starting off with Cebu, which is synonymous to our hero Lapu-lapu and the Battle of Mactan, one can find interesting places in the city alone. It is easy to find a cheap Cebu hotel last minute if you fall in love with this place while driving through. You. One can find the Sto. Nino Shrine, Magellan’s cross, and the historic Fort Pilar. However, it is worth taking the extra mile by going south of Cebu City where one can truly appreciate Cebu’s history, culture, and heritage.

Jeffrey Rilles of Travelling Morion recalls his frequent visits to Oslob in between work (or was it work in between sight-seeing?). While it has become famous lately for its pristine beaches see and the place where one can feed whale sharks (which is actually an issue to this day), Oslob is also defined by its historical value. It has a Heritage Park, Spanish Colonial Era Church, a century-old watchtower ruins, Cuartel, that is preserved by the people and government of Oslob.

Photo by Jeffrey Rilles of Travelling Morion

Glenn Martinez of Traveller on Foot, likewise, brings us further from the town of Oslob towards the north in the towns of Carcar, Argao, Dalaguete, and Boljoon. These five towns have something in common: watchtowers, forts and stonewalls, and turn of the century architecture. The fortification of these towns is ascribed to Fray Julian Bermejo who designed the defense system of this adjacent against marauders back in the day.

Other provinces have their own story written in the annals of their history and embedded in their culture and heritage. For one, Siquijor is also teeming with preserved heritage sites like the Lazi town’s convent and church that to Langyaw’s Estan Cabigas’ words: “massive, immense, and delightfully beautiful.”

Silay City in Negros Occidental is also home to culture and heritage in this part of the Visayas.

Teeming with ancestral houses preserved to their former glory by the heirs like Ramon Hofileña of the Manuel Severino Hofileña clan. The Hofileña house is home to arts and culture with its extensive collection of paintings, sculpture, and prints from famous artists like Manansala, Luna, Hidalgo, Ben Cab, and Hechanova as well from local artists. Ruby Batallones of “See. Here. Explore.” will bring us there highlighting her interaction with the gregarious Ramon Hofileña, who is more than willing to entertain guests. Certainly, her visit to Silay city turned into an engaging lesson on Silay’s art and culture.

If one cannot have enough of history in one place, try island hopping. Mhe-Anne Ojeda of My Comings and Goings followed the footsteps of our national hero Jose Rizal in Iloilo, Dumaguete, and Cebu, that completed her “Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 Passport Heritage Trail” last May 17 - 21, 2012 and finished at No. 65. Not bad, huh! What to see in these cities, and where our national hero had walked on, take that step with her in these cities, and join her in her side trips as well!

One can forget the dusty roads on board a jeep or the first habal-habal experience, but no one can deny, a travel is not complete without the gastronomic experience.

For the entree, Mhe-Anne can’t simply resist San Carlos City’s crispy pata (fried pig’s knuckles). If you are into exotic delicacies, join Grasya Bangoy as she treats you to a meal consisting of sea urchin and frog!

Sta. Margarita, Samar is home to the crabs. In fact, they even have an Alimango Festival that goes with it. Kara Santos of Travel Up takes us with her to feast (literally) on crabs in their various forms and tastes, that for her, the “festival was just too deliciously fun to pass up.”
Have a taste of steamed crab bathed in vinegar, crab fuyong, kalderetang alimango, ginataang alimango, and inutok. One thing that Kara reminds us all: “Eat moderately!”

For dessert, Dumaguete is home to the fried ice cream and famous sans rival. Or give in to your craving of the famous mudpie of Calea in Bacolod City. If you are in Bohol, make sure not to get choked in their famous calamay.  One one hand, Micaela Rodriguez believes that Guimaras is the land of the best mangoes!

For some light snack, Shawi Cortez shows us how to eat puto and cocoa--Dumaguete style.

And perhaps, before or after a meal, you can try their famous cocktail drink. And yes, that "Bahalina" experience is one for the books, too! Make sure your stomach is full before you are “nahalina” (seduced) by the Bahalina! The kinilaw, inihaw (sinugba) would be a good partner to the bahalina.

Photo by Reiza Dejito of Wander of you must

A road less traveled

If one is done with the famous destinations in the Visayas, wait till you find other places worth seeing.

Dennis Dolojan of Love Mindanao takes us to Bojo River, an eco-tourism site in the town of Aloguinsan, just 59 km west of Cebu City. In this site, one can have a great experience of a well-preserved ecosystem. One can get a good lesson on identifying mangrove species by the boat women who serve as tour guides as well. This paradise is host to a number of bird species like the Philippine bulbul, as well as a breeding ground for various fishes. Out into the sea, it offers a beautiful vista of cliffs and rock formations. Back in the community, one can witness how buri mats are woven into pieces of artwork.

In Iloilo, Nik Rielo of Pinoy on the Road has braved the more than 1-hour difficult trek to see an underground waterfall in the remote Barangay Igtuble in the town of Tubungan. He reached the place by riding a motorbike and hiking. Giving up was foreboding but all he wanted was to see the underground waterfalls. With great perseverance and patience, and despite the danger, he went on until he finally conquered his mission.

Canlaon City is never on a bucket list of any traveler. However, Reiza Dejito of Wander if you must, entices one to include mist-covered mountain city as one of your destinations. Home to the active Mt. Kanlaon, it offers adventures like hiking up to Mt. Kanlaon’s peak, visiting OISCA Farm, or have an adventure at Padudusan falls, and a whole lot more!

Cebu City may be urbanizing so fast, but unknown to many it also offers one real outdoor adventure--that is river trekking in Masaba River, Sitio Masaba, Barangay Tagba-o. If you are into adrenaline-pumping activities, join Nikka and her companions pass through shallow streams, climb boulders, and ford rapids.  The 45-minute one-way river trek was not at all easy, but it was rewarding in the end. Nikka Corsino advises that if anyone tries this, one should have trained guides, don appropriate trekking and hiking gears, and do it in summer.

Traveling is a matter of style. Shawie of Cheap Travel for Women shies away from a to-do list when she travels. She may have been to the similar and popular place but does the opposite. She relishes on her cultural immersion experience—conversing with people and knowing a bit of their stuff. In her blog, recounts how she enjoyed Dumaguete sans the usual touristy talk.

Like Shawi, Grasya Bangoy of This Grasya on the road less traveled likes to find out the uniqueness of one place. Having stayed longer in Antique and Bohol, she could not help but draw some form of parallelism. In the end, she decides both have their innate charm, but nonetheless distinguishes their eccentric qualities, which makes her travel experience more worthwhile. Find out what are her favorites among favorite destinations in the Visayas.

While the limelight of tourism industry is focused on the certain part of the Visayas, equally interesting places of interest can also be found in Eastern Visayas. Join Ephraim Arriesgado of The AdventistAdventurer as he gives us an overview of the Undiscovered Paradise that is Biliran, be enthralled with the historic Leyte. Seemingly obscure, Southern Leyte, is also endowed with natural beauty aside from the fact that it is home to historic Limasawa Island.

Photo by Mervin of Pinoy Adventurista

And the list goes on
Some travelers are lucky enough to roam around the Visayas, and they are just as excited to share what you might want to see and experience, too!

True to his blog's name, Mervin of Pinoy Adventurista who has visited 77 of the 80 provinces of the Philippines, suggests 10 adrenaline-packed adventures in the Visayas. For someone who has visited a lot and has done a lot of adventures in his travels, no one can stop him to ride more zip-lines, climb peaks, cross rivers, and islands to explore.

Renz Bulseco of The Travelling Nomad has visited Iloilo, Boracay, Cebu, and Siquijor. Find out how he ended up in Brgy. Random, how he chased sunsets in Boracay, how he enjoyed the pristine waters and white sand beaches of Bantayan and Malapascua Islands and Salagdoong beach in Siquijor. If you like mountaineering, he suggests that one should try scaling up Osmeña Peak. His Visayan trail may be limited for now, but that does not mean he will stop exploring these magical islands.

When in Bacolod during the Masskara festival, Aleah of Solitary Wanderer suggests that one might as well enjoy the other equally interesting things to do around and near Bacolod City. She recommends a trip to the ancestral houses of Jalandoni and Gaston in Silay City, or perhaps have a coffee or cold drink in The Ruins, in Talisay City, or indulge in seafood delicacies in Old Pala-pala, and cap it off with Calea’s mudpie.

Photo by Mai Flores of Budget Byahera

Mai Flores of Budget Byahera, had a surgical trip to Cebu and Bohol. It took them 5 days to do everything. If you are new to Cebu and Bohol, you might as well follow their list. From Cebu to Bohol or vice versa, you can ride the fast craft boat that plies the cities of Cebu and Tagbilaran.

Having conquered all the provinces in the Visayas, Micaela of enthusiastically recounts her colorful travels with his family, friends and fellow travel bloggers. She has done a beach bonding with his family in Boracay, meet-up with bloggers in Cebu, attending a cheerful Masskara festival, visiting the heritage sites of Iloilo, or getting inspiration in Guimaras, partying in Bohol’s Alona beach, and that adventurous road trip in Siquijor Island.

Traveling across the Visayas can prove to be difficult especially if one is not accustomed to transfers from plane to vans or jeeps or buses, to boats. Sometimes, it can be nerve-wracking, physically exhausting and nauseating (literally). Eileen Campos of Possibly Pinay just had that while traversing the provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental (Dumaguete City), and Siquijor. It was a butt-numbing and back-breaking long haul. Did I hear her rant? Wait till she tastes that sans rival of Dumaguete and indulges in a massage in Siquijor, and she promises to write more about her Visayas journey. We hope to read more of her posts soon!

Traveling in the Visayas--seeing places, meeting people, learning cultures, revisiting history, appreciating the heritage, doing outrageous and silly activities and immersing with communities, can be truly a rewarding experience. And we are just proud--not that we have conquered places--but we have overcome and allayed fears, erased stereotypes, and simply learned a little bit more than just reading textbooks in Sibika and Kultura.

If you plan to travel to the Visayas, soon, this interactive map to see other travel destinations in the Visayas. Click on the blue markers, that will provide to the related stories under this blog carnival. Please feel free to browse.

So what are you waiting for? Book cheap flights now to your chosen destination.

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Aside from my day job, I love photography and storytelling. Going places--be it a cliche destination or the far side of the road--stoke and free my soul. I dig deeper into the people’s psyche, culture and ethnicity, and heritage. I love to observe how they thrive and build social institutions, preserve their culture and traditions.


Adelle said...

im a new follower of your blog and i am so looking forward to seeing the best of visayas!

Admin/Author said...

Thank you Adelle!

Budget Biyahera said...

Yehey! Super awesome compilation Ding -- given the time constraints! Happy Travels to ya.. enjoy your Visayas trip, which is so timely to this month's Blog Carnival!! *clap Clap*

Admin/Author said...

thanks, Mai! thanks din for participating!

darwin | tracking treasure said...

wow! iba yung atake mo sa blog carnival ngayon..Nice one Ding! nakakahilo yan kasi ang daming sumali:)

Admin/Author said...

Thanks, darwin. it was a both a challenge and pleasure compiling all these blogs into one piece.

Pinay Thrillseeker said...

Yey! Love Visayas! Congrats po! ^_^

Traveling Morion said...

Ang galing sir Ding!proud to be part of this carnival:)

Unknown said...

kudos! Good round up of interesting places in Visayas.

doi | the travelling feet said...

wow! ang galing. nice compilation Sir Ding. I am happy and proud to live on one of those islands in the Visayas Region. Viva Visayas! =)

RM Bulseco said...

Hi Ding, It's Renz not [Rens]. Haha overall I enjoyed reading this. :) Great compiation, and kudos for hosting this month's carnival!

Pang Seguban Tejones said...

Wow Ding, this is a very awesome way to sum it all up. This is a good read and is made more interesting with the way you represented everyone's entry. I know it must have taken so much of your time, thanks. :)

Aleah | said...

Bilis paggawa mo. This will be a definitive list indeed of things to do in the Visayas! Thanks for the great compilation!

grasya said...

galing galing Ding! ^_^ i love the map ^_^

shawi | Cheap Travel for Women said...

Well done Ding! ang sipag :)

Eileen Campos/ Possibly Pinay said...

Congratulations Ding! Thank you for bearing with all of us! It's a wonderful compilation - will go through all the entries at once!
*standing O*

Unknown said...

The best of Visayas indeed in one kick-ass compilation. Another must-read Blog Carnival edition. Great job Ding.

Earl (Suroy Pilipinas) said...

Wow! Ang daming entries, and you did an awesome job with this compilation. It covered almost the whole of Visayas! Congrats Sir Ding and thanks for including my entry. Cheers!

Lynne islandgirltraveller said...

I am from Sibuyan and just love our part of the country. I am travelling now and this post gives me plenty of new ideas of where to go visit. Thankyou

Kara / Travel Up said...

Good work on the blog carnival compilation. I know firsthand how difficult it can be to tie everything together. This'll be a great resource for planning trips in the Visayas region. Will check out the individual posts! :)

Unknown said...

In fairness Ding andaming places to visit! Ganda talaga ng Pinas! :-)

Micamyx|Senyorita said...

Nice compilation! I saw that photo of Mervz again. Hindi pa ako nakakapag-Antique waaah

MheAnne said...

Great job Ding!!wonderful compilation and super fast in making it live after the deadline - kahit na on travel ka! Simply love it. I will go through all the links in awhile. (P.S. minor correction pala - guess you missed the word "hero" after national in the snippet for my entry.parequest din to add an e on my name - Mhe-anne which was mentioned twice. Thanks much!)

Admin/Author said...

Thanks for the comments, guys! Thank you for joining this month's carnival!

RenZ, and Mhe-Anne, done. Thanks!

Pinoy Adventurista said...

Good job! Congrats Ding! :)

Ruby Batallones said...

Great compilation! I must have that kawa bath!

fbalgos said...

Great compilation! sharing this to my Kasimanwa's! :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...

Awesome compilation! Can't wait to go back to Visayas. So much to explore.

Unknown said...

Great tracks and clicks?

Can't wait to go there too! ahhhh. :'D

you might wanna check some new finds too: