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Visayas

The Visayas, is one of the three principal geographical divisions of the Philippines, along with Mindanao and Luzon. It consists of several islands, primarily surrounding the Visayan Sea, although the Visayas are considered the northeast extremity of the entire Sulu Sea. Residents are known as the Visayans. The major islands of the Visayas are Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, and Samar. The region may also include the islands of Romblon and Masbate, whose population identify as Visayan. There are three administrative regions in the Visayas: Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas.

History
The early people in the Visayas region were Austronesians and Negritos who migrated to the islands about 6,000 to 30,000 years ago. These early settlers were animist tribal groups. In the 12th century, settlers from the collapsing empires of Srivijaya, Majapahit and Brunei, led by the chieftain Datu Puti and his tribes, settled in the island of Panay and its surrounding islands. By the 14th century, Arab traders and their followers, venturing into Maritime Southeast Asia, converted some of these tribal groups to Islam. These tribes practiced a mixture of Islam and Animism beliefs. There is evidence of trade among other Asian people. The Visayans were thought to have kept close diplomatic relations with Malaysia and Indonesian kingdoms since the tribal groups of Cebu were able to converse with Enrique of Malacca using the Malay language when the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in 1521.

Language
Visayans refer to their respective languages as Binisaya or Bisaya. The table below lists the Philippine languages classified as Visayan by the Summer Institute of Linguistics. Although all of the languages indicated below are taxonomically classified as Visayan, not all speakers identify themselves as ethnically Visayan. The Tausug, a Moro ethnic group, only use Bisaya to refer to the predominantly Christian lowland natives of which Visayans are widely considered to belong to. This is a similar case to the Ati to delineate ethnic Visayans from fellow Negritos.

Religion
According to a survey made in 2000, majority or 86.53% of the population of Western Visayas were Roman Catholics. Aglipayan (4.01%) and Evangelicals (1.48%), followed, while 7.71% belonged to other religious affiliations. According to the same survey, 92% of the household population in Central Visayas were Roman Catholics. This was followed by Aglipayans (2%) and Evangelicals (1%). The remaining 5% belonged to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Iglesia ni Cristo or other denominations. For Eastern Visayas, majority of the total household population in were Roman Catholics. More than 93% of the total household population were from the aforementioned followed by Aglipayan (2%) and Evangelicals (1%). The remaining 15% were in Iglesia ni Cristo, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Islam and other religions.

Culture
Visayans are known in the Philippines for their festivities such as the Ati-atihan, Dinagyang, Pintados-Kasadyaan, Sangyaw, Sinulog festivals. Most Visayan festivals have a strong association with Roman Catholicism despite apparent integration of ancient Hindu-Buddhist-Animist folklore particularly the tradition of dances and the idols in the image of the Child Jesus commonly named as the Santo Niño. The oldest Catholic religious image in the islands still existing today is the Santo Niño de Cebú. Meanwhile, the Sandugo Festival of Tagbilaran, Bohol is a celebration of one of the most significant parts of pre-Philippine history. This festival revolves around the theme of the reenactment of the blood compact between the island's chieftain, Datu Sikatuna, and the Spanish explorer, Miguel López de Legazpi, which is known among Filipinos as the Sandugo. The arrival of the ten Bornean datus as mentioned in the legend of Maragtas is celebrated in Binirayan Festival in Antique. The MassKara Festival of Bacolod, Negros Occidental explores more on the distinct cultural identity of the city. Since Bacolod is tagged as the City of Smiles due to its fun-loving and enduring people, the city government inaugurated the festival in 1980.


Bohol

Background

Bohol is a first class island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region, consisting of Bohol Island and 75 minor surrounding islands. Its capital is Tagbilaran City. With a land area of 4,117.26 square kilometres (1,589.68 sq mi) and a coastline 261 kilometres (162 mi) long, Bohol is the tenth largest island of the Philippines. To the west of Bohol is Cebu, to the northeast is the island of Leyte and to the south, across the Bohol Sea is Mindanao.

The province is a popular tourist destination with its beaches and resorts. The Chocolate Hills, numerous mounds of limestone formation, is the most popular attraction. Panglao Island, located just southwest of Tagbilaran City, is famous for its diving locations and routinely listed as one of the top ten diving locations in the world. Numerous tourist resorts dot the southern beaches and cater to divers from around the world. The Philippine Tarsier, considered the second-smallest primate in the world, is indigenous to the island. Boholanos refer to their island homeland as the "Republic of Bohol" with both conviction and pride. A narrow strait separates the island of Cebu and Bohol and both share a common language, but the Boholanos retain a conscious distinction from the Cebuanos. Bohol's climate is generally dry, with maximum rainfall between the months of June and October. The interior is cooler than the coast. It is the home province of Carlos P. Garcia, the eighth president of the Republic of the Philippines (1957–1961) who was born in Talibon, Bohol.

 

History
Bohol was first settled by Australoid people, like the rest of the Philippines. They still inhabit the island today and are known as the Eskaya tribe, their population also was absorbed into the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian peoples who later settled the islands and form the majority of the population. The Austronesian people living on Bohol traded with other islands in the Philippines and as far as China and Borneo. The people of Bohol are said to be the descendants of a group of inhabitants who settled in the Philippines called pintados or "tattooed ones." Boholanos already had a culture of their own as evidenced by the artifacts dug at Mansasa, Tagbilaran, and in Dauis and Panglao. Bohol is derived from the word Bo-ho or Bo-ol. The island was the seat of the first international treaty of peace and unity between the native king Datu Sikatuna, and Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi, on March 16, 1565 through a blood compact alliance known today by many Filipinos as the Sandugo.

  Tourist Spots

The Tarsier
The Tarsier is considered as the world’s smallest primate. It measures 4 to 5 inches in height and weigh only about 113 to 142 grams, fits perctly on the palm of your hand.

The Loboc River Cruise
Cruise along the Loboc River via motor boats (outrigger canoes) and marvel on the rich diversity of its surroundings while feasting on delicious local cuisines.

Panglao Island
Panglao is an island off the southern part of Bohol. The island has a terrain that range from plain to hilly and mountainous. This paradise island beach boasts crystal blue waters and white sand beach that can surpass some of the world’s famous beaches.

Baclayon Church
Baclayon Church today is officially known as the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Some parts of the church used to have various interesting religious relics and artifacts but most of which are now placed at the Baclayon Museum.

Blood Compact Site
The Bohol Blood Compact Site is located in Tagbilaran City. This landmark was made to commemorate the friendship forged between the Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and Chieftain of Bohol Datu Sikatuna.

The Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills is a popular land formation and one of the main attractions in the province of Bohol. These hills turn into chocolate-kisses-like view in summer, hence its name, and lush green hills during the rainy season.

Bohol Museum
The Bohol Museum is former President Carlos Polestico Garcia's home. It houses the personal memorabilia of the late president. The other displays at the museum explains the evolution of the Bohol Island, it’s rock foundation, animals and their ways, plant Life, potency, people, arts & crafts, food, and its culture.

Bilar
Gateway to Bilar & Rajah Sikatuna National Park.

Dauis
Historic Church with lovely seaside setting, pilgrimage site, and venue for heritage-themed dinners, exhibits, tours, cafe, craft shop featuring local jewelry.

Corella
The best place in the Philippines to spot a tarsier in the wild.

Carmen
Launching point for tours of the Chocolate Hills.

Tagbilaran
Capital of Bohol and the main point of entry to the island, including nearby Panglao Island.