Western Visayas Region is home to lots of beautiful islands.
Western Visayas Region is known as Region 6 and is located literally in the middle of the Philippines. It is made up of lots of islands, all of which are absolutely delightful. It also boasts the Philippines number one travel destination Boracay.
The Western Visayas Region is divided into six provinces
The administrative centre of the Western Visayas Region is Iloilo City which is, you guessed it in Iloilo Province. Traveling to Iloilo City will take you about 55 minutes from the Philippines capital, Manila.
Lets have a closer look at the provinces in the Western Visayas Region or Region 6.
Where is Aklan Province?
Aklan Province is located in the northwestern tip of the island of Panay, it also includes the tourist island of Boracay to the north.
Aklan Province shares its western border with Antique Province and Capiz Province to the southeast.
To the north of Aklan Province is the island province of Romblon and the Sibuyan Sea.
What to do in Aklan?
The main draw card this province has is Boracay Island and without a doubt it is extremely popular with tourists. The fine powdery white sand and pastel blue of the ocean draw tourists from all over the world. For more information on Boracay Island have a look here.
One of the more popular festivals in the Philippines is also found in Aklan’s capital, Kalibo. The festival of the Ati-Atihan. It is a huge street parade and as close to a mardi gras as you will get in the Philippines.
Have a look here for more information on the Ati-Atihan Festival and other festivals in the Philippines.
How do I get here?
Getting yourself to Aklan Province is not really all that difficult. You can either fly from Manila or Cebu or you can come by ferry.
Flights from Manila can take you either to the capital city of Kalibo or to the smaller town of Caticlan. There are five daily flights to Kalibo from Manila and two daily flights to Caticlan. Caticlan is the closest airport to Boracay.
For information on flight to and from Aklan have a look here.
The other way of arriving in Aklan Province is to travel by ferry. Travel time by ferry will take you about 18 hours from Manila. For more information on ferry travel to Aklan and elsewhere in the Philippines have a look here.
Where is Antique Province?
Antique Province lies down the entire western coastline of Panay Island. To the west it faces the northern most part of the Sulu Sea. Antique Province also includes the Caluya Islands which include Semirara Island that stretch out between Panay Island and Mindoro Island to the north west.
Antique Province Philippines, is separated from the other three provinces on Panay by the Cordillera or Mountain Ranges on the east. The borders in the Cordilleras include to the north and north east Aklan Province, to the east is Capiz Province and to the south east is Iloilo Province.
What to do in Antique?
The standout feature of Antique province is the Cordillera range. They produce some beautiful tumbling waterfalls.
The town of Tibiao, about halfway down the west coast of Panay, has some excellent whitewater rafting and kayaking. The Tibiao River starts way up on Panay’s highest mountain, Mt Madiaas and weaves and tumbles its way over waterfalls to the sea.
Trekking through the mountains is also well worth the effort. The views are sensational, overlooking the Sulu Sea, make sure you bring your camera, these views are exceptional.
If you are in Antique toward the end of April, be sure to have a look at the Binirayan Festival. The Binirayan Festival celebrates the first Malayan settlement in the Philippine islands, in the 13th Century. The festival is held in Antiques capital San Jose.
Flying is the quickest and easiest form of transport to get you to Antique Province. Flights leave Manila on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to San Jose in Antique. You can also fly directly to Iloilo City, Kalibo in Aklan Province and Roxas City in Capiz Province. Have look here for flight schedules for the various Philippine domestic airlines.
Buses are available from all over the island linking the towns, if you cannot get a bus you will be able to catch a jeepneyor one of the numerous tricycle always ready to take you wherever you want to go.
Ferries leave Manila to the port of Lipata in the town of Culasi three times a week. The voyage takes about 16 hours. Have a look here for more information on ferry schedules.
Where is Capiz Province?
Capiz Province is in the Western Visayas Region on the island of Panay. It faces the Sibyan Sea to the north as it occupies the northeast side of Panay Island.
It borders Aklan Province and Antique province to the west and has Iloilo Province to the south as a neighbour.
It has one major city, Roxas City which is also the capital of Capiz Province.
What to do in Capiz?
Capiz is well known for mother of pearl shells or Capiz Shells. The Capiz Shells are in demand the world over and are made into decorative items from souvenirs to windows.
The first president of the Philippines, Manuel Acuna Roxas, was born in the provincial capital of Capiz, Roxas City. Be sure to see his historical shrine.
Among Filipinos, Capiz is subject or focus of many Aswang, and other types of mythological ghosts, goblins, ghouls and manananggal and other monster stories.
Capiz is ( unfairly ) rumored to have a number of aswang and covens of witches. Superstitious folk who believe in their existence can still be found in these parts. They typically adorn windows, rooms, etc. with garlic bulbs, holy water, etc. which supposedly repel these creatures.
What is an Aswang? An Aswang (or Aswang) is a ghoul in Filipino folklore. Like ghouls, the Aswang are mainly eaters of the dead. The myth of the aswang is popular in the Western Visayan regions such as Capiz, Iloilo and Antique. The trademark or major feature of Aswangs which distinguish them from other Filipino mythological creatures is their propensity to replace stolen cadavers with the trunk of a banana tree carved in the cadaver's likeness. They are also said to like to eat small children. Their favorite body parts are the liver and heart. Other local names, especially in Capiz are tik-tik and wak-wak.
Numerous caves are also dotted throughout Capiz. The remains of early man have been discovered in these caves and are of important significance to archeologists.
For those of you that love seeing the monuments of the biggest or largest this or that, then Capiz will be of interest. Capiz boasts to have the largest bell in South East Asia.
The bell which weighs nearly 10 ½ tones can be found in the Sta Monica Church.
How do I get to Capiz?
Similar to the other provinces in the Western Visayas flying is the quickest and easiest form of transport to get you to Capiz Province.
Flights leave Manila daily for Roxas City in Capiz. Have look here for flight schedules for the various Philippine domestic airlines.
Buses are available from all over the island linking the towns, if you cannot get a bus you will be able to catch a jeepney or one of the numerous tricycle always ready to take you wherever you want to go.
Ferries leave Manila to the port in Roxas three times a week. The voyage takes about 16 ½ hours. Have a look here for more information on ferry schedules.
Where is Guimaras Province?
Guimaras is an island province of the Philippines, located in the Western Visayas region.
Among the smallest provinces, its capital is Jordan. The island is located in the Panay Gulf, between the islands of Panay and Negros. To the northwest is the province of Iloilo and to the southeast is Negros Occidental.
Guimaras was a sub-province of Iloilo until it was made an independent province on May 11, 1992.
What to do in Guimaras?
Guimaras is well-known for its agricultural crops, particularly mangoes, where some 50,000 of these trees are planted
The Guimaras Island is famous for producing the sweetest mangoes in the world. Guimaras mangos are reportedly served at the White House!
Guimaras' largest event of the year is the Mango Festival, Manggahan Festival. It is held annually on the 22nd May, lasting a full week. It not only celebrates there world famous mango but also Guimaras Province anniversary.
Guimaras, being an island province also has all the bays, beaches and unspoiled coves you could dream of. There are some good resorts on some of the smaller islands in the Guimaras Strait.
How do I get to Guimaras Island?
There are no direct flights from Manila to Guimaras Island. You can fly to Iloilo, which is the main stepping stone to get you to Guimaras.
From Ortiz Wharf in Iloilo, ferries or banccas will take you across to the provincial capital of Guimaras, Jordan.
Once on the island you can et around by jeepney or tricycle of which there are plenty.
Where is Iloilo Province?
Iloilo Province is located at the southeastern portion of Panay Island. The provincial capital is Iloilo City.
To the north Iloilo Province shares its border with Capiz Province and to the west with Antique Province.
Off the southeast coast, lies the only island province in Western Visayas Region, Guimaras. The Panay Gulf and Guimaras Strait also separates Iloilo Province from Negros Occidental.
What to do in Iloilo?
Iloilo City is a bit like a gateway into the rest of the Visayas. It is centrally located and easy to access the rest of the islands that are spread around the region.
There are some fantastic beaches you can explore, especially around the town of Concepcion in the northern part of Iloilo Province. Also off the coast of Concepcion are some beautiful palm fringed islands.
There are some old Spanish Churches that are well worth a look, even if you are not fond of Churches themselves the period architecture is still very impressive. One not to miss is the Miag-ao Church in the town of Miagao, which is about 40 km south west of Iloilo City.
In Iloilo City itself is the Fort San Pedro. Fort San Pedro is a Military defense structure, built for Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legaspi and the Spanish Government and is located in the Pier area.
It is the oldest, smallest and well preserved colonial fort in the Philippines, which was first constructed of log and earth in 1565 to repel the violent sieges from Muslim pirates in the area. The fort was then developed , upgraded and constructed by hard stone, which made the surrounding walls stronger and tougher. It stretches 8 metres thick with high walls of 20 metres and a front entrance towering 30 metres high, which was finally finished in 1738, after many years of refurbishing and developments.
How do I get to Iloilo?
Iloilo City is only about 55 minutes by plane from Manila. Flying in from Cebu will take about a half hour and one and a half hours from Puerto Princesa on Palawan. For flight information and domestic airlines have a look here.
Traveling by ferry will take you up to 20 hours from Manila, so if you are short of time this option may not be for you. Have a look here for ferries to and from Iloilo City.
Land based travel is available throughout the Province of Iloilo and the rest of Panay Island, the usual buses, jeepneys and tricycles to get you to where you want to go.
Negros Occidental Province
Where is Negros Occidental Province
Negros Occidental is located on the north western half of the Island of Negros. The island of Negros is the fourth largest island in the Philippines and is wedged between the Islands of Panay and Cebu.
To the south of Negros Occidental is the Sulu Sea and to the north is the Visayan Sea. To the northwest of the province lies the island of Panay and the province of Iloilo and is separated from there by the Guimaras Strait and the island province of Guimaras.
The eastern half of the island of Negros is the province of Negro Oriental. Negros oriental is in the Central Visayas Region, Region 7. < The city of Bacolod is the provincial capital of Negros Occidental.
What to do in Negros Oriental?
Negros Occidental is the sugar capital of the Philippines. The terrain in the north and west of the province is generally flat plains, ideal for sugar cane.
The entire western coastline boasts beautiful beaches and gorgeous offshore islands and real treat for those wanting to get off the beaten track.
The highest mountain in Negros is Mount Kanlaon which is a volcano. The area is known as the Mt Kanlaon National Park and is a favourite of trekkers. The flora and fauna in the national park is teeming and the views are spectacular. At the summit are two craters, one an old dormant one and the other a smaller but active crater.
How do I get to Negros Occidental?
Flights form Manila to Bacolod City take about 55 minutes. From Cebu City the flying time is about 30 minutes. For flight information and domestic airlines have a look here.
If you elect to travel by sea ensure you have plenty of time up your sleeve as the voyage will take you around 18 hours from Manila.
From Iloilo City it will only take about one hour and more than seen hours from Cebu.
Land travel is pretty straight forward, as it is throughout the Philippines. Numerous busses, jeepneys and tricycles ply the roadways interconnecting the towns throughout Negros Occidental and the entire island of Negros.