Central Visayas, also known as Region 7 is strategically located in the central part of the Philippine archipelago.
Central Visayas used to be composed of the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental and Siquijor. Last 29 May 2015, President Benigno S. Aquino signed Executive Order No. 183 creating a new Negros Island Region (NIR) that separated Negros Oriental from Central Visayas to join with Negros Occidental in the newly created region.
Central Visayas (minus Negros Oriental) has a total land area of 10,500 square kilometers and a population of 3,964,556 as of CY 2010.
Central Visayas is the only region in the Philippines that is composed of three separate island provinces.
A.) Bohol Province (www.bohol.gov.ph)
Bohol Province is a first class province with a land area of 4,821 square kilometers and a population of 1,255,128 in CY 2010. In CY 2015, its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share from the national government was around P 1.412 Billion or US $ 31.4 Million (1US$=45PhP).
The Province has one component city, Tagbilaran City and forty-seven municipalities. Bohol Province is rich in both agricultural and marine products the reason why it is called the food basket of Central Visayas.
Bohol Province is a world-class tourist destination that offers varied attractions to visitors – from beautiful white sandy beaches to chocolate-colored rare geological formation of more than a thousand hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers. This phenomenon is appropriately called Chocolate Hills that draws thousands of visitors from around the globe every year.
Bohol is also home to centuries-old churches, especially the Baclayon Church which is said to be the country’s oldest church. Rehabilitation efforts are ongoing after its destruction during the 2013 magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Bohol also lays claim to be the only natural habitat of the world’s smallest monkey, the Tarsier (haplorrine primates of Tarsiidae family).
In CY 2015, the government reported that around 450 thousand tourists (foreign and domestic) visited the province. (The figure is still being validated – Webmaster).
The P 7 billion ongoing Panglao International Airport will make Bohol Province directly accessible by tourists from other countries when it starts operation either late in CY 2017 or early in CY 2018. The Province has an existing Tagbilaran domestic airport with limited flight connections to selected destinations in the country.
Different sea ports in Bohol Province currently serve fast craft vessels and a number of bigger tonnage passenger and cargo ships that ply within Philippine islands. The fast craft vessels mostly serve the Cebu – Bohol – Cebu route.
B.) Cebu Province (www.cebu.gov.ph)
Cebu Province is also a first class province with a land area of 5,342 square kilometers and a population of 2,619,362 as of CY 2010. For CY 2015, its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share from the national government amounted to P 2.302 Billion or US$ 51.156 Million (1US$=45PhP).
Cebu Province has three highly urbanized cities (Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu), six component cities and forty-four municipalities. Cebu is a highly industrialized province with different large-scale economic activities such as manufacturiing, ICT/BPM, services and tourism, among others, existing in the island that aside from generating billion pesos of revenues for the province also provide jobs/employment to thousands of workers some of whom come from nearby provinces.
Cebu province is also culturally and historically rich that it owns the honor of being the country’s first bastion of democracy when the country’s first hero, Chieftain Lapulapu and his warriors gallantly repulsed the Spanish conquerors led by Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in April 27, 1521 resulting in the latter’s death in nearby Mactan Island.
As its neighboring Bohol Province, the island of Cebu is also gifted with various interesting destinations that attract foreign and local visitors alike such as its its historical sites Fort San Pedro, Basilica Del Sto. Niňo, Mactan Shrine and the country’s oldest street, the Colon St. in downtown Cebu City. World-class beach resorts and theme parks can also be found around Cebu Province.
Cebu City is host of the world-famous Sinulog Festival celebrated every January in honor of the Holy Infant Sr. Sto. Niňo. Only last year, three Cebu Cities were chosen as part of APEC Summit ministerial meetings venues and early this year as host of the Catholic-church led 51st International Eucharistic Congress.
In CY 2015, 3.3 million foreign and domestic tourists visited the province per government record.
Through its Mactan International airport, Cebu is easily accessible from various points around the globe. It is currently undergoing expansion works to accommodate increasing traffic through a P 32 Billion Private-Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the GMR – Megawide Consortium and the Philippine government through the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). The project is expected to be completed in early part of CY 2018.
Cebu Province also hosts the country’s second busiest seaport after Manila, the country’s capital. Cebu Port Authority reported that in CY 2014 there were a total of 8.3 million disembarking passengers and 8.03 embarking passengers through Cebu ports. Meanwhile, there were 107 thousand domestic and 1 foreign ships that docked in Cebu ports last year.
C.) Siquijor Province (www.siquijor.gov.ph)
Siquijor Province is a fifth class province with a land area of 338 square kilometers and a population of 91,066 in CY 2010. Siquijor is the third smallest province of the Philippines. For CY 2015, its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share from the national government amounted to P 369.33 Million or US$ 8.21 Million (1US$=45PhP).
Siquijor Province, which is composed of six municipalities has no component city. The municipality of Siquijor serves as the capital town of the province.
The Province of Siquijor is a perfect retiree’s haven due to continued preservation of its natural resources that social and environmental pressures commonly found in urbanizing areas are absolutely absent here. Due to its largely rural setting, Siquijor is the best destination for anyone who needs reprieve from the haste and bustle that city dwellers confront with on a daily basis.
The Province of Siquijor is famously known for its people who are skilled in natural healing. During lenten season, a number of visitors from foreign countries flock to the island to witness rituals performed by medicine men in preparing their assortment of plants and herbs that will serve as their medicinal supply in treating various ailments. There is no official validation though, of the effectiveness of these methods.
A number of diverse natural attractions await visitors in Siquijor Province. Beautiful sceneries as white, sandy beaches, caves (for the adventurous), waterfalls, nature parks and heritage churches and convents dating to Spanish era are among exciting places that must be experienced while in the province without worrying so much for one’s budget. World-class beach resorts catering to foreign tourists are already establishing in the province.
As of CY 2015, the Department of Tourism recorded more than 61 thousand visitors (foreign and domestic) who came to experience Siquijor Province.
Without a fully developed airport yet, a number of seaports around the province provide an alternative gateways to other parts of Visayas and Mindanao. Most of these ports can serve both fast craft and Ro-Ro type vessels. The province has an existing runway capable of landing light aircrafts though proposals are already in place to develop a viable feeder airport in the island.