The Central Visayas (Region VII) is a region of the Philippines lying between the Western Visayas and the Eastern Visayas island groupings. The Visayas are near the center of the country and this region is the central part of the Visayas, so arguably it is in the center of the whole country.
This region has some magnificent beaches, dive spots and, in Cebu City, historic landmarks which date back to 1521. The island of Bohol has the weird Chocolate Hills and diminutive Tarsiers and is popular with both Korean and Japanese leisure travelers.
The pioneering Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan was killed at the historic Battle of Mactan, now Lapu-Lapu, by local chieftain Lapu-lapu in the year 1521. A shrine in Cebu City was built in memory of his death centuries later. Traces of ruins of the oldest urban center in the Philippines, the walled city in Cebu, was built by the Spanish colonizers in the 16th century. The walled city of Intramuros was patterned after this walled fortress.
Sinulog Festival in Cebu City is the region's most popular religious cultural event.
The region consists of four provinces, three of which each consist of one main island with the same name as the province plus various smaller islands nearby. The fourth province, Negros Oriental, is part of the large island of Negros plus some nearby islands.
- Metro Cebu, easily the largest urban area in the Visayas, second in the country. It consists mainly of three cities:
- Bais City famous for whale and dolphin watching in the Tanon Straits and its clean streets and bicycle rickshaws
- Dumaguete - capital of Negros Oriental
- Siquijor town - capital of Siquijor province
- Tagbilaran - capital of Bohol
The language spoken in all of this region of the Central Visayas is Cebuano, which is also known as Bisaya. With more than 20 million native speakers, it is the mother tongue for more citizens of the Philippines than any other and local and regional newscasts are broadcast in Cebuano. (Most local newspapers are published in English.)
Since before the time of Magellan's visit, Sugbo (as Cebu was then known as) had been a world trade centre and many speak English as a second language as well as or better than the Tagalog spoken in Luzon.
Sometimes, people in this region also speak in Taglish (Tagalog + English) when they cannot find the appropriate word to use in Tagalog. Youth speaks English with a Cebuano accent, often interchanging i and e as well as o and u while ones from older generations can barely converse in Taglish. Really old people often speak excellent English from US colonial days. Some people will also understand a little of Ilonggo or Waray. The Chinese minority speak Hokkien, a minority of expatriates and immigrants speak their own languages.
When speakers of different Philippine languages meet overseas, they must determine if their conversation will work better in Tagalog or English. Most likely, it will involve both Tagalog and English, thus Taglish. Within this region there is rarely this problem since all natives of this region understand Cebuano. However, some higher officials from outside the region understand very little Cebuano and will want to switch to Taglish.
The jump off point to the region is the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the island city of Lapu-lapu, just off the coast of Mandaue City in the main island of Cebu. From the airport, the island is linked by two separate bridges to the main island of Cebu through Mandaue City, going to the urban center of Cebu City. The international airport has flight connections to Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul. It is Cebu Pacific's hub in the Visayas with connecting flights to major cities in Mindanao and to major cities in the Visayas such as Tacloban, Dumaguete and tourist destinations such as Boracay thru Caticlan Airport and Palawan thru Puerto Princesa Airport. All domestic carriers have flights to Mactan-Cebu International Airport from Manila.
There are also airports in Dumaguete (in Sibulan town), and in Tagbilaran. Tagbilaran Airport is serviced by Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines which flies only to Manila. Dumaguete is served by Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific, both of them flying only to Manila.
The Port of Cebu is the region's main gateway to Manila, Bohol, Leyte, Panay island and Mindanao. There are also ports in Dumaguete in Negros Oriental, Tagbilaran in Bohol and Larena in Siquijor. Inter-island shipping is served by numerous shipping lines, two of them fastcraft companies which serve all the provinces in the region.
Bus companies serve the Manila-Cebu route from Ali Mall terminal in Cubao, Quezon City passing through Eastern Visayas.
The Port of Cebu is the region's main gateway. There are also ports in Dumaguete in Negros Oriental, Tagbilaran in Bohol and Larena in Siquijor. Inter-island shipping is served by numerous shipping lines, two of them fastcraft companies which serve all the provinces in the region.
The main airport is the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which is in Metro Cebu. There are also airports in Dumaguete (in Sibulan town), and in Tagbilaran. Tagbilaran airport is serviced by Air Asia and Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines. Dumaguete is served by PAL Express part of Philippines airlines and Cebu Pacific, both of them flying to Manila. Cebu Pacific also fly Dumaguete to Cebu city.