Eastern Visayas is one of the three regions in the Visayas group of islands and it is designated as Region VIII out of the 17 regions of the entire Philippines. The region is a grouping of three major islands of Samar, Leyte and Biliran and other small islands scattered throughout the eastern archipelago of the Visayas. It is composed of the six provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Biliran.
Being the caving capital of the Philippines, the region is home to many cave systems located underneath the mountains of Samar island. Interspersed with this cave systems are waterfalls, rivers and underground rivers inside caves. Hence, the region is a destination for extreme mountaineering adventures such as spelunking and trekking.
The region is also a destination for marine adventures like scuba diving, snorkeling and surfing. At the southern end of Leyte island, Sogod Bay boasts of a massive underwater coral gardens ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling. In the Pacific coast of Eastern Samar, the island of Calicoan is home to an international surfing circuit held every year. The smaller island of Biliran is popular to beachcombers with its pristine white sand beaches.
For geological wonders, along its shores at the northern part of Samar island are towering rock formations in Biri and Capul, Northern Samar, and in the Leyte Gulf side of Marabut, Eastern Samar. There are volcanic lakes located in the various islands of the region, most notable of which is Lake Danao in Ormoc City.
For road trip adventure, the three major island of the region is encircled by a coastal highway end to end. Countryside driving can be a relaxing experience with views of the ocean and seas atop the mountains of Samar. San Juanico Bridge, the first longest bridge in Asia is found in the region. It connects Leyte and Samar islands between Tacloban City and Sta. Rita, Samar. The bridge became an engineering marvel after its construction in the 70s. Biliran Bridge connects Leyte and Biliran islands.
Historical sites such as Homonhon and Limasawa islands, two of the few stop-over of Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan in his voyage from Spain enroute to Cebu, are located in the region. Homonhon Island is at the southern end of Samar Island while Limasawa Island is at the southern end of Leyte Island.
In June each year, the Pintados and Sangyaw festivals are held in the region's capital Tacloban City. These are the region's biggest crowd drawing events coinciding with the religious festivities of Tacloban City honoring Señor Sto. Niño, the Patron Saint of Tacloban. Other smaller festivals and festivities are held in every town annually at different dates.
Waray people are perceived to be difficult and brave. Although, this may be true in some instances, the Warays are just like other ordinary Filipinos who share the same level of hospitality. This perception was rooted to the heroism and galantry of local folks in many battles fought during World War I and II.
Tacloban City is the jump-off point of the region. Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Air Asia serve the city from Manila daily. Cebu Pacific and Philippines airlines also fly to Cebu city daily. Cebu Pacific also fly's to/from Davao. Other secondary routes served by local airlines from Manila are Catarman Airport and Calbayog Airport.
All cities and capital towns in the region are accessible by bus from Manila, Cebu, Davao. The biggest regional terminal is at Tacloban City where buses and vans have direct connection to all cities and provincial capitals in the region. The five major seaports (ferry terminal) of entry to the region is at Silago, Southern Leyte for buses coming from the island of Mindanao, Bato, Leyte for buses coming from island of Bohol, Palompon, Leyte for buses from Cebu, and the two ferry terminals at Allen, Northern Samar for buses coming from Luzon island. The islands of Leyte, Samar and Biliran are interconnected by bridges with the beautiful San Juanico Bridge connecting Leyte and Samar islands.
For scheduled passenger ferries, Ormoc City is the main entry point from the province of Cebu while the town of Bato, Leyte is the entry port from the island of Bohol. The town of Palompon is the seaport for scheduled passenger vessels from Manila and Mindanao.
The city of Tacloban is the educational, cultural, commercial and trade center of the region while the neighboring town of Palo, Leyte is where most agencies of the national government is located. Hence, it is the government center for Eastern Visayas region.
Fly to Catarman, Northern Samar. Proceed to Laoang, Northern Samar for white beaches or Proceed to Biri island Then proceed to Allen, Northern Samar Proceed to Calbayog all the way to Catbalogan Either proceed to Borongan going to Calicoan or Go straight to Tacloban from Catbalogan Go to Ormoc, proceed to Maasin Proceed to Sogod Bay, then to Silago Return to Tacloban and fly out
Bigger hotels can be found in the cities of Tacloban, Ormoc and Calbayog. Leyte Park Hotel & Resort in Tacloban City is the region's biggest hotel. It is overlooking San Pedro Bay. Beach resorts can be found in outlying coastal towns, famous of which is Calicoan Surf Camp at Calicoan Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
For tourists traveling to outlying towns and interior villages, it is advisable to register with the Municipal Tourism Officer at the town hall.