Introducing The Western Visayas
The Western Visayas is a region in the Visayas in the Philippines. It is a grouping of the islands of Panay, half of the island of Negros, and the small island province of Guimaras. Panay Island consists of the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Iloilo. The island of Negros is divided into two provinces; Negros Occidental is considered part of this region while Negros Oriental is considered part of the Central Visayas.
The world-famous beach island of Boracay is just off the northern tip of Panay.
The region has many religious and cultural festivals including the Ati-atihan Festival in Kalibo and Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo. both in January, and the MassKara Festival in Bacolod during October.
Western Visayas was created by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1 as part of the Integrated Reorganization Plan of President Ferdinand Marcos. Iloilo is the regional center because of the presence of almost all government agencies’ regional offices and its nearness to other provinces in the region. The dialect or language spoken in this region are Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, Akeanon, Malaynon and Cebuano. Tagalog and English are the medium of instruction in schools.
In terms of natural resources, Western Visayas is one of the richest regions in the country. Forty-three percent of the region's land resources are devoted to agricultural purposes. It is the largest producer of sugar and was the third largest rice producer among the regions. Sugar cane covers the majority of area in Negros Occidental and rain fed or irrigated palay in Panay. The region also produces coconut, banana, fruits, root crops and vegetables. Its forests however have been denuded due to indiscriminate logging. Its waters produce numerous species of fish and other marine products. Western Visayas exports prawn, tuna and other fish products. Mineral resources include copper, gold, silver, clay, limestone, coal, sand and gravel and other non-metallic.
There are many famous tourist destinations in Western Visayas like Boracay and Guimaras Islands. The region has several seaports and airports in order to accommodate and ease the transport of commodities in the region. There is only one international gateway in the region, the Kalibo International Airport, which serves direct flights to Incheon-Korea and Taipei, and soon to cater Shanghai, Beijing, Hongkong and Singapore.
Its fertile soil, abundant natural resources, rich cultural heritage and skilled manpower paved the way for the region’s industrial growth and expansion.