Visayan languages: Kabisay-an) is one of the three island groups in the Philippines, along with Luzon and Mindanao. It consists of several islands, primarily surrounding the Visayan Sea. It is the homeland of the Visayans.
The major islands are:
Culturally it may also include the following whose inhabitants identify as Visayan:
Up to now the history of the Visayas before the arrival of the Spanish remains a mystery. Although legends exist that tell about the history of the Visayans, many still doubt their authenticity. One of this legends tells about a legendary king, known as Kalantiaw, who created a code of law. Another implies that the Visayans are from Borneo.
The first known mention of the Visayas in history is in the 12th century, when the region is thought to have been ruled by the empire of Srivijaya.
Visayans were thought to have kept close diplomatic relations with the various Javanese and Malay kingdoms since the locals of Cebu were able to converse with Enrique of Malacca using Malay when Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.
After Magellan’s expedition, the Spanish became interested with the archipelago and sent Ruy López de Villalobos and Miguel López de Legazpi in 1543 and 1565, respectively, to explore and colonize the islands.
At first, the Visayans accepted this colonization and many began converting to Christianity and started to accept the Santo Niño as their patron. However, the situation soon turned sour and revolutions such as those of Francisco Dagohoy began to emerge.
On May 23, 2005, Palawan was transferred to Region VI (Western Visayas) by Executive Order 429. The Department of the Interior and Local Government announced in June 2005 that the transfer had been completed. However, Palaweños criticized the move, citing a lack of consultation, with most residents in Puerto Princesa City and all municipalities but one preferring to stay with Region IV-B. Consequently, Administrative Order No. 129 was issued on August 19, 2005 to address this backlash. This Order directed the abeyance of Executive Order 429 pending the approval of an implementation plan for the orderly transfer of Palawan from Region IV-B to Region VI. Hence, Palawan is currently (as of May 2007) still part of Region IV-B.
Administratively, Visayas is divided into 3 regions, namely Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas. Each region is headed by a Regional Director of the different executive offices in the country. All of these positions are appointed by the Secretary of a particular Department (e.g. Department of Education).
However, it is made up of 16 provinces politically speaking. The Visayas comprises 16 provinces, each headed by a Governor. A governor is elected by popular vote and can serve at the maximum of three terms of three years each.
As for representation in the Philippine Congress, the Visayas is represented by 44 Congressmen elected the same way as the Governors.
Western Visayas (Region VI)
Central Visayas (Region VII)
Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)
There are legends, which are compiled in the book Maragtas, which tells the story of the ten chiefs (Datus) who escaped from the tyranny of Datu Makatunaw from Borneo to the islands of Panay. The chiefs and followers are believed to be the ancestors of the Visayan people. The arrival is celebrated in the Festival of the Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, Aklan. While these are stories, they are believed to be based on actual facts and events which were compiled into a 1907 book by Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro.
A contemporary theory based on a study of genetic markers in present-day populations that Austronesian migrants from Taiwan populated Luzon and headed south to the Visayas, Borneo, modern day Indonesia, then to the Pacific islands to the east. The study, though, may not explain interisland migrations, which are also possible, such as the Tagalog migration to Luzon.
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Mindanao is the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. It is also one of the three island groups in the country, along with Luzon and Visayas. Historically, the Island was also known as Gran Molucas or Great Mollucas.
Mindanao is name after the Maguindanaons. The region was originally home to Philippine sultanates like that of Sulu and Maguindanao. In the late 16th to early 17th century, first contact with Spain occurred, with Spanish forces trying to occupy the area.
These days the region is home to the country’s Muslim or Moro populations, comprised of many ethnic groups such as the Maranao and the Tausug, the Banguingui (users of the vinta), and the collective group of tribes known as the Lumad.
Contrary to common belief, only a portion of Mindanao was originally inhabited by Muslims. In fact, most of the people in the northern and eastern part of the island practiced native religions before they were converted to Christianity. Nonetheless, a bitter struggle for independence has been waged by various Muslim factions for five centuries against successive occupiers. Spanish, American, Japanese, and government forces failed to quell the desire for separation from the largely Christian nation. Due to an influx of migration, as well as evangelization, the majority of Mindanao’s population is now predominantly Christian. This has caused some resentment among the poor and seemingly displaced Muslims which in turn fuels the more violent and radical separatist movements that have been occurring recently. Mindanao is a staging ground for groups branded as terrorists such as Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah that undermine moderate organizations such as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Mindanao is the second largest island in the country at 94,630 square kilometers. The island is mountainous, and is home to Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the country. Mindanao is surrounded by seas: the Sulu Sea to the west, the Philippine Sea to the east, and the Celebes Sea to the south.
The island group of Mindanao encompasses Mindanao island itself and the Sulu Archipelago to the southwest. The island group is divided into six regions, which are further subdivided into 25 provinces.
The island group of Mindanao is an arbitrary grouping of islands in the southern Philippines which encompasses six administrative regions. These regions are further subdivided into 25 provinces, of which only four are not on Mindanao island itself. The island group includes the Sulu Archipelago to the southwest, which consists of the major islands of Basilan, Jolo, and Tawi-Tawi, plus outlying islands in other areas such as Camiguin, Dinagat, Siargao, Samal,The Limunsudan Falls, is the Highiest water falls in the phillipnes located at Iligan City. It has an Approximate Height of 800 ft. The six regions are listed below and each is individually discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.
- Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX)
- Northern Mindanao (Region X)
- Davao Region (Region XI)
- SOCCSKSARGEN (Region XII)
- Caraga (Region XIII)
- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX), formerly Western Mindanao, is located in the landform of the same name. It consists of the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, and two cities—Zamboanga City and Isabela City—which are independent of any province. Isabela City is the only territory not on Mindanao island itself and is a part of Basilan. The region’s new administrative capital is Pagadian City and the whole region used to be a single province named Zamboanga.
Northern Mindanao (Region X) consists of the provinces of Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro City, and Iligan City. The province of Camiguin is also an island just of the northern coast. The administrative center and capital of the region is Cagayan de Oro City.
Davao Region (Region XI), formerly Southern Mindanao, is located in the southeastern portion of Mindanao. The region is divided into the provinces of Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and Compostela Valley; plus Davao City. The region encloses the Davao Gulf to the south and includes the island of Samal in the gulf, and the Sarangani Islands further to the south. Davao City is the region’s administrative center.
SOCCSKSARGEN (Region XII), formerly Central Mindanao, is located in the south-central portion of the island. It consists of the provinces of Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato (which was used to be part of Region XI), and Sultan Kudarat, plus Cotabato City. The names of the provinces together with General Santos City spell the name of the region which is an acronym. Cotabato City, which is surrounded by, but is not a part of Maguindanao province, was the region’s former administrative center. Koronadal City, in South Cotabato, is the new administrative center of the newly formed region.
Caraga (Region XIII) is located in the northwestern part of Mindano. Its provinces are Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur. The administrative center is Butuan City in Agusan del Norte. The region also covers the outlying islands of Surigao del Norte such as Dinagat Island, Siargao Island, and Bucas Grande Island.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is a special region which covers the territories predominantly populated by Muslims. ARMM has its own government unlike almost all the other regions in the country. It consists of almost the whole of the Sulu Archipelago (Isabela City while remaining a part of Basilan is in the Zamboanga Peninsula region) and two provinces in the mainland. The provinces located in the Sulu Archipelago are Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. Basilan and Tawi-Tawi are themselves the main islands of their respective provinces, while the main island of Sulu is Jolo Island. The mainland provinces are Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao. Cotabato City, while not a part of the ARMM, is the region’s administrative center.
The native Maguindanaon and other native Muslim/non-Muslim groups of Mindanao have a fascinating culture that revolves around kulintang music, a specific type of gong music, found among both Muslim and non-Muslim groups of the Southern Philippines