The major islands are:
According to an Executive Order 429, the Island Province of Palawan is now under the Administrative Powers of Region Vi or Western Visayas. However, until now (2006) steps have not yet been made to put this in practice.
Regions and Provinces
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 is comprised of 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)
The first mention of the Visayas in history is in the 12th century, when the region came under rule of the Srivijaya empire of Java. Some legends (some false) exist about this stage in Visayan history. (See following section).
The Visayas continued to keep close diplomatic relations with the various Javanese and Malay kingdoms until the coming of the Spanish in the early to late 16th century, led by Ferdinand Magellan, Ruy López de Villalobos and Miguel López de Legazpi in 1521, 1543 and 1565 who arrived, explored and colonized the region.
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 book by Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro, written in 1907.