TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday welcomed the inclusion of Eastern Visayas region among the top local and international destinations recommended for “revenge travel” this 2023, saying the listing will raise interest among tourists to explore the area including its natural wonders.

“This is something that we need to celebrate because this represents the hard work of every stakeholder in the region. We are the only place mentioned as a region, which means they see a lot of hidden places and activities that await people to experience,” DOT Eastern Visayas Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

She said they were “surprised” to see the region in the list of sites recommended by travel experts and influencers as published by the Philippine Star’s Life magazine.

In the listing, Angel Juarez of Lakwatsero.com, urged travelers “not to look far to go on adventures this year” for their “revenge travel” after staying at home in the past two years due to pandemic.

“(On) top of mind is Eastern Visayas comprising of Samar Provinces, Leyte Provinces, and Biliran. It is a region frequently visited by devastating typhoons that also rely on tourism, so your visit will surely help locals rebuild and recover. Unknown to many, the region is home to diverse natural wonders! Bask in Kalanggaman Island of Leyte, explore the waterfalls of Biliran, or discover the beautiful caves of Samar. These and more surprises await in Eastern Visayas!” the travel influencer said.

Tiopes said the statement from industry expert is big boost to the tourism promotion efforts, but this will also require “heavier responsibility” to meet their expectations.
“We will make sure that if tourists are here, we offer the best experience because when they return home, they will be champions in promoting our sites,” she said.

Eastern Visayas region consists of the provinces of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar and Southern Leyte and the cities of Baybay, Borongan, Calbayog, Catbalogan, Maasin, Ormoc and Tacloban, the Eastern Visayas’ regional center.

Among its popular destinations are Kalanggaman Island, San Juanico Bridge, Leyte Landing Memorial in Leyte; Sambawan Island in Biliran; dive sites in Southern Leyte; Calicoan Island in Eastern Samar; Sohoton Cave and Natural Park in Samar and Biri Rock Formations in Northern Samar.

“The region remains relatively under-the-radar compared to other known tourist destinations in the Philippines, but this has been slowly changing in the past years as demand for raw nature tourism grows,” Tiopes said.

“More and more people are now visiting the region in pursuit of rugged coasts and landscapes, secret caves and waterfalls, and fascinating histories,” she said.

Meanwhile, other sites in the Philippines listed for “revenge travel” are the Camotes Islands in Cebu province, Danjugan Island in Negros Occidental, Gigantes Islands in Iloilo, Balabac in Palawan and the provinces of Davao and Bukidnon.