One of the most well-known facts about the Philippines is its role in the first circumnavigation of the world, with the Visayas becoming an integral part of global history. But history books and videos can only tell you so much—seeing those sites for yourself makes for the best history lesson. Even better, the region will treat you to a visual feast with its vast array of stunning sights, which you can enjoy through organized tours developed by the Department of Tourism (DOT) through its Eastern Visayas Regional Official.

Sinugdan Quincentennial Tour: Seven Heritage Stone Churches + Limasawa Island. Travel back in time through this tour which highlights the role the Eastern Visayan islands of Samar and Leyte played in the historic first contact with the West. It is a three days and two nights tour that incorporates pilgrimage, historical and cultural experiences, as well as a taste of natural adventure.

The Shrine of the First Mass in the Philippines celebrated by Father Pedro de Valderrama of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition in Limasawa Island, Eastern Visayas. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Guiuan-Balangiga Ancestry Tour. This four days and three nights tour will bring guests to the historical towns of Guiuan and Balangiga, Eastern Samar, highlighting the following nationally-significant events: the first landing of the expedition crew of Ferdinand Magellan in Philippine soil (Homonhon Island) in 1521; the Balangiga Incident during the Philippine-American War in 1901 where the Americans suffered defeat, but in retaliation, they “burned” Samar and plundered the land, carting away the three Bells of Balangiga as war booties; the American Forces took Suluan Island in Guiuan, where they fought their first battle in the Philippine territory in 1944 during the Leyte Gulf Landings; and the arrival of thousands of White Russians who took refuge in Tubabao Island also in Guiuan after President Elpidio Quirino allowed them to seek asylum in the Philippines following the fall of Kuomintang Government in China in 1949.

One of the Seven Heritage Stone Churches, Immaculate Concepcion Church in Baybay City, is an example of a Spanish-era structure constructed in 1852 by Fr. Vicente Cronado. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.
The Balangiga Bells are three bells that were taken by the United States Army from the Church of San Lorenzo de Martir, as war trophies. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.
The Balangiga Encounter Monument commemorates the battle that occurred during the Philippine-American War between Philippine forces and American Troops. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Sogod Bay Dive Site Tours. Nature and adventure lovers, you would want to check out the Sogod Bay Dive Sites, which have been dubbed as the rising star of Philippine dive destinations. This relatively undiscovered divers’ paradise has something to suit every diver’s level of experience, preference, and expectations.

The Sogod Bay Dive Sites in Southern Leyte will let tourists experience seeing and swimming alongside beautiful and unique deep-sea creatures. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

More good news: Divers also get to swim with the whale sharks. DOT said that the activity is 100% sustainable and ethical because artificial feeding is not allowed.

Whale Shark Interaction by LGU Southern Leyte.

Leyte Bike Tours. These aim to introduce circuits, including the Leyte-Samar Interface and the Northwest Leyte Corridor Leyte Biliran Tour Circuit, among others, that are positioned to become the bike tour routes in the region for both bicycles and motorized bikes. This program targets to promote health and wellness among the bikers as well as to give them the opportunity to visit different points of interests within the bike loops.

The DOT reminds the public to always wear a face mask and practice social distancing when outside. For up-to-date information on open destinations and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit or download the Travel Philippines app at or the Google Playstore.