Welcome to the Western Visayas web site.
Western Visayas is composed of the provinces of Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo, Guimaras and Negros Occidental. The first four provinces are found in the island of Panay, the sixth largest island, which shows roughly the shape of an equilateral triangle. Three distinct topographical features are very prominent in Western Visayas. These are the western upland, the central lowland, and the eastern upland. The western upland, which form the eastern boundary of the province of Antique, runs parallel to the west coast in a north-south direction. The eastern upland follows a northeast-southeast direction extending for about 56 kilometers. Between these two mountain ranges lie the central lowland, which is partly intermountain and partly coastal in character. Known as the Central Plain of Panay, it is well developed and thickly populated. To the southwest, it broadens into the Iloilo Basin while to the north it merges with the small coastal plains.
Guimaras, which was formerly a sub-province of Iloilo, is almost all lowlands with only a small portion of the interior exceeding 500 feet in elevation. Negros Occidental has a narrow coastal plain in its western portion facing Guimaras island and several volcanic peaks and mountains in its southern highlands. Canlaon volcano, which lies on the eastern side, forms the boundary with Negros Oriental.
The climate of the region varies. The western portion of Panay has a distinct wet and dry season lasting for about six months each while the eastern portion has a shorter period of dry season. The island of Guimaras and the southern portion of Iloilo have a short dry season of one to three months duration and a long period of rainfall from May to December. Negros Occidental has also a short dry season and a long period of rainy season similar to that of Guimaras and the southern portion of Iloilo. The northern portion of Panay is more subjected to typhoons than the rest of the island.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining are the dominant economic activities of the region. Rice, sugarcane and coconuts are the principal agricultural crops of Panay. Other crops include corn, abaca, fruits, vegetables, coffee and cacao. Sugarcane is processed into centrifugal and refined sugar in the sugar centrals of Iloilo. Fishing is also an important economic activity. Both deep seea fishing and inland fishing are lucrative. The fishing grounds are centered in Guimaras and Iloilo Straits. The coast of Capiz, the Visayan Sea, Panay Sea and Cuyo Pass are also rich fishing grounds.
The plain of Negros Occidental, composed of water deposited volcanic materials brought down from the central highlands, are very favorable for sugarcane production. The nature of the soil and the climate has made this province the premier sugar-producing province of the Philippines. About 65% of the country’s supply of sugar is produced in Negros Occidental where 18 of the 37 sugar centrals of the country are located.
The mountainous portion of Negros Occidental is thickly forested. All the other provinces of the region are also forested with Iloilo ranking second to Negros Occidental. The principal minerals of the region include copper, manganese, chromite, gypsum, limestone, guano and phosphate rock.
The inhabitants of Panay and Negros Occidental speak a common Visayan dialect, Hiligaynon. While most of the inhabitants settled along the coastal regions, there are dense settlements living on the broad fertile plains of Panay and Negros Occidental. Iloilo is the premier city of Western Visayas, serving as the center of the region. The port of Iloilo services a very rich rice-sugar and fish-producing hinterland in the island of Panay. Roxas City, the capital of Capiz and Kalibo, the capital of Aklan are the principal commercial centers in northern Panay. Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental, has experienced a continual growth as a commercial and financial center for the rich sugar industry of Negros. It rivals the city of Iloilo as a trading center with many beautiful homes for the rich sugarcane hacenderos.