An Mga Waray

The 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. Tacloban City is its regional center. The local climate varies between wet and wetter — the region’s perpetually lush landscapes reveal the absence of a real dry season.

Majority of the locals here are Waray and speak Waray-Waray. Warays are descendants of Austronesian migrants who settled in the Philippines in the Iron Age. In 1521, they became the first Filipinos encountered by Europeans, care of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. They subsequently became one of the first local groups to convert to Christianity. Notable Warays include Former First Lady Imelda Marcos and statesman Norberto Romuáldez.

The region remains relatively under-the-radar compared to other tourist destinations in the Philippines, but this is slowly changing. More and more people troop here in pursuit of rugged coasts and landscapes, secret caves and waterfalls, and fascinating histories — as well as the company of people content with the simple life, happy to enjoy the bounty of nature.