Region VIII is inhabited by the Waray-Warays, the country’s fourth largest cultural linguistic group. But Cebuanos, from the nearby island of Cebu live in Ormoc City, Western Leyte and parts of the Southwest of Leyte.
The eastern portion of the region is frequently visited by storms from the Pacific Ocean. The region receives heavy rainfall throughout the year with no pronounced dry season.
Eastern Visayas is primarily an agricultural region with rice, abaca, corn, coconut, sugarcane and banana as major crops. Its total land area is 21,431.7 sq. kms. 52% of its total land area are classified as forestland and 48% as alienable and disposable land.
The region’s sea and inland waters are rich sources of salt and fresh water fish and other marine products. It is one of the fish exporting regions of the country.
There are substantial forest reserves in the interiors of the islands. Its mineral deposits include chromite, nickel, clay, coal, limestone, pyrite and sand and gravel.
It has abundant geothermal energy and water resources to support the needs of medium and heavy industries.
Primary sources of revenue are manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade and services. Mining, farming, fishing and tourism contribute significantly to the economy Manufacturing firms include mining companies, fertilizer plants, sugar central, rice and corn mills and other food processing plants. Cebu is the hub of investment, trade and development in the region.
Other industries include mining, rice, corn and sugar milling, coconut oil extraction, alcohol distilling, beverage manufacture and forest products. Home industries include hat and basket weaving, metal craft, needlecraft, pottery, ceramics, woodcraft, shell craft and bamboo craft.
The region receives the “spillover” from Cebu’s industrial and eco-tourism activities
Leyte is planned to become an industrial hub of the region with the development of the following industrial estates and centers:
• Leyte Industrial Development Estate
• Amihan Cebu Woodlands township
• Eastern Visayas Regional Agri-industrial Growth Center
• Barugo Economic Zone
• Leyte Provincial Industrial Center in Ormoc City
• Baybay Techno Science Par
The centers of education, trade and commerce in the region are the cities of Tacloban (Now Highly Urbanized City) and Ormoc in Leyte and Catbalogan and Calbayog in Samar.
The San Juanico Bridge connects the islands of Leyte and Samar, across the San Juanico Strait. It is also linked to the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway.
The region has several national, municipal and private ports and a number of airports. Postal, telegraph and telecommunications services are provided by both government and private sectors .