Famous for its pristine white sand beaches and diving spots, Cebu, Palawan, Siargao, and Boracay islands have been named among the Top Islands in Asia, in the top 10 of the Condé Nast Traveler’s (CNT) 33rd Readers’ Choice Awards.
Around 600,000 travelers have been invited by CNT to rank the 35 best islands in the world outside the United States this year, with choices from far-flung stunners in Southeast Asia to volcanic outcrops in the Mediterranean.
Taking the top spot, travel writer Caitlin Morton said the island province of Cebu draws nearly 2 million travelers annually for its pristine beaches and diving off the island’s northern coast. It also offers Spanish and Catholic influences visible through its heritage sites such as the popular Basilica Minore del Santo Niño which houses a small statue of Christ presented by Spanish conqueror Ferdinand Magellan.
The islands of Palawan, Siargao, and Boracay also made it to the top 10 in Asia list, ranking fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, to give the Philippines the most slots in the ranking of the prestigious international travel magazine.
“The Philippines is indeed blessed with the best of nature, as exhibited by the consecutive accolades we are receiving from reputable and prestigious publications for our islands and beaches,” Tourism Secretary Berndette Romulo-Puyat said.
“This latest citation from CNT gives us in the Department of Tourism (DOT) a boost of confidence, as we continuously carry out our strategies to gradually reopen domestic tourism, to once again welcome travelers from other countries when things become better,” she added.
In last year’s Condé Nast Traveler’s ranking, the Philippine islands took three places among the top islands in Asia. Boracay earned the top spot, followed by Cebu and Visayas as the second; and Palawan taking the fourth slot. Only Penang in Malaysia and Bali in Indonesia managed to break into the top five, as third and fifth choice, respectively.
With more island destinations in the Philippines gaining traction worldwide, Puyat said the challenge for the DOT is to continue advocating sustainable and responsible tourism practices that will help preserve these destinations.
“With over 7,641 islands in our archipelago, there are still so many left for nature-loving travelers to discover. In our journey towards tourism revival, sustainable and responsible tourism development shall continue to be one of the DOT’s core principles, just like how it has always been in the past few years,” she said.