Despite the setbacks the country suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, two of the Philippines’ popular island beach destinations have been listed by readers in the 25 Best Island Beaches in the World in 2020 organized by American travel publisher Condé Nast Traveler.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) cited the inclusion of White Beach on Boracay Island and El Nido, Palawan as the second and ninth best island beaches in the world in the prestigious list.
The recognitions came at a time when the country’s tourism industry is slowly recovering from the wrath of the ongoing global health crisis.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the inclusion of these two destination gems in the prestigious travel publication’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards is sheer recognition of their unparalleled beauty and uniquely diverse resources.
“We would like to thank the travelers who voted for our destinations. We draw inspiration from this warm reception and solid vote of confidence from our satisfied patrons. As our destinations gradually reopen with health and safety measures in place, we will continue our conservation and protection efforts of these areas,” she said.
Condé Nast travel writer Caitlin Morton described Boracay as “a screensaver brought to life, with dazzling white sand, so-clear-youcan-see-your-toes water, and a lush jungle backdrop, available to anyone willing to make the journey.”
“The island used to fly under the radar with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – but the secret’s out. Now the three-mile White Beach, with its grottos and beachside dining (and nightlife), is its busiest swath of sand,” she said.
Morton said El Nido is home to around 50 white sand beaches, and that it’s impossible to choose just one among the beaches as “all of which are set around dramatic limestone formations and have the finest and whitest sand” tourists could ever see.
“The water is so blindingly blue it makes the Caribbean Sea look murky in comparison. And the sunsets? Well, they’ll ruin you for life. Consider yourself warned,” Morton gushed.
Boracay and El Nido bested other beach destinations, including Matira Beach in Bora Bora, French Polynesia (20th), Banana Beach in Thailand’s Coral Island (16th), Seagrass Bay in Laucala Island, Fiji (12th), and Blue Beach in Vieques, Puerto Rico (11th).
The luxurious Gouverneur remote and pristine island in St. Barts, a part of the Carribean Sea, is the first.
Boracay and El Nido are open to domestic tourists coming from General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ areas.
As a means to make domestic travel more affordable, the DOT, through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), recently partnered with two government hospitals for an affordable reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) swab test, a primary requirement for domestic travel in the new normal.
The program, in collaboration with the University of the Philippines-Philippines General Hospital (UP-PGH) and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), brings down the test cost – P900 at UP-PGH and P750 at PCMC.