The islands of Boracay, Cebu and Visayan Islands, and Palawan in the Philippines have been named first, second and third (respectively) in the ‘Best Island in the World’ category of Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards 2017.
“Boracay, Cebu and Palawan are three fantastic examples of our 7,107 islands in the Philippines – they certainly showcase the perfect ‘tropical paradise’, with each one offering a slightly different travel experience,” Philippines Department of Tourism Australia and New Zealand, tourism attaché, Norjamin Delos Reyes says.
In addition to jaw-dropping beaches, each island boasts a range of amazing activities, cultural heritage sites and incredible cuisine, offering plenty to explore.
Located is the Western Philippines, Boracay is just under 11 square kilometres and consists of stunning beaches and memorable sunsets.
Famous for its four-kilometre long White Beach, numerous spas and wellness retreats, Boracay also offers an assortment of holiday activities which make the most of the natural environment, including 25 dive sites, windsurfing and kiteboarding, cliff diving, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkelling, horseback riding and golf. Once the night draws near, the thriving nightlife comes to life, offering cocktails, fresh food and live music.
Getting there: Fly from Manila to Caticlan in Malay. From there, pump boats transport passengers to White Beach.
2. Cebu and Visayan Islands
Cebu and Visayan Islands are a fusion of island life, historical sites and a bustling metropolis. Cebu is famous for its beaches as well as its many surrounding islands, and Cebu City is influenced by Filipino, Spanish and Western cultures, reflected throughout the city’s architecture and design.
Some of the cultural highlights include Fort San Pedro, Basilica del Santo Nino, Magellan’s Cross, Casa Gorordo Museum, Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House and Taoist temple.
Restaurants and shopping also await travellers, while the surrounding islands offer various diving spots and scenic hiking tracks.
Getting there: Many airlines operate to Mactan Cebu International Airport from neighbouring countries such as Singapore. The airport is located on a different island, so it takes approximately 30 minutes by taxi to get to Cebu City.
To the west, Palawan’s natural wonder is one of the longest underground rivers in the world, travelling five miles through a subterranean cave system. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which travellers can explore and discover via guided boat tours, where they can see karsts and natural rock limestone formations.
For wildlife lovers, the Calauit Game Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary is popular, and Rasa Island and Tubbataha Reefs are known to offer some of the best diving spots in the world.