Cebu: The best island in Asia
CEBU topped the list as the Best Island in Asia in this year’s “The Best Islands in the World: 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards” by travel magazine Condé Nast.
The 33rd annual survey of Condé Nast recorded 600,000 registered voters who weighed in the world’s best islands poll.
The Best Island in Asia attracts nearly 2 million travelers annually for its pristine beaches and panoramic dive sites on the island’s northern coast. The busiest island in the Visayas is also home to the Philippine’s most historical destinations. The Spanish and Roman Catholic influences permeate Cebu City. The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño houses a small statue of Christ presented by Ferdinand Magellan to the locals in 1521.
Cebu’s natural attractions such as the Kawasan Falls in the south impressed foreign guests.
“Kawasan Falls, a swimming hole and series of three waterfalls near Cebu’s southwest coast, is popular with locals and tourists alike. Really popular—avoid visiting on weekends, and hike past the first of the falls to find a quieter spot,” the travel magazine said.
CNT Award: "A boost of confidence"
In a statement posted on the DOT Facebook page, Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said the Condé Nast Traveler award gave the DOT “a boost of confidence.”
“The Philippines is blessed with the best of nature. It’s been exhibited by the consecutive accolades we are receiving from reputable and prestigious publications for our islands and beaches. This latest citation gives us a boost of confidence as we carry out our strategies to reopen domestic tourism. We want to once again welcome travelers from other countries when things become better,” Puyat said.
The DOT stated that it sent Cebu and Visayas as one entry, while they filed Boracay as a separate submission.
According to Puyat, the challenge for DOT is to advocate more sustainable and responsible tourism practices to preserve the 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 tourism development shall continue to be one of the DOT’s core principles. It must be just like how it has always been in the past few years,” she said in the statement.
Two other Philippines islands—Siargao Islands (top 5) and Palawan (top 4)—made it to the “Best List” published Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Palawan, 4th Best Island in Asia
Meanwhile, Condé Nast Traveler described Palawan as a regular on its list of the world’s best islands.
Palawan, which landed the fourth spot, is home to the otherworldly Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourists also visit El Nido and its blue lagoon to explore the Bacuit Archipelago.
Siargao at 5th spot
Meanwhile, the Bali-like island of Siargao took the 5th spot in Asia’s Best Island poll.
“Given its smaller size (a population of 200,000, compared to Bali’s four million), Siargao has remained unspoiled, remote, and still relatively under the radar—despite the influx of development in recent years. You’ll likely fall for the island’s pristine white beaches and coconut woodlands. You’ll also fall for the emerald mangrove forest as soon as you land, and the clearest water you’ve ever seen,” the magazine said.
Condé Nast Traveler readers ranked the 35 best islands in the world outside the US in this year’s survey.
This year, though, Condé Nast has broken the best list by region. The magazine ranked the best in Asia, Australia, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean. It also ranked the best in the Atlantic, Europe, North America, and the best in the rest of the world.
In 2019, three Philippine islands also took three spots on Condé Nast Traveler’s best islands in Asia, with Boracay at No. 1, Cebu and Visayas at No. 2, and Palawan at No. 4.