2014 was a big year for the Philippines. We got a double win for the "Top 30 Islands in the World", with Palawan and Boracay as our best bet, in the Readers' Choice Awards 2014 of US-based luxury and lifestyle travel online magazine Condé Nast Traveler. This year, the list was trimmed down to "20 Best Islands in the World" and we got three wins.
1) Palawan: Best Island in the World
The country's largest island province has received back-to-back praises in the recent years. This is actually the second time that it has been nominated as the Best Island in the World by Condé Nast Traveler readers.
The other world-class islands that our very Palawan upstaged are: Bora-Bora in French Polynesia, Waiheke Island in New Zealand, Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and even the mythical Bermuda.
Found on the western seaboard of the Philippines, Palawan includes the long and narrow Palawan Island, the Calamian Group of Islands (northeast), Durangan Island (westernmost part), Balabac Island (southern tip), Cuyo Islands, and the disputed Spratly Islands. It is famous for its beautiful beaches, limestone cliffs, and crystal clear waters.
It houses the Puerto Princesa Underground River, which is one of the New7Wonders of Nature (2012) and reputed as the world's longest underground river. The cave system features a river that winds through an intricate system of caves before flowing into the West Philippine Sea.
The world-renowned Tubbataha Reef is in Palawan's backyard. It was also the first declared national marine park in the country.
2) Boracay: 15th Best Island in the World
Who doesn't know Boracay? When one thinks of powdery white sand beaches, this island in the Visayas has become the default answer. (Not the only one, of course!)
The idyllic destination can be likened to a one-stop shop where one can swim, snorkel, watch the sunset, go on a foodtrip, and party until sunrise.
3) Cebu: 19th Best Island in the World
The province of Cebu in Visayas is undeniably a great destination for anyone who wants to travel on foot and explore the oldest and, probably, one of the most historic city in the Philippines: Cebu City.
Its attractions include the underwater sanctuary in Oslob where one can dive with the whale sharks, white sand beaches of Bantayan, and waterfalls for trekking and canyoneering. It also boasts of a number of Spanish-era churches with intricate designs and interesting history.
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For full list of the "20 Best Islands in the World", visit Condé Nast Traveler.