Palawan, Boracay lead 'World's Best Islands'
MANILA, Philippines - Two islands in the Philippines claimed the top two spots in Travel + Leisure's "2013 World's Best Islands" list published this July.
Palawan, famed for its pristine beaches, biodiversity, and natural wonders like the Puerto Princesa Underground River, was hailed the "World's Best Island," landing the number one spot. Second place went to Boracay, a popular tourist destination because of its combination of natural beauty and the vibrant night life.
Travel + Leisure noted it was Palawan's first time on the list. Boracay was last year's Best Island.
The list is based on votes by Travel + Leisure readers. According to their tally, Palawan got a score of 95.04 while Boracay garnered a score of 93.58. The two Philippine islands are followed by 3rd-placer Maui with a score of 89.83.
Others in the Top 10 list are Santorini, Greece (score: 89.37), an island distinguished by its boxy white buildings overlooking the Aegean Sea; and Koh Samui in Thailand (score: 87.43), known for its abundant wildlife, coral reefs, white-sand beaches, and coconut trees.
This latest recognition of Palawan's and Boracay's beauty follows the two islands' inclusion in "CNN's 100 best beaches" list, published in May.
In January, Agoda.com customers voted Boracay the No. 1 destination for relaxation and the No. 3 favorite destination for nightlife.
In March, the Philippines was hailed a "rising star" in the world tourism industry, having climbed to 82nd place from 94th out of 140 countries in the World Economic Forum 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.
The government expects tourist arrivals to reach 5.5 million by the end of 2013. - With reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com
El Nido, Palawan image from Shutterstock
Boracay image from Shutterstock