Travel + Leisure Magazine recently announced that the world’s friendliest island is Palawan. Cebu, Luzon and Boracay, all islands in the Philippines, of course, grabbed the next three spots respectively. My lovely asawa and I have visited all four of these “friendly” destinations.
Aside from a surly security guard (seen in the photo above) at the Puerto Princesa airport, we encountered friendly locals throughout this island paradise.
“People are very welcoming, respectful, and friendly,” said one thrilled T+L reader about their experience in Palawan.
Romantic Charm and Friendly Locals
When it came to islands, readers scored the best according to characteristics like romantic charm and the friendliness of the people. This crusty old expat doesn’t know much about “romantic charm”, just ask my wife, but I can still recognize friendliness even at my advanced age.
While liberal news organizations in the States and in the Philippines, i.e., CNN Philippines, present their own skewered view of President Duterte’s war on on drugs, tourists still flock to the archipelago.
The people of the islands remain friendly to visitors exploring their scenic home. Frankly, if you believe all the B.S. coming from the Philippine Vice-President and the international press, you would expect to be kidnapped, beheaded or shot the minute you leave NAIA, Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Ignore the Negative Press
But for many travelers who don’t pay attention to all the negative reports, it’s especially helpful that English is one of the official languages of the Philippines, and that islanders are so welcoming of tourists.
Last year’s top finisher, Mackinac Island in Michigan, did not even make this year’s friendliest island in the world list.
Travel + Leisure Magazine states that travelers in need of a hospitable, personable island retreat should consider this list a definitive guide to the friendliest islands on Earth. And the top four friendliest islands in the Philippines should be at the top of that list, in this American expat’s opinion.
Should Palawan Be Number One?
For the most part, I think Palawan deserves the top spot as far as the islands from the Philippines listed in the survey are concerned. Along with the friendly folks we encountered at the Underground River and El Nido, even the canines were cordial in Palawan.
Scenic view outside the Underground River in Palawan
What About Cebu, Luzon and Boracay?
The Sainted Patient Wife and I have made multiple trips to Cebu. Are the people in Cebu noticeably friendlier than those in Palawan? I would be hard-pressed to notice any difference. The manager of RACKS, our favorite ribs joint in the Philippines, gave us two free bottles of their delicious rib sauce, so I couldn’t honestly rank Palawan ahead of Cebu. It’s a draw, in my books.
RACKS, SM City Seaside Cebu
Luzon? We’ve only visited the National Capital Region, Metro Manila, and have never visited Northern or Southern Luzon. But for the most part, the locals in Manila were friendly enough. I can’t recall one single fist fight I had there.
Boracay? We recently visited the algae-ridden beaches of Boracay and if you discount the annoying vendors hovering around you like armed drones at an ISIS camp, the locals are friendly enough.
So kudos to the world’s friendliest island, Palawan, and to Cebu, Luzon and Boracay. Job well done, Philippines.