Boracay, Cebu, Palawan: World’s Best Islands

“Boracay, Cebu, Palawan: World’s Best Islands.” This trio of Southeast Asian gems nabbed the Top Three Spots on a recent survey. That’s according to Condé Nast Traveler readers who ranked the 30 best islands in the world outside the U.S. in their 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards survey. That’s impressive!

NUMBER 1 BORACAYboracay sunsets

This tiny sland (just under four square miles) in the Western Philippines is as close to a tropical idyll as you’ll find in Southeast Asia, with gentle coastlines and amazing sunsets. Fold in a thriving nightlife scene, and you have one of the top tourist spots in the region.

The White Beach is Boracay’s main draw, with powdery white sand and shallow azure water ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

NUMBER 2 CEBU and VISAYAN ISLANDS

The most densely populated island in the Philippines, Cebu is famous for its beaches on the mainland as well as across many of the surrounding islands. Not as wild as Phuket in Thailand, Cebu City is more personal, with plenty of up-and-coming restaurants and shopping.

To get a true taste of island life, head off the grid on the Camotes Islands, two hours east of Cebu. Bring cash because there are no ATMs.

NUMBER 3 PALAWAN

nearing underground river palawan

This small island—one of the Philippines’s 7,107—is home to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, one of the newly crowned seven natural wonders of the world.

Palawan’s natural wonder is one of the longest underground rivers in the world, traveling five miles through a subterranean cave system. Guided boat tours take visitors down a portion of the waterway, where karsts, natural rock formations created by dissolving limestone, loom in every direction.

WINNERS ALL

We’ve been to Boracay twice and visited Palawan last year. My asawa and I have been to Cebu City multiple times and love shopping at the SM Seaside Mall.

Winners all. Fantastic views. Amazing sunsets in Boracay and stupendous natural beauty in Palawan. Highly recommended places to visit on your own personal “bucket list.”

Congratulations to all the winners!