An island province in the Philippines likened by Hollywood A-listers as "Emerald City" and "the most beautiful place" on the planet has been named the world's best island yet again.
Palawan first received the distinction in 2013 after being voted the "Best Island in the World" on international magazine Travel & Leisure. This year, Palawan topped the list with a score of 93.71. Voters described Palawan as “every beach lover’s dream destination.”
Palawan is known for its crystal blue waters, amazing dive spots, and a plethora of picturesque views. No wonder the island paradise has drawn a string of Hollywood titles to its shores, with Bourne Legacy, The Beach and The World is Not Enough from the James Bond series filming some scenes there.
Landscape of Coron Busuanga Island, Palawan.
Bourne Legacy's Oscar-nominated producer Frank Marshall described Palawan as “the most beautiful place” he had ever been to. Actors Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner filmed the movie’s breathtakingly beautiful ending scene in Palawan's El Nido Resorts.
“Palawan is more like the Emerald City. It’s like a fantasy. Maybe it’s real to you but to me, it looked like a fantasy place,” Weisz had said in an interview.
It’s little surprise that the island is back at top as the best island in the world. “Visitors are greeted with mountains rising out of impossibly turquoise waters, where shipwrecks and reefs make for prime scuba and snorkeling,” wrote Travel & Leisure magazine on its website.
Palawan is also home to a five mile-long Underground River and its limestone caverns, with its abundant coral reefs and marine life, tourist can enjoy the magical paradise.
Sunset over the beach of Nacpan, Palawan
Aside from Palawan, two other Philippine islands—Boracay and Cebu—also made it to the list. The white sands of Boracay placed second, while Cebu ranked sixth. Both islands are tourist hotspots for their powdery white sand beaches. In Boracay, a long stretch of beach is a popular destination for water sports by day and parties at night. Cebu's main city, Cebu City, is the oldest city in the Philippines and has diverse cultural and lifestyle offers for tourists. It is the home of the annual Sinulog festival that features street dancing and eleborate costumes.
Kat de Castro, Undersecretary of the Tourism Department of Philippines, said the recognition was welcome news for the country's tourism sector.
"The recognition is most welcome news as it affirms the well—deserved standing of Philippines’ islands as world-class travel destinations. It is yet another attestation of the unforgettable experience of visiting the Philippines... for upon discovering the island’s exhilarating natural wonder on being captivated by genuine hospitality of the local people," de Castro said.
People enjoy food and drinks at beach bars and restaurants in El Nido, Palawan
"We love to have the rest of the world come visit the Philippines islands, and enjoy our diverse cultural festivities and authentic Filipino cuisine," de Castro said.