The Philippines has thousands of islands from the Batanes group in the north to the Tawi-Tawi group in the south. Most people are familiar with the bigger islands – Luzon, Mindoro, Panay, Negros, Samar, and Mindanao. But there are thousands of other islands – 7,641 at the last official count, possibly even more at low tide.
Over the years, visitors from around the world have discovered our islands, like Boracay which is today our top tourist destination. Last year, in the Conde Nast Traveller (CNT) Readers Choice Awards, it was the top choice in Asia. This year, it is Cebu and Visayas Islands, lumped as one entry, which was voted No. 1 by the readers of the international travel magazine, who joined this year’s survey.
Also in the top ten in Asia were Palawan, 4th ; Siargao, 5th; and Boracay, 6th. The other islands in the Top Five in Asia were Penang in Malaysia and Bali in Indonesia.
The Conde Nast Traveller magazine wrote on Cebu: “Located in the center of the Philippines, Cebu draws millions of travelers annually for its pristine beaches and diving off the island’s northern coast. Spanish and Roman Catholic influences permeate Cebu; Basilica Minore de Santo Nino houses a small statue of Christ that was presented by Ferdinand Magellan.”
Aside from its natural island attractions, ii is Cebu’s distinctive place in world history, with its Spanish and Roman Catholic influences, that won the world travellers’ voters choice as top island in Asia.
Welcoming the international award, Secretary of Tourism Bernadette Romulo Puyat said: “The Philippines is indeed blessed with the best of nature, as exhibited by the consecutive accolades we are receiving from reputable and prestigious publications for our islands and beaches.”
And there are still so many other islands in our archipelago for nature-loving travelers to discover, she added. So many islands with rivers and falls, dive sites, pools of clean, clear water, abounding with fish and other wildlife.
And, after two and a half centuries under Spain, there are many towns in the country with old churches reflecting a history like no other in our part of the world. It was the combination of these old Spanish and religious influences with the natural beauty of the land and the waters around it that won the Conde Nast Top Island in Asia award for Cebu this year.
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