A TRAVEL magazine based in New York City has named Cebu the sixth Best Island in the World.
Two other islands in the Philippines—Boracay, which ranked second, and Palawan, hailed the Best Island in the World— dominated the 2016 World’s Best Island List of Travel + Leisure (T+L).
“The Philippines’ predominance shows that discerning travelers are willing to travel great distances for the rewards of clear waters and sugary white beaches,” said the travel magazine.
Published 12 times a year, T+L says it has five million readers. It is published and owned by Time Inc.
In the annual World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe and to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines and more.
Readers rated islands on their natural attractions and beaches, activities and sights, food, friendliness, and overall value.
Garnering 88.65 points, Cebu was described as an island that offers excellent diving and “makes (for) a good launching pad for island-hopping.”
“There is never a dull moment in Cebu,” said one T+L reader, who said island is “perfect for travelers who don’t want to spend a lot of money on recreational activities.”
Hiking, swimming with whale sharks, and diving from the top of a waterfall are just a few of the activities visitors can try in Cebu, said T+ L.
The Best Islands in the World are Bali, Indonesia, which ranked 10th and got a score of 88.24; (9th) Kauai, Hawaii, 88.33; (8th) Hilton Head, South Carolina, 88.35; (7th) Maui, Hawaii, 88.55; (6th) Cebu; (5th) Santorini, Greece, 89.07; (4th) Waiheke Island, New Zealand, 90; (3rd) Ischia, Italy, 90.22; (2nd) Boracay, Philippines, 90.47; and (1st) Palawan, Philippines, 93.71.
Zooming in on Asia, the Philippines dominated this year’s list, nabbing four out of the top five spots.
The country’s largest island, Luzon, scored 88.32 points and landed the fifth spot in the Best Islands in Asia list, followed by Bali, Indonesia.
Cebu came third, followed by Boracay, which one reader deemed a “natural treasure.”
One reader wrote: “Nothing beats the feeling of sinking your feet in the cool powdery white sands.” Shangri-La’s Boracay resort placed eighth in this year’s Top Resort Hotels in Southeast Asia.
Palawan landed the top spot and was described by T+L as an island “with untouched beaches and lush jungle.”
In 2015, the Philippines welcomed 5.4 million international visitors, up by 10.91 percent from the 4.8 million foreign visitors logged in 2014.
Foreign tourist spending in the Philippines showed a dramatic increase from P112.55 in 2010 to P227.62 billion in 2015, according to the Department of Tourism.
Last year, tourism accounted for an estimated $5 billion or P227.62 billion worth of international visitor receipts. This was 5.92 percent higher than the 2014 total earnings of P214.88 billion.