Palawan Makes a Comeback as World's Best Island

Boracay's back on the list, too!

Big Lagoon in El Nido, Palawan
PHOTO BY Christa I. De La Cruz

( It's that time of the year when New York-based travel magazine Travel + Leisure releases their much-awaited The World's Best Awards, where they reveal the rankings of the greatest islands, cities, hotels, airports based on reader ratings. "This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come—whenever they may be," begins the article published on July 8. For 2020, the Philippines’ very own Palawan returns to the number one slot of "The Top 25 Islands in the World" list. It outdid Paros Island and Milos Island, which are both in Greece; Sri Lanka; and Koh Lanta in Thailand.

Lio Beach in El Nido, Palawan
PHOTO BY Christa I. De La Cruz

Travel + Leisure's survey respondents gave Palawan a score of 94.83. One fan even said: "The landscape and scenery are just gorgeous. It offers the most beautiful beaches, resorts, and scenery anywhere." Sara Clemence, a contributor for the travel magazine, wrote: "It’s dramatic at sea level, with mountains rising directly from the ocean palm-edged beaches. Though it’s difficult to reach from many parts of the world, once travelers get there they can dive in World War II wrecks, explore old-growth rain forests, and paddle one of the world’s longest subterranean rivers at Puerto Princesa."

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In 2019, Palawan bagged the second place in their lineup of "The 15 Best Islands in the World"; in 2018, the island province finished at number six; and in 2017, the same Philippine island got the coveted title as the "World's Top Island."

Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan also made it back to the list, bagging the 14th spot with a score of 88.22. The island, which has been through major rehabilitation in 2018, was booted out of the roster in 2019.

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