Palawan, whose underground river continues to draw tourists, was voted as the top island in the world by an international travel magazine, edging out other world-famous islands such as Bali in Indonesia and Maui in Hawaii.
Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards said Palawan was ranked first in the list of the world’s Top 30 Islands in 2014.
Boracay landed on the 12th spot.
The magazine said over 76,600 dedicated readers cast their votes for 7,721 hotels, 642 cities, 453 cruise ships and 148 islands, in an average survey time of 16.5 minutes. Palawan got a rating of 88.750, beating the island of Kiawah in South Carolina, which came in second with a rating of 86.574.
“This small island—one of the Philippines’ 7,107—shot to the top of our list this year with a recent claim to fame: It’s now home to one of the new seven natural wonders of the world, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. 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,” the magazine said.
Meanwhile, Boracay Island got a rating of 82.683, slightly behind Tasmania in Australia (82.691) and a little above Menorca, Spain (82.643).
“This itty-bitty island [10 square miles] in the Western Philippines is as close to the tropical idyll as you’ll find in the Philippines, with gentle coastlines and transporting sunsets. Add in a thriving nightlife scene, and you have one of the top tourist spots in the region. Pro tip: The aptly named White Beach is Boracay’s main draw, with powdery white sand and shallow azure water ideal for swimming and snorkeling,” Conde Nast said.
The top 30 islands were Palawan, Philippines; Kiawah Island, South Carolina; Maui, Hawaii; Kauai, Hawaii; Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique; Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands, Australia; Santorini & Cyclades, Greece; St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands; Kangaroo Island, Australia; Big Island, Hawaii; Tasmania, Australia; Boracay, Philippines; Menorca, Spain; Bermuda; Sea Island, Georgia; Oahu, Hawaii; Bali, Indonesia; Moorea, French Polynesia; Maldives; Öland, Sweden; Skiathos & Sporades, Greece; Prince Edward Island, Canada; Frisian Islands, Germany; British Virgin Islands; Bora Bora, French Polynesia; Anna Maria Island, Florida; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Isle of Palms, South Carolina; Vancouver Island, Canada; and Aquidneck Island (Newport), Rhode Island.