Despite the environmental woes that prompted its six-month closure, Boracay was recently listed among Asia’s top 25 beaches rankings of an American travel website.

TripAdvisor ranked Boracay’s White Beach 9th among 25 others for the four-kilometer main beach’s “calm, warm waters, gently sloping sand, very relaxing [environment]… possibly the most beautiful beach in Asia.”

ALWAYS PARADISE Tourists throng Boracay Island, which has not lost its reputation as one of the world’s best destinations. BORACAY INFORMATION BUREAU

Yapak Beach (Puka Shell Beach) of Boracay Island also took the 25th spot.

Two other Philippine beaches also made it to this year’s elite list.

These are Nacpan Beach at 13th, and Las Cabañas Beach at 22nd, both in El Nido, Palawan.

In a recent top 50 best beaches in Asia by Flight Network, nine beaches in the country were recognized, with the Hidden Beach in El Nido, Palawan ranked as No. 1.

Boracay, however, was not in the list. In 2018, the White Beach was listed second best beach in Asia.

The Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) said the ranking was a testament to Boracay’s enduring reputation and beauty despite its closure last year.

“This means that Boracay was able to hit the ground running upon its reopening. That’s a testament to [its] reputation and beauty, that despite everything, it was listed as one of the top destinations in the region,” TCP president Jose Clemente 3rd told reporters.

The TripAdvisor’s list ranked Radhanagar Beach in Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands the top beach in Asia, while Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida, Bali, came in second. Nai Harn Beach in Thailand got the third spot and Agonda Beach in India took fourth place.

Bentota Beach in Sri Lanka was ranked 5th, PhraNang Cave Beach in Ao Nang, Thailand, placed 6th, Varca Beach of India came in 7th, Karon Beach of Thailand took the 8th spot and Ngapali Beach of Myanmar was ranked 10th.

‘Strike a balance’

Clemente said now that Boracay is 90 percent operational, the government and the private sector has become strict in implementing environmental laws and ordinances.

In a recent bulletin from the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, 320 more tourism establishments and hotels have been allowed to operate on the island, which brings a total of 11,662 rooms available for booking.

“The problem before was less of the influx of visitors in Boracay but more on inefficient enforcing of those ordinances and laws. This time, despite the influx of tourists, the element of sustainability will still be there,” Clemente said.

He, however, explained that accessibility to the island remains inadequate because of limited flights.

“But now I think maybe they (airlines) have to rethink it because airfares are now high, but people are still going. So it’s still a viable destination,” Clemente said.

Boracay reopened on October 26 after a six-month clean-up and rehabilitation ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The TripAdvisor’s ranking of beaches was determined by the quality and quantity of reviews and rankings for beach destinations, restaurants, hotels, attractions on the islands and traveler booking interest.