World’s friendliest islands: Phl takes top 4 spots
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - April 27, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  Four Philippine islands, with Palawan as number one, have been voted as the top four friendliest in the world based on a survey by New York-based magazine, Travel + Leisure.

“While the politics of the nation have grown ever-more volatile, the people of the islands remain friendly to visitors exploring their scenic home. For many travelers, it’s especially helpful that English is one of the official languages of the Philippines, and that islanders are so welcoming of tourists,” an article by Jess McHugh posted recently on the magazine’s website read.

Travelers looking for a serene getaway often take to an island, seeking the solace of sun, sand, and sea, according to McHugh, and among the myriad options to choose from, T + L asked people in its annual World’s Best Awards survey to score travel experiences across the globe, evaluating everything from cruise lines and airports to resorts, cities and hotels.

When it came to islands, readers scored the best according to characteristics like romantic charm and the friendliness of the people.

“Some of the more remote islands dominated this year’s list of the world’s friendliest, with spots in the Philippines accounting for all of the top four destinations,” McHugh wrote.

In Palawan, “people are very welcoming, respectful, and friendly,” the magazine quoted one “thrilled T+L reader about their experience” in the place.

“The island’s green-and-turquoise lagoons have long put it on the bucket lists of travelers around the world, and this year it is also the world’s most convivial island destination,” T + L said.

In second spot is Cebu, described by the magazine as “a former Spanish colony, and people still travel to see the remaining architecture.”

“Of course, the helpful locals are one of the island’s greatest qualities,” the magazine noted.

Third is Luzon, “the largest island of the Philippines, home both to coral reefs as well as the capital of the country, Manila,” T + L said, adding “the island is also extremely diverse, making it a dynamic destination for travelers seeking a rich cultural experience.”

Boracay landed in fourth spot and a photo of the beach with its white sand and pristine waters was captioned: “Settle in at a spa or go diving for shipwrecks at this small island, which is just as beloved for its welcoming people as it is for its undeniable beauty.”

“With views like these, it’s hard not to be happy,” the magazine’s tagline for The World’s Friendliest Islands read.

Completing the list of friendliest islands in the world are Waiheke, New Zealand (5th); Ischia, Italy (6th); Tasmania, Australia (7th); Fiji Islands (8th); Bali, Indonesia (9th); Great Barrier Reef Islands (10th); Moorea (11th); Paros, Greece (12th); Bora Bora (13th); Exhumas, Bahamas (14th); and Caye Culker, Belize (15th).

“Travelers in need of a hospitable, personable island retreat should consider this list a definitive guide to the friendliest islands on Earth,” T + L said.         

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