Monday, January 07, 2013

Philippines is highly-recommended destination by travel magazines for 2013

View on the way up to Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan
The Philippines is the destination to visit for 2013! That's according to three popular international travel publishers. And they have nothing but good words about our island paradise.

Condé Nast Traveller included the Philippines in its top ten Destinations to watch in 2013. The article reads, "For travellers willing to go the extra thousand miles for a deserted beach, the Philippines has around 7,000 of the most heavenly islands in the world. It's still not the most obvious beach-holiday destination, but it soon will be."

Alona Beach in Panglao Island, Bohol
Among the recommended destinations are Bicol, Siargao, Palawan and even Manila! They add, "Sorry, Maldives... We love you, but we've got a new flame."

Willie's Rock in Boracay Island, Aklan
Travel + Leisure Magazine named the Philippines as part of its Hottest Travel Destinations of 2013. The article recommends resorts in Boracay, Panglao and El Nido. Just last year, Boracay topped the same magazine's survey for best island in the world for its 2012 World's Best Awards!

Looking out of the Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Lonely Planet chose Palawan to be part of its Best in Travel 2013 - Top 10 regions. Dubbed as the "ultimate archipelago for adventurers," they recommend Palawan for off the beaten track, adventure and culture.

They write, "Palawan incorporates thousands of sparkling, rugged islands and is fringed by 2000km of pristine coastline. So far Palawan’s natural marvels have only been sampled by plucky backpackers. Not for much longer. The trail these pioneers have blazed is set to explode, with regional airlines waking up to Palawan’s potential and clambering to schedule direct flights to the capital. Throw in the mushrooming growth of style-conscious boutique hotels normally found in places like Ko Samui or Bali, and you can feel that Palawan is ready to hit the big-time in 2013."

Boracay Island's White Beach (Station 1)
Also part of Best in Travel 2013 is a guided trek of Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park in its Best places to do something new. In particular, the article recommends the Philippines to see the newest animal which can be found in the park. They write, "What’s two metres long, lives in the trees and has a double penis? Varanus bitatawa, of course. The enormous monitor lizard, though well-known to local tribes (who consider it tasty eatin’), was only identified by scientists in 2009. A herbivorous relative of the komodo dragon, it’s about as close to a dinosaur as you’re going to get." DOT should definitely start developing our nature trails!

Dazzling sunset seen from the shores of Boracay Island
Lonely Planet also included the Philippines in its top ten best beach hotspots and top ten classics for castaways island destinations.

We almost scored a grand slam. But unfortunately, National Geographic Traveler left us out this year. Palawan already made their Inaugural Best Trips List in 2011 (at least we were top of mind). But with great recommendations from these equally reputable travel magazines, I'm sure they'll rediscover us this year and include a new Philippine destination in their 2014 list.

Batad Rice Terraces in Banaue, Ifugao, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Historic Town of Vigan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
I'm actually hoping better accommodation in the Ifugao Rice Terraces and Vigan will get them noticed too. Hint to investors out there! These places have potential and need first class accommodation.

So make that trip to our islands because It's more fun in the Philippines!

Update (01/12/2013): We're on a roll! The New York Times included the Philippines in The 46 Places to Go in 2013.

They write, "Idyllic white sand beaches, secluded, little-known surf towns, and pristine reefs are among the natural draws of this country made up of over 7,000 tropical islands. Now in addition to the more upscale choices cropping up in former backpacking enclaves like Boracay, there is a new generation of luxury hotels opening even further afield. The new Dedon Island resort on Siargao, for example, is close to one of the world’s best surf breaks, Cloud 9 (Kelly Slater is a fan), and has an outdoor cinema along with spa and paddle board classes. And the private island resort of El Nido Pangulasian opens this month in the Unesco biosphere of Palawan, right by some of the world’s most pristine diving spots. Although the Philippines has been subject to travel advisories in the past, they mostly focus on Mindanao in the south."

In a customer survey of Agoda.com, with feedback from 113,000 respondents, Boracay was selected as the top destination for seeking out relaxation and tranquility and ranked third in the top ten cities for nightlife. Manila ranked 22nd in the same global survey.

The Philippines was also named as one of the top five Best Tourism Destinations at the 2012 Oriental Morning Post's World Travel - Special Trips Awards held last January 9, 2013.
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