Siargao, Boracay, Palawan Are Asia's Best Islands on the Condé Nast Traveler List

Hey, Philippines, give chance to others.
IMAGE Wikimedia Commons - Michael E. Peligro

The verdict is in: your next vacation is closer than you thought.

Condé Nast Traveler has surveyed 429,000 of its readers to find the best islands in the world, separating them by region for the very first time. The good news? The Philippines bagged the top three out of five spots for best islands in Asia. Perennial favorites Boracay and Palawan are still on top, but the surprise is Siargao, which comes in at first place, on the first year that it's ever appeared on the list.

The Philippines has always been on Condé Nast Traveler's much-anticipated annual Reader's Choice list, even before the voting was divided into regions. In 2017 and 2016, the Philippines also bagged the three two spots, with Boracay in first place and Palawan second; Cebu was in the third spot in 2017, and fifth in 2016. Boracay was in the no. 15 spot in 2015, and no. 12 in 2014, while Cebu and the Visayan Islands made it to the top 5 in Asia in 2013.

For the first time, Siargao comes in first place, enticing surfers from all around the world with its promise of sun, sand, and excellent surf breaks. The phrase “on cloud 9” finds its literal expression in Siargao, which is home to Cloud 9, one of the most famous waves world wide. Cloud 9 is described as the “perfect barreling right hand reef break…the fact that it barrels nearly the whole way guarantees satisfaction.” For those of us who don’t speak surf, imagine every perfect wave in Lilo and Stitch.

The fact that the island was closed for rehabilitation doesn’t take away from Boracay's perennial charm. If anything, the rumors of the “new Boracay” are making people antsy for its October 26 reveal


Palawan bags the third spot on the list, where the UNESCO-protected Puerto Princesa provides a breathtaking alternative for those averse to the waves. Come for Puerto Princesa and stay for El Nido’s blue lagoons—if you’re tired of getting sand stuck in places you can’t reach, then kayaking through clear waters while you’re surrounded by lush, green mountains may be your thing. 

Since these three islands are nothing but a plane and/or ferry ride away from you, there’s no reason for you not to visit. Do it now and do it quick, before your second-cousin-thrice-removed who’s currently based in Seattle beats you to it.

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Gaby Flores
Gaby Flores is a contributing writer for Esquire. She likes postcolonial literature and spicy food.
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