By Marivir Montebon
New York City – When New York-based artist Mona Lunot-Kuker came home to the Philippines after 16 years of being away, she made it a point to treat herself to a grand vacation in Palawan, known as the last frontier in south east Asia. So enamored by the pristine paradise of crystal clear waters, caves, and mountains, she took it upon herself to help a local resident to clean up the beach by picking up garbage.
Where have you been?, asked her friend who together with their other friends, have enjoyed swimming in the splendid turquoise sea.
Mona said shel helped the woman vendor clean up the beach front. I told her every one of the villagers must take care of the beach, because it is so beautiful and it is their source of living. Locals are instrumental in preserving their place, and I helped pick up garbage to say thank you to El Nido, it is so beautiful, she said.
It was not long since then that the radar of the world’s top lifestyle and travel magazine ranked Palawan as the no. 2 best island destination of the world. The Conde Nast Traveler’s 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards, apart from Palawan, named the island of Boracay as the no. 1 choice and Cebu ranked 5th. All three are in the Philippines. The Conde Nast conducted the survey among 300,000 respondents.
Boracay is known for its powdery white sand beaches and coral gardens while Palawan’s underground river in Puerto Princesa is a must-see. The Conde Nast noted that Cebu as an island destination is as lovely as Phuket but more personal.
During the New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob Javits Center on January 27-29, 2017, these anchor destinations were featured in a booth by the Philippine Department of Tourism, headed by Ms. Zeny Pullagna, and Deputy Consul General Felipe Carino III of the Philippine Consulate General New York.
Inquiries into these Philippine tourist destinations have notably grown. Any Filipino here gets proud that the three islands with their breathtaking beaches and landscapes have gained world recognition. (Photos by Oliver Oliveros, Mona Lunot Kuker, Wendell Gaa and Arlene Solis Chua; With a press release from the Philippine Consulate of New York)