THE popular Fodor’s Travel Guide has put Palawan on its “Go List” in Asia for 2023, describing the province as “The very definition of eco-luxury, [and] one of the Philippines’ most magical islands where underwater worlds meet lush jungles.”
Fodor cited Palawan’s capital Puerto Princesa as “the first carbon-neutral city in South East Asia and is still one of the only few in the region. Not only that, but it is, in fact, carbon-negative. Known as ‘The City in the Forest,’ Puerto Princesa is surrounded by dense trees, and much of it is solar-powered, including the world’s largest solar-powered off-grid shopping mall.”
But it noted that the province’s charms were away from the city, such as “dreamy powdery beaches, lagoons, and swathes of jungle. And underneath the waves lie some of the best diving and snorkeling locations on the planet, where underwater coral cities teem with life.”
Fodor also cites the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, a Unesco World Heritage Site “and the longest navigable underground river on Earth at 8.2 kilometers,” as a must-visit. “Small boats take visitors along the river into the heart of the mountain through the cathedral-like cave system.”
Likewise, it recommends visitors to travel to Coron island as well, “a ferry ride away…[and] home to some spectacular wreck dives in Asia.”
Other Asian sites on Fodor’s Go List include: Ayutthaya, Thailand; Bangladesh; Ho Chi Minh City; Madhya Pradesh, India; and Si Phan Don, Laos. Fodor’s Travel is an 80-year-old travel guide based in Los Angeles. It’s the first time since 2019 that the company published an international Go List.
Fodor’s Travel also issued a “No List” for 2023, “which encourages travelers to reexamine the impacts of tourism and reevaluate where to spend valuable dollars and time…. [These are categorized as] natural attractions that could use a break in order to heal and rejuvenate; cultural hotspots that are plagued with overcrowding and resource depletion; and locations around the world immediately and dramatically impacted by water crises.”
On the list are: France’s Cliffs and Calanques; Lake Tahoe; Antarctica; Venice and Amalfi Coast; Cornwall, England; Amsterdam; Maya Bay, Phi Phi Leh, and Koh Ta Island, in Thailand; Maui; along with the Southern European Watershed, where climate change has resulted in low water levels affecting Malaga and Greece; and the American West, where years of drought have brought down water reservoirs affecting Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah.
‘Resume London-Manila flights’
Meanwhile, Filipinos in the UK appealed for the resumption of direct flights between Manila and London in their meeting with Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco over the weekend. Pioneering flag carrier Philippine Airlines stopped flying the unprofitable route in April 2022, but officially said it was due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
In a news statement, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said some 60 representatives of the Filipino community also urged the sustainability and security in Philippine destinations, requested for the easing the entry requirements into the Philippines, pointed out the need for clean restrooms, as well as cited scams and data privacy concerns. Frasco is in London to attend the World Travel Market from November 7 to 9.
She told the dialogue participants that the DOT is also advocating for more international flights, and has communicated this to Philippine carriers including PAL. “What I can assure you is that the effort will continue,” said Frasco, noting that PAL now has flights between Cebu and Bangkok, and between Cebu and Baguio, due to DOT’s push.