MANILA, Philippines — Readers of travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler have chosen  Cebu and Visayas islands as the best in Asia.

“Located in the center of the Philippines, Cebu draws millions of travelers annually for its pristine beaches and diving off the island’s northern coast. Spanish and Roman Catholic influences permeate Cebu City; Basilica Minore del Santo Niño houses a small statue of Christ that was presented by Ferdinand Magellan,” the magazine said in its entry on Cebu in The Best Islands in the World: 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards.

It cited Kawasan Falls, a swimming hole with three waterfalls near Cebu’s southwest coast, as among the popular destinations.

Cebu and Visayas islands were logged as one entry.

Palawan and Siargao ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Boracay, which is also on Visayas islands, was sixth.

The magazine invited 600,000 travelers to vote online for the top islands in Asia, Australia and the South Pacific, the Caribbean and Atlantic, Africa and the Indian Ocean, Europe and North America.

Last year, Boracay bagged the top spot in the best island in Asia category, with Cebu and Visayas islands taking second place and Palawan, fourth spot.

“The Philippines is indeed blessed with the best of nature as exhibited by the consecutive accolades we are receiving from reputable and prestigious publications for our islands and beaches,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

“This latest citation… gives us in the Department of Tourism (DOT) a boost of confidence as we continuously carry out our strategies to gradually reopen domestic tourism to once again welcome travelers from other countries when things become better,” Puyat said.

With more island destinations in the Philippines gaining traction worldwide, she said the challenge for the DOT is to continue advocating sustainable and responsible tourism practices that will help preserve these destinations.

“With over 7,641 islands in our archipelago, there are still so many left for nature-loving travelers to discover,” Puyat said.