Why Visit the Philippines: Interview with Sabrina Iovino of ‘Just One Way Ticket’

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2013 • 07 • 11

Her love story with the Philippines started in Macau. Weird? Not after you read her story.

Sabrina Iovino, a travel blogger and photographer at www.justonewayticket.com, had already toured Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia when she reached Macau. As fate would have it, a Filipina hosted her and encouraged her to visit the Philippines. In 2009, just a few months later, she booked a ticket to Manila and had an affair with the Philippine Islands. It was just the beginning.

Since then, she has visited the Philippines every year with each stay lasting for two months, and she’s not stopping any time soon. “The Philippines is my favorite country,” she proudly declares. And given that she has visited over 50 countries, that statement surely is saying a lot.

We first met Sabrina online when she published her engaging article about El Nido, Palawan. “The beauty of El Nido is almost surreal,” she shares. “Endless white beaches, crystal clear waters and an underwater world, that will take your breath away. A destination that truly looks like paradise.” On her blog, she has also written about Bohol, which she describes as a destination that “has everything for the perfect getaway!”

sabrina iovino

Sabrina has been gracious to allow us to have her as the first foreign traveler to be featured on PhilippineBeaches.org. The lady is clearly in love! Here’s more of what she has to say about the Philippines!


1. You visited Cebu, Bohol, Boracay, and Palawan (among others). How did you come to choose these islands?

I had a Lonely Planet, haha 🙂 No seriously, it all happens by talking with locals and travelers. Everybody in the Philippines has their favorite places. So after a while I had a whole list of Islands and places I wanted to see.

2. Of all the beaches you’ve visited in the Philippines, which is your absolute favorite?

This is a really hard question. I can say one thing for sure: the Philippines has the most beautiful beaches in the world from my perspective. It’s not hard to find a good one. If I look through my thousands of beach photos, I would say Paliton Beach in Siquijor is a gorgeous one. Also, the beaches around Siargao were lovely. And of course the Archipelago of El Nido. Aaah…you see, there are too many good ones!

By the way, whenever I showed my friends from home photos of Philippine beaches, they can’t believe that this is real.

sabrina iovino siquijor
Sabrina in Siquijor

3. It’s been months since you visited the Philippines. Is there something in particular about this country that stands out in your memory?

The people. Without a doubt, Filipinos are some of the most friendly people I’ve ever met. I’m still in touch with so many of them. In no other country I made so many friendships than there.

4. What is that ONE THING about the Philippines that shocked you or at least caught you off guard?

I was shocked how cheap a bottle of rhum is. I mean less than a dollar? Seriously? 😉 Haha.

No, I never really had a shocking experience. Oh, wait… One word: Balut.

5. How was your experience traveling in the Philippines different from the other countries?

I’m not traveling to other countries anymore 😉 After traveling in the Philippines it’s hard to find again great beaches and lovely people like there. My expectations became simply too high.

sabrina iovino malapascua
Sabrina in Malapascua Island, Cebu

6. We love learning more from first-hand experiences of travelers in the country. Which area do you think the tourism industry in the Philippines certainly has room for improvement?

They don’t need to improve anything, I love your country the way it is. They already “improved” too much in Boracay.

7. Suppose you have a friend who will be visiting the Philippines, what is that ONE TIP that you would tell him to help him prepare for this trip?

Bring a smile and sunscreen and be prepared to drink a lot of rhum and make a ton of new friends.

8. Any plans of returning to the Philippines? If so, which destinations are you eyeing this time around?

Absolutely. I hope I’ll be back by November, I can’t deal with the European winter, even Istanbul where I’m currently living, is getting too cold for me. I really wanna see Camiguin and Guimaras this time, maybe Tawi Tawi one day…

9. Describe Philippine beaches in one word. 😀


sabrina iovino siquijor philippines
Sabrina in Siquijor

Sabrina is almost non-stop traveling since 2008, she has been to more than 50 countries and lived in various places in Asia. Since 2012, Sabrina lives in Istanbul, but she escapes every winter to the Philippines. She says the Philippines is her favorite country, she has been 5 times here already and is planning already to come back soon. Currently, she is in Berlin to visit friends and family. Get to know Sabrina more on her blog: www.justonewayticket.com!

WHY VISIT THE PHILIPPINES is a series of interviews aiming to attract more international visitors to the Philippines.

More Tips on YouTube ⬇️⬇️⬇️


  1. Noel says:

    thanks Yoshke for featuring Sabrina. thanks Sabrina for loving our beaches and appreciating Filipinos.

  2. Mon Juan says:

    I was in Siquijor last year but failed to visit Paliton Beach. I’m not aware of its existence.

  3. Yanni says:

    Hi Sabrina! Thanks for sharing what you have experienced in Philippines. There are many beautiful places in the Philippines and hopefully you will continue sharing your experience with everyone. Many foreigners fascinated with the beauty of the Philippines, one is my husband. Mabuhay Sabrina!

  4. Rose Gabel says:

    Thank you Sabrina for seeing the beauty of my country ( places and people).. You made me more proud of being Filipino…

  5. Kočka says:

    keep going Sabrina, and thanks you and do keep promoting our beautiful islands and beaches!!!!

  6. L.LA ROSA says:

    Whenever we are in vacation here in North America or in Europe, we tried to avoid beaches, because we knew that there is none more beautiful than our own, the Philippines.

  7. Ryan Sunga says:

    The fun never stops there! Please check other areas like calaguas, quezon and islands of bicol region. White sand beaches, no tourists, no locals and no cash needed in the islands. Pure paradise like in the movie “the beach”. I’ve been travelling my own country since 6 grade, and i haven’t reach half of the islands here so far. A lot of the islands hasn’t been explored and named yet. Forgive me if i seemed to be bragging, but it’s really fun here in the Philippines especially if you’re a beach lover… “If your ship doesn’t comes in, stay in the island!” 🙂

  8. aichellematsunaga says:

    hi Sab,i hope next time you visit bicol region specially caramoan and calaguas island,im sure you will love it too.more power

  9. Paul says:

    Hi Sab, you are such an old soul to really, fully appreciate us for what we truly are, warts and all. Enjoy the islands but be careful too. Mabuhay ka!

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