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 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: 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.
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 one 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.
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 sun screen 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. 😀
L O V E .
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, Philippines is her favorite country, she has been 5 times here already and is planning already to come back soon. Currently, she is Berlin to visit friends and family. Get to know Sabrina more on her blog: www.justonewayticket.com!