By Sab

Visiting the Philippines is big fun. Perfect beaches. Friendly locals. Beautiful nature.

Plus, it's a cheap country to travel, you'll get a great value for your money. 

10 Reasons why you should travel to the Philippines... Photo: White Beach, Boracay. Philippines 2012 © Sabrina Iovino |

I've been four times to the Philippines and spent in total more than eight months there and hell... This place blew my mind :o Whenever I meet travelers, I encourage them to go to Philippines, because for some reasons, people are still hesitant and stick to the ordinary "Thailand-Laos-Cambodia-Vietnam Route". Don't miss out on such an amazing country!! In my opinion, Philippines is better than all of these countries together. And I tell you why!  



The hospitality of Filipinos is incomparable to the rest of the world.

In my experience, from all the Asians I have met, Filipinos are the most kind and friendly people, extremely welcoming and curious, but also respectful. They always seem happy and smiling, and they love to sing and to dance whenever there is an occasion to celebrate. 


10 Reasons why you should travel to the Philippines... Photo: Locals in Banaue. Philippines 2013 © Sabrina Iovino |

I don't feel like a walking wallet in the Philippines and getting in touch with locals and becoming friends with them is much easier over there than in other countries. If I look in my Facebook, I think by now I have more friends from Philippines than from my own country. I'm still in touch with many Filipinos I met during my trips, many of them I met again or even traveled together. They turned out as faithful, kind and caring friends. To sum it up, I love them! 


Philippines is one of the largest island groups in the world with 7,107 islands.

El Nido, Palawan. Philippines 2012 © Sabrina Iovino |

Philippines islands and beaches are ... Heaven. Paradise. Amazing. No kidding. I hardly found better beaches in the world than there. The queen of all the beaches is probably White Beach in Boracay, constantly rated as one of the Top 10 beaches of the world. I wouldn't say it's the best one, but certainly the most famous one.

If you are into white sandy beaches and turquoise crystal-clear waters, you're in the right country. Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands. It's not hard to find your dream beach or a pristine island over there and having it all for yourself... 

Here some more images, click to enlarge!



Get lost in one of the biggest shopping malls in the world.

When I noticed all the giant shopping malls in Manila, I had a feeling that Filipinos must be crazy about shopping. Later I figured out that shopping is also a way of family gathering for them. Or as one of my Filipina friends says: "They come for the air conditioning."


Anyway, shopping in the Philippines can be quite a worthwhile experience. The country is known by many as a great handicraft center. Manila has fantastic shopping opportunities. There are a lot of places to go and it all depends on what you intend to buy, and how much is your budget. 



SM City North EDSA, located in Quezon City is the biggest mall in South East Asia, SM Mall of  Asia in Pasay is the 2nd largest mall in the Philippines after SM City North EDSA, and the 4th largest shopping mall in the world. Boutiques, supermarkets, fashion outlets, restaurants of all kinds, coffee shops, movie theaters and 3D cinemas, Internet cafes, Spas, you will find everything there to entertain yourself for a whole day.


If you look for something like a flea market, check out Greenhills Shopping Center  in San Juan, loads of stalls with DVDs, antiques, jewelry and pearls and of course cheap fake branded clothes.


Philippines has one of the most diverse wildlife in the world.

Philippines is home of a diverse range of birds, plants, animals and sea creatures. There are nearly 200 mammal species in the Philippines. The Philippine Tarsier is one of the smallest (and cutest!) species of monkeys in the world. You will find more than 600 species of birds, over 300 species of reptiles and amphibians and at least 400 coral species. From the giant whale shark to the world's smallest fish (Pandaca pygmea), everything you can dream of is united in the beautiful islands of the Philippines.

Philippines has some stunning surroundings, the fantastic Chocolate Hills in Bohol, the Rice Terraces in Banaue, the incredible Archipelago of El Nido. You can climb one of the 37 volcanoes, for example the Mount Pinatubo, or see the world's smallest volcano of Taal. You can discover caves, lakes and waterfalls. If you love nature, you will love the Philippines.


The Rice Terraces in Banaue. Philippines 2013 © Sabrina Iovino |


The average yearly temperature is around 26.6°C.

Luckily, the weather in the Philippines does not reach a point of extreme hot or extreme cold temperatures, so you can easily adapt to the tropical weather. The best time to go is between November and May.


Perfect day for swimming in Siquijor. Philippines 2012 © Sabrina Iovino |

They also have a monsoon season over there and loads of rain between June and October. But honestly, I don't care, it wouldn't stop me from going there if I would have a chance. Nothing is more magical than swimming in the sea on a rainy day, the sun shines through the clouds and the water is 30°C... Anyway, the weather is pretty much unpredictable since global warming.


06 | FOOD

"What? The food?" You might ask...

Well, I know, Filipino cuisine is not that famous around the globe, and I have to admit, I've never seen a Filipino restaurant outside of the country. BUT that doesn't mean the food tastes bad, not at all! Filipinos love their food and there are a lot of things worth trying! It probably describes it best to say, Filipino food is a mix of Malay, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and American cuisine. Check this out:

  • Calamansi juice, made of a citrus fruit.

  • Philippines has too many bananas, they invented a new type of ketchup: the Banana ketchup.

  • Halo-Halo, a delicious dessert made of milk, kidney beans, fruits and ice cream. Too much for one, so please share (with someone nice)!

  • Be brave and try Balut, a boiled egg with an underdeveloped duck (embryo) inside!

  • Pancit, types of noodles with veggies and meat.

  • Sinigang, a tamarind based sour soup.

  • Barbecue sticks of chicken/pork intestines.

  • Adobo, a dish with chicken, beef or pork cooked with vinegar and soy sauce.

A plate of wonderful fresh sea food, shrimps, crab and shell. Philippines © Sabrina Iovino | via @Just1WayTicket

All the fruits in Philippines are simply mouth-watering, you can have them everywhere fresh and cheap: pineapples, coconuts, mangoes, durians (smells like hell, but tastes like heaven), papayas and so much more... 


If you love fresh seafood, from lobster to crabs, tiger prawns, octopus, you will find it all for very low prices. And if that all doesn't appeal to you, don't worry, you'll find almost any kind of food, from Thai-Food to Sushi, Indian Food, Pizza and Pasta, Burger, German Bakeries, you will find those places in Manila, Cebu and of course, in Boracay :)


A place where Rhum is cheaper than juice.

Photo taken at Kermit Surf and Dive Resort in Siargao. Philippines 2013 © Sabrina Iovino |

The prices for booze in Philippines are lower than in most countries I have been. Whenever you order a Rhum with juice, you can be sure to get a good mix as the juice might be more expensive than the Rhum. :)


Definitely a must-try is the Red Horse beer! Stronger than normal beer, but nobody actually knows how much stronger, since it's not written on the bottle. In a supermarket, a 0,5l bottle cost 20 pesos (a half US Dollar).

A bottle of Tanduay Rhum cost 1 US Dollar. My favorite Rhum is the Boracay Coconut Rum, watch out for the white bottle, looks like Malibu. It's very delicious mixed with pineapple juice. Get your 0,7l bottle for only 90 Pesos.


Pamper your body with a good massage.

Beach Massage in Boracay. Philippines 2012 © Sabrina Iovino |

One of the greatest things to do in Philippines is pampering your body with a good massage. Massage places and spas are all over the country, from luxury spas to massage ladies on the beach, you will find them almost everywhere. I can highly recommend trying a Swedish massage, it's a full body massage with oil.

The photo above is taken in Boracay, where you get a massage for 350 Pesos/hour at most of the places (around 8 US Dollar). 



Over 90% of the population speaks English.

Kids in Siquijor. Philippines 2012 © Sabrina Iovino |

Big advantage compare to other Asian countries: Almost everybody speaks English in the Philippines, from a 3 year old kid to the 90 year old granny. English is the language of the government, and the preference for written communication, be it in school or business. There are also plenty of English version newspapers and magazines.


Explore the country like a local.

Colorful Jeepney. Philippines 2012 © @Just1WayTicket

Another thing you have to do in the Philippines is riding in or on a jeepney! Why? Because it's fun! It's cheap and it's windy, no need of an air conditioner!
But what are these jeepneys and where do they come from? The U.S troops left old military jeeps back in WW2. The Filipinos opened the back, added two benches, gave them a colorful and unique design, decorative ornaments, flashy paintings, stars, dots and sometimes even extra lights. And just like that, t
he Philippine jeepney became a cultural sign of the country. 

An average jeepney can carry 16 - 20 passengers, two up front next to the driver and 14 - 18 seated in the back facing each other on two benches. Well, that's the normal case, but often you'll see an extra body hanging outside or onto the back, or people even occupy the roof. For some reason, mostly these "outside" passengers are young and male. You will be surprised, how much a jeepney can carry.

To get a sense of the place from the local’s perspective and to see how people interact, Jeepneys are a fantastic way to explore the country. So don't forget to hop on one whenever you have the chance!



Siquijor. Philippines 2013 © Sabrina Iovino |


Need some travel guides, sightseeing tips and destination infos? Have a look at Tripadvisor!

If you need help in finding great accommodation in the Philippines, check out Agoda, I highly recommend them!


Have you been to the Philippines? Please tell me about your experiences! I would love to hear what you think about this beautiful country! If you liked this article, please share!


Thank you for reading.






Sabrina Iovino is the founder of She's half German, half Italian and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe. She feels weird to write about herself in the third person, so she'll switch now. Phew...much better! Let's restart:

Hi, I'm Sab! This is my blog and I write about the things I love. Mostly.


Follow me on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Youtube



Enjoyed this article? Sign up for my Newsletter or follow me on Facebook and get notified about new posts. 


The Ultimate Guide To Siargao (For Non Surfers) |
Falling in Love with a Wonderland called Bohol |
Unspoiled Paradise on Earth - The Archipelago of El Nido |
Boracay on a Budget: A World-Class Island in the Philippines on $23 a day |


comments powered by Disqus


  • timmy(Tuesday, 15 January 2013 08:14)

    Cool pictures. But white beach in Boracay depends when you go. im sitting in front of it right now and there's so much seaweed that it's looks far from inviting.

  • #46

    Rae(Saturday, 12 January 2013 10:02)

    Great blog, I am heading there in 2weeks. :) Think I am going to try and get all the things you mentioned. Thanks for the great info.

  • JimdoPro

    Just One Way Ticket(Wednesday, 02 January 2013 13:00)

    Salamat Josef, I feel flattered :) Don't think I'm popular, let's see when I get back to your country in 2 months :)
    Actually I'm already busy to write an article about how to spend 21 days in Philippines, like the perfect itinerary for travelers. So stay tuned. Thanks for reading my blog :)

  • #44

    Josef(Wednesday, 02 January 2013 12:13)

    You're very popular now in Facebook at least in my country the Philippines for this wonderful blog. I wish I could travel and visit its many islands as much as you have. Why not write your experiences from specific places? We would love to hear it from a foreigner's perspective.

  • #43

    Alexey(Wednesday, 02 January 2013 03:09)

    Nice post and great start! Good luck!
    I am going to visit in April. Looking forward to.
    Unfortunately "sin taxes" were just introduced in Philippines. Taxes on tobacco and alcohol were increased right before New Year.

  • #42

    Diana J. Limjoco(Sunday, 30 December 2012 22:50)

    Hello very sorry for the gender mixup!! I didn't read all your blog and didn't realize you are a girl!! All the more amazing. Safe travels to you always.
    I have changed it on my blog as well.


  • JimdoPro

    Just One Way Ticket(Sunday, 30 December 2012 14:06)

    Thanks for the links. Looking forward to discover Bacolod when I come back in March! I'll follow your blog! :)

  • #40

    tamlynjoy(Sunday, 30 December 2012 08:38)

    Among the many cities in the Philippines, Bacolod is the city that I loved the most.

    Try to read our blogs to discover more about Bacolod and the rest of the great cities in the Philippines.

  • #39

    Raphaelina(Sunday, 30 December 2012 04:40)

    Thank you for featuring our beautiful country. Mabuhay ka!

  • #38

    Suzette Garay(Saturday, 29 December 2012 13:38)

    The best tasting beer (San Miguel) is in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental....according to San Miguel people themselves.... the water quality makes Bacolod-made beer the best tasking in all San Miguel breweries.

  • JimdoPro

    Just One Way Ticket(Saturday, 29 December 2012 11:59)

    Hi Gene Aussie, I never felt like that about the airport in Manila. Well, it's definitely not my favorite airport, but there are some nice cafes and free WIFI, so I never thought about complaining it. If I think about the worst airports I have ever stayed, immediately Jakarta pops up in my head. In the whole airport I couldn't find any socket to charge and use my laptop. That was very annoying.

  • #36

    Gene Aussie(Saturday, 29 December 2012 04:00)

    Good article. One thing that really needs to be addressed is the awful airport. Every airport is the face of the country, a first impression. MNL (or the godawful name they changed it to) is honestly a very bad first impression. It's an awful airport with crap amenities and dirty toilets. The tourism folks need to really take a long hard look at the airport and compare it to other airports to fully understand that it is very much subpar and unacceptable if they are trying to drive repeat visitors. Make travel easier, friendly, and pamper your tourists. They'll be back guaranteed.

  • #35

    Vito(Friday, 28 December 2012 20:04)

    Yes, I have to say the Filipino hospitality is amazing, I have already 8 months living here and they are friendly. Always they will help you and make you feel like in home, so far I don't have "homesick" xD

    And about alcohol, yes, very good point, it is crazy that fact... " rum is cheaper than juice" if that happen in my country, we would be drunk all the time!

    Very nice blog!

  • #34

    jennyvi(Friday, 28 December 2012)

    love love it!! thank u for letting the world know how it is "MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES".<3

  • #33

    Jerald Lepon(Friday, 28 December 2012 13:05)

    This is really amazing,thank you for sharing this thing to everybody,hugs from finland <3

  • JimdoPro

    Just One Way Ticket(Thursday, 27 December 2012 08:54)

    Hi Mariah! Thank you for the comment! For most of my photos I used my Canon EOS 1100D, some of them are taken with my old Panasonic Lumix Z3.

  • #31

    Lady Mariah(Wednesday, 26 December 2012 04:44)

    You took really beautiful picture. Mind to share what brand was it?

  • #30

    Kareen Mills(Tuesday, 25 December 2012 22:09)

    I'm so happy about this post! Thank you!

  • #29

    Misstraveler(Sunday, 23 December 2012 10:14)

    I sort of already have decided to go to the Phillipines, you just made me even more sure of my decision :)

  • #28

    Yannah(Wednesday, 19 December 2012 09:38)

    Wow! This is a great post! Thank you for featuring our country!

  • #27

    Angel(Wednesday, 19 December 2012 09:28)

    Love it!!

  • #26

    wine(Wednesday, 19 December 2012 07:16)

    thank you for making this and for loving our country..the more reason why we Filipinos also love sharing our beautiful country to the rest of the world is because of genuine people like you

  • #25

    ivy(Wednesday, 19 December 2012 04:40)

    i like the " free airconditioning" hahah! this is great ;)

  • #24

    Rachelle(Wednesday, 19 December 2012 02:07)

    great article!

  • #23

    two sides of the coin(Wednesday, 19 December 2012 00:06)

    if and only if the peace and security situation gets to an acceptable average least.

  • #22

    Max(Tuesday, 18 December 2012 17:18)

    going there next year for the third time. after reading that: can't wait any longer.

  • #21

    iosif(Tuesday, 18 December 2012 01:15)

    i never felt more proud of my country when a foreigner speaks highly about it...thank you so much and the article is a great work!keep it coming!

  • #20

    Gerard(Monday, 17 December 2012 17:10)

    Wow! Very well said! Suddenly I feel so proud to be a Pinoy (as if I'm not every single day!) These are exactly my sentiments and I hope anyone who reads this will really consider coming here! Hope to meet you if ever you come back here. Cheers!

  • #19

    Jules Mariano(Monday, 17 December 2012 15:43)

    wow! :) I love this writeup about my country. :) I hope the next time you visit here I could meet you in person and personally thank you about helping promote the Philippines. Glad you enjoyed your stay!

  • #18

    Felicitas Real Naguit(Monday, 17 December 2012 11:30)


    Thank you for your beautiful description of our beloved country. Other nationalities preferred Thailand or Malaysia but once in the Philippines they found out so many good things about our country and people. In fact, we are adaptable to any kind of situations be it in our country or outside. We are famous all over the world for being the best seafarer, domestic helpers, call center agents, etc... but most of all the most lovable.

  • #17

    Lorna Comia(Monday, 17 December 2012 08:01)

    Highly's true no other place in Asia can replace the FUN in "WOW PHILIPPINES"...I hope the same hospitality treatment we can get on our neighboring Asian countries....

  • #16

    Susan Mae Detera(Monday, 17 December 2012 07:27)

    Wow, thank you for have captured everything about my country...makes me proud to be a Filipino....hope you visit our province, Albay where the perfect cone Mayon volcano is located.....enjoy your travels

  • #15

    Eric(Monday, 17 December 2012 06:04)

    Your blog is amazing! The Philippine Department of Tourism owes you! :-)

  • #14

    geneviere(Monday, 17 December 2012 05:51)

    Wow. I suddenly turned misty. I suddenly missed the Phippines.

  • #13

    yogadproudtraveler(Monday, 17 December 2012 04:39)

    Nice! nice! #7 I find it funny but true, alcohol is cheap here in the Philippines. One of my foreign friend always say "your bottle of beer is not even a dollar! and I can drink every beer i want"!

    I love your article!

    From Philippines

  • #12

    photoblogger(Monday, 17 December 2012 00:22)

    you are awesome!! :-D love this article! Do lemme know when you are around cebu. Id be very happy to take you around :-D

  • #11

    Gabz(Sunday, 16 December 2012 21:32)

    I was smiling the whole time while reading this. :)

  • #10

    Claire(Sunday, 16 December 2012)

    You're honest and witty writing (plus the pictures) make me wanna book tickets right now! It's true what you said about filipinos, very easy going and they always know how to have a good time. Will surely take note of this, thanks!

  • #9

    Brenna(Sunday, 16 December 2012 21:21)

    This made me smile. Thank you for your great support in the Philippines. Let me know if you're ever back in the PH. :) I think every Filipino owes you a beer.

  • JimdoPro

    Just One Way Ticket(Sunday, 16 December 2012 09:51)

    Thanks for all the feedback guys :) You make me very happy!

  • #7

    JR(Sunday, 16 December 2012 08:28)

    Great one. However, on food: You don't see much of pork intestines on skewers. Most popular would be chicken intestines, chicken wings and breast, pork skin and fat, pork ears....on a stick

  • #6

    Nikita(Sunday, 16 December 2012 07:00)

    Awesome entry!

  • #5

    Maey(Saturday, 15 December 2012 12:35)

    Its more fun in the Phlippines... Thank you so much for this!

  • #4

    Valentina(Tuesday, 11 December 2012 15:16)

    Very interesting article and so colourful :)
    Keep on writing, Sabrina :)

  • #3

    Aileen Escoltos Forde(Tuesday, 11 December 2012 01:37)

    This is an amazing article, thanks so much you made me more proud of my country :)

  • #2

    Ander(Monday, 10 December 2012 22:19)

    ich will dahin !!
    Du bringst mich noch dazu den Kessel zu verlassen ......
    via one way ticket :)

  • #1

    Alizarin(Monday, 10 December 2012 18:09)

    Beautiful blog, beautiful photos, and beautiful times we had at the philippines! <3