Pinoy At Heart

Italian Filmmaker on Philippine Vacation: "We've Felt like Home..."

Choose Philippines
Choose Philippines | Mar 09, 2016

In 2015, a group of Italian filmmakers and travelers visited the Philippines for the first time. The exact destination? Coron, Palawan. Set duration? One month. At least, that's what Fabio Reitano and his friends Giuseppe Lombardi, Filippo Golin, and Gianluca Agostini had in mind. After witnessing the most breahtaking sunset in Coron, however, they ended up extending their stay for another month and exploring the rest of the country with their cameras—ready to share what they captured to the whole world.

Choose Philippines shared their stunning video last week and their Vimeo clip garnered almost 33,000 views as of writing. Keen on learning more about the guy behind the cam, we asked Fabio a few questions. Read on and find out what he thinks of our home.

 

1) Tell us about yourself and your life as a traveler.

I've started travelling when I was quite young, during my first trip around Europe I was almost 20 years old. Easy to guess, I got addicted very soon! 

I was studying Direction in Rome, but I was always on the move for some reason or another. I also played and toured with a couple of bands for several years, driving all across EU and beyond. Then, after some other years spent working for cinema and TV, my coworkers/friends and I realized we wanted to travel as a job, at any cost! So, about one year ago, we came up with this WOW TAPES idea. We've been roaming around several countries in the past months, and we all decided the Philippines was the perfect start.

 


2) Which Philippine island was your first destination? 

My very first contact with the Philippines was in October 2015. I landed in Manila after spending a few weeks reading every possible article about the country. Roaming around the capital was absolutely worth the stop, but my aim was to reach Coron. Best choice ever. I guess I wasn't really prepared for those limestone landscapes! 

Sometimes even filming was tough, we just wanted to enjoy the view. Nature was overwhelming and sunsets were breathtaking, we've got our best sunset shot ever in Coron. Last but not least, as every good Italian, we started chasing food, we've tried every single version of adobo and lugaw there!

 

 

 

3) What other places in the Philippines have you explored?

We were supposed to stay for just one month in the Philippines, and we ended up extending our visa for another month. We've travelled Luzon, Visayas, Palawan, Mindanao, Cebu, Leyte, Samar, Bicol, Bohol, Mindoro. 

It might sound weird, but I haven't been to Boracay yet. It's hard to talk about my favourites, since i enjoyed them in completely different ways. North Luzon was incredible. In Kalinga, we've had one of the most memorable experiences of our lives. Then Camiguin, in Mindanao, is absolutely worth a mention, perfect portrait of the perfect volcanic island (and being there during the Lanzones Festival was priceless). Albay province was historically interesting and very developed. And well, Palawan itself, especially the small and quite Port Barton, was really astonishing!

 

4) Why should people choose the Philippines? 

Not mentioning the nature and the beauty of the country, which is largely discussed like everywhere nowdays, I have a very personal point of view on why people should choose the Philippines. This country is one of kind, quite different from the most classic idea of Asia people have in the West. The mixture of different cultures is immense, you find yourself visiting churches instead of temples, hundreds years old colonial towns instead of pagodas, while in the south you have mosques. Food is amazing, the choice is vast (sweets, bread, bakeries, cakes are a big deal, unlike in the rest of Asia) and it's a very important part of Filipino everyday life. Locals are amazingly friendly and impossible not to get along with. 

I guess Filipino attitude is kind of similar to the Italian one, we've felt like home during every minute of our stay there. So, for my part, I've chosen the Philippines for their unicity.

 

With a country as beautiful as ours, it's not anymore a surprise that foreigners from around the whole world has fallen in love with it. Maybe, one day, we'll be as amazed as they are!

Watch Fabio's Philippine adventure here:

 

(All photos courtesy of Fabio Reitano.)


Other Foreigners Who Chose the Philippines:
1) Californian Traveler: "The warmth and openness of Filipinos stood out for me"

2) Slovakian Backpacker Gets Lucky, Flies Solo in a Philippine Private Jet

3) Australian Guy Who's Been to 37 Countries Calls Philippines "The Most Beautiful"
(Photo courtesy of Alexander Sherack)
 
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