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Inside GRID Issue 03

In our desire to tell the full story of the Philippines, we turn our radar towards its urban side, particularly three Philippine cities – Makati, Cebu, and Dumaguete – that stand out for the loyalty they have inspired in their residents, cities that represent the vibrancy and dynamism, the joyous chaos, of urban life.

ON THE COVER BadKiss at The Peninsula Manila photographed by Sonny Thakur

I think my energy is part of the Makati energy. I live here, I DJ here, I go out here, and I meet many people here. The energy that I contribute to it is more easy-going, carefree and come-as-you-are.


SHOOT FIRST with Jake Verzosa

GRID EATS. A Tiki-inspired cocktail, created by EDSA-BDG‘s Jericson Co.

GUEST ON GRID. Poems about places, dreams, distance and longing, from Harris Guevara.

FIT TO TRAVEL Here’s a quick yoga sequence you can do, even while on the road.

Q&A with champion sport bike freestyle rider Aaron Colton.

WHATS IN YOUR BAG. Self-professed geek Ibba Bernardo opens his bag, and all sorts of wonderful things spill out.

DRIVE BY. The ladies of GRID take the new Ford EcoSport to Tagaytay.


THE CITY: A LOVE STORY. Loyalists make a case for why you should visit Makati, Cebu or Dumaguete.

MAKATI. Kristine Fonacier talks about Makati’s busy belly, to the exciting underground that thrives on the creative energy of artists.

DUMAGUETE. The gateway to Negros Oriental offers both the practicalities of urban living, and a rustic charm that appeals to artists, writers and tourists.

CEBU. The home of the world’s tastiest roast pig is also one of the country’s most developed cities.


WILD BUNCH. We join Manila’s cafe racers on a wild ride through Circuit Makati.

GEAR. Here are some of the best equipment to help you survive the concrete jungle.



Welcome to our Urban Travel Issue.

The focus on our cities may come as somewhat of a surprise, since we’ve cast out further afield for our first couple of issues, and because cities—especially Philippine cities—aren’t top of mind when it comes to picking out a travel destination. When people talk about the beauty of the country, when we point to the “more fun” of the Philippines, we usually look away from the cities almost as a matter of course.

In fact, we introduce our features on Makati, Cebu, and Dumaguete with an acknowledgement of the many shortcomings of Metro Manila. Travel is usually undertaken specifically to get out of the city, and not to run into the traffic- choked arms of another one.

This magazine has always been about the Philippines, and about its many faces. The easy way out would simply be to say that we cannot claim to be a magazine about the Philippines without also paying attention to its urban side.

But there is more to it than that. If we really and truly examine our feelings, we find that we really do love our cities. How could we not? Live in a city, and you become shaped by it. No wonder there is a wealth of literature about cities: It’s the omnipresent character in all of our stories, the invisible presence that either nurtures us, or thwarts our dreams at every turn. We’re attracted to it and repulsed by the city, true; but that kind of emotional tug- of-war also makes us deeply loyal to it.

In this issue, we take a look at three Philippine cities, out of the country’s 144. These three stand out because their loyalists have told us (repeatedly, and with lots of fervor) what excellent places they are to visit, and to live in. We tell their stories, too, in the same way that their residents experience them—through their places and their people, in fragments and in images, all together forming the ineffable spirit of the place.

That said, our bold choices for these three “best cities” named here, of course, are purely subjective—we fully understand and expect the loyalists of other cities to chime in and argue us down. (Perhaps “most beloved” cities would keep us out of trouble, but that makes us sound like we’ve read one too many Rudyard Kipling stories.) In that case, we hope that readers will also take our feature for what it is: a celebration not just of the individual cities, but of the vibrancy and dynamism, of the joyous chaos, of urban life.

Editor at Large

The Urban Issue: GRID curated products

GRID X Gouache

The story on the collaborative effort between Gouache and GRID to create the ultimate photographer’s bag. The GRID X Gouache Photographer’s Bag was released during the launch event for the urban issue, along with a set of other GRID designed and curated products. You can still make your order at

Video by Fuguwi Collective
Scoring by Ignacio Cuyegkeng

GRID X Straightforward Clothing

The story on the partnership between Straightforward Clothing and GRID Magazine, and their collaborative work. The GRID X SF Baseball Tee was released during the launch event for the urban issue, along with a set of other GRID designed and curated products. Check out more of Straightforward Clothing at

Video by Fuguwi Collective
Scoring by Ignacio Cuyegkeng



Chinggay Labrador

Chinggay Labrador is a freelance writer for several publications in Manila and overseas. An architect by profession, she loves to travel, dabble in design, bake brownies, bike, surf, practice yoga, and contribute to her family’s blog, She has released three novels, and has two works of fiction coming out soon. Chinggay is also a yoga instructor at Urban Ashram Manila. Follow her on Twitter @superrrfudge.


Jake Verzosa

Jake Verzosa is a freelance photographer based in Manila. His work as a fashion and commercial photographer has given him a chance to expand his craft and has taken him to outside destinations around the region. He has traveled extensively around Southeast Asia and considers his documentaries and portraits as his personal work. He owns two Vespas, two big bikes, and is travelling to Paris in November.


Bianca Natola

Bianca Natola is a 25-year-old photographer from Manila. She learned how to take photos by chasing her daughter around with a less-than-functional DSLR. She now loves to document her travels, bits of daily life and whatever it is she’s obsessed about. Right now, she is on the lookout for the perfect croissant.


Christine V. Lao

Christine V. Lao is a lawyer, poet, and one-time chief of staff for a justice of the Supreme Court. She was introduced to Dumaguete when she became a fellow of the Silliman National Writers’ Workshop, and has since returned a number of times to see how the city has thrived over the years. She is currently trying to finish her Master’s in Creative Writing at U.P. Diliman before it finishes her off.


Catherine Byun

Catherine Byun is a freelance illustrator who has the good fortune of splitting her time between Manila and San Francisco. When she’s not jet lagged, she enjoys swimming with sharks, arm wrestling in biker bars, and drawing pretty pictures. You can see her portfolio at and follow her blog at


Cru Camara

Cru Camara is a young color-crazed photographer with a deep appreciation for the quirky and unconventional. She spends a great deal of time listening to music and drooling over photo books she can’t afford. For more of her work, visit


Harris Guevarra

Harris Guevarra is a businessman, founding partner of communications agency Drink/Asian Sustainability Initiative, digital marketing firm P&H, medical network Pinoymed, and Uno Morato. Harris also writes poetry. His first book of poems is forthcoming from High Chair.