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Inside GRID Issue 04

In ISSUE 04, we break down what it means to live the “good life” and discover along the way that it’s not all about money, nice clothes, and a fast ride. It’s about what makes us happy and human; it’s about travel, food, family, and doing good.

ON THE COVER Jenny Rockett photographed by Sonny Thakur

Our boatmen cut the motors of the banca, allowing it to glide silently through the lagoon. No one was ready to speak—or even breathe. We did not want to break the zen-like atmosphere with any form of sound.

I uttered a crisp putang ina under my breath, which Black Pencil Project founder Mon Corpuz must have heard, because he handed me his trekking pole.


SHOOT FIRST with An Estrada.

GRID EATS. Discover the joys of (un)cooking with a raw food chef.

GUEST ON GRID. A young family learns the ways of mountain life.

WHAT’S IN YOUR BAG. A 320 Airbus pilot allows us a rare peek into her flight bag.

FIT TO TRAVEL. Combat cramps and fatigue during long flights with these easy-to-do inflight exercises.

COVET. From yachts to e-scooters— we’ve got luxurious things that are worth every last peso.

DRIVE BY. What’s got 420 horses, a kick-ass soundtrack and three die-hard fans in it? The Mustang on a road trip through Nasugbu.


LUXURY IN A NEW LIGHT. Inclusive, not exclusive: El Nido Resorts redefine luxury by encouraging Interaction with nature and El Nido’s local community.

RITUAL PLEASURES. From carabao butter to wild banana pickles—read about the interesting stories behind some of Ritual’s products.

REBOOT CAMP. What happens when media personality James Deakin decides to fight the battle of the bulge.

SOCIAL CLIMBERS. Lou Albano conquers the mountains to learn how immersive volunteerism is changing lives on both sides.


A FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER. A rock star family spills the secrets on what makes them really happy.

GEAR. Here’s some stuff that is worth every peso on its price tag.



What would you do if you won the lottery tomorrow? I always thought that that was an interesting thought experiment. Would you quit your job? What would you do? And, it almost goes without saying, where would you travel?

It’s a question that’s always nagged away at humans, because it’s one of those questions that makes us face the very nature of our humanity. After all your base needs are met, what would you spend your life on?

(Pardon this sharp turn into geekery, but consider the idea of the Star Trek future. In this imagined Earth, all hunger and all need has been solved by the invention of a machine that could conjure up anything at all. Money is no longer much of issue. Food is plentiful. Scarcity of any sort is a thing of the past. And what did humans do? They focused on scientific progress and on space exploration, on boldly going where no man has gone before.)

This issue was originally meant to be the GRID Luxury issue, because—let’s face it—travel and luxury go hand in hand. But then, we began to debate the idea of luxury. Is it the best and most exclusive resorts in the world? And what does that mean, “best”? Clearly best doesn’t always mean the most expensive thing—priceless always trumps the pricey.

And so we began to think about luxury in a new light. It isn’t about the price tag— it’s about the life that it helps us lead, and the fully realized human beings it helps us be.

Our cover for our renamed and reconceptualized The Good Life issue was shot in El Nido, because here is a resort that brings together so many different facets of “good.” As our executive editor Paco Guerrero observed, any resort can offer a bigger bed or a newer flatscreen TV. But not every resort makes the effort to truly showcase the place it’s in, or to be a genuine boon to the people and to the community that it is now part of. El Nido Resorts shows the way forward for all resorts of its class. (It’s really a Star Trek kind of place, if you think about it.)

But a Good Life also needs more to it than that, by its very definition. The places that Black Pencil Project ends up in, for example, aren’t where most vacationers would go. In fact, our writer for this piece cried and cursed a lot during the assignment—but she’d be the first person to tell you about the transformative nature of that hard trip. I’ve met BPP founder Mon Corpuz a couple of times over the years, and even my limited interaction with him points to a clear, almost physical transformation within the guy. That’s a good life.

And so this issue challenges the narrow definition of luxury. We appreciate money, nice clothes and a fast car as much as the next guy, but that’s not all there is. This issue is dedicated to that ineffable, priceless “everything else” that makes us happy, and that makes us human.

Editor at Large



Tim Serrano

Tim Serrano is a landscape and portrait photographer whose work is motivated by atmospheric scenes and capturing the feel of the moment. He enjoys spending personal time on long drives while taking some images along the way. He’s also an INFP.


Geric Cruz

Geric Cruz is a freelance photographer and videographer based in
Manila. Recently, his residency project Second Star to the Right was chosen to be exhibited at the Delhi Photo Festival in New Delhi, India. The same work was also nominated as a finalist in the 2013 Invisible Photographer Photo Essay Asia Award and The Colorful Guizhou 6th Photo China Original International Photographic Exhibition. He has exhibited his works in Manila, Korea, USA, Singapore, India and China.


Lou Albano

Lou Albano is a writer based in Manila. Until this GRID assignment, she thought she was a rough-and-tumble kind of a gal. In this issue, Lou joined the Black Pencil Project’s trek to Cambulo, Ifugao, where 40 minutes into the trek, she cried. The rest of the time, she cursed like a sailor. But no matter, she’s always up for a trip!


Geloy Concepcion

Geloy Concepcion is a young artist from the Philippines whose works orbit around documentary photography and street art. He is a member of Pilipinas Street Plan, which allows artists like him to emblazon the walls of Manila to provide a deeper understanding of street art. His work has been exhibited locally and internationally. Check our his work at


Kelly Ramos

Kelly Ramos balances freelance writing, painting, and single motherhood as naturally as a trapeze artist who never walked on ground. Known to her friends as Nanay, she has curated shows and organized art projects in the regions; but her biggest accomplishment is raising three boys on her own.


Andrew Deloso

Advertising creative. Bold enough to try anything and smart enough to get away with it. For hook ups, follow him on twitter @andrew69deloso.


Jelito de Leon

Jelito de Leon is a food photographer, visual storyteller, and lover of food. When he is not taking photos of still life and food, he usually takes photos of sceneries and the little details that catch his eye when he goes out of town with his friends. Cambodia, Iceland and Indonesia are just some of the places he would love to explore.