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Inside GRID Issue 05

We talk about Siargao beyond the break, the grand experiment that began on Apo Island, our walk through Taal Heritage Town, a manly Drive By around the island of Cebu, and the unsung heroes working hard to preserve our culture.

ON THE COVER Manuel Melindo photographed by Sonny Thakur

If you have time to visit only one neighboring island, locals will suggest Daku—a twenty- minute banca ride from the market. Where Cloud 9 is rocky, Daku is all blue ocean and white sand.


SHOOT FIRST with Jojo Mamangun

30 MINS WITH Dumaguete’s fabulous Angelo Villanueva.

THREE TAKES. We revisit Tacloban through the lens of three photographers.

GRID EATS. Taste a bit of history with this recipe for tulingan.

WHAT’S IN YOUR BAG. Find out what our friend Pia Artadi takes with her to fight world hunger.

GUEST ON THE GRID. Why James Deakin stopped giving to charity.

DRIVE BY. Agu Paiso and Paco Guerrero take the small but powerful Toyota Wigo on a roadtrip through Cebu City, Carcar, Oslob and Moalboal.


WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT SURFING. Discover the charms of Siargao as Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta explores the teardrop-shaped island.

IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK. We tour Taal Heritage Town in search of the ghosts of the Philippines’ past.

DEFENDERS OF THE LAND. Meet the unsung heroes working hard to save our culture, our trees and our land.

TURNING THE TIDE. Are you having seafood for dinner? You have Dr. Angel Alcala and the fishermen of Apo Island to thank for that.


THE USUAL SUSPECTS. We hold the mother of all feasts for the people who have helped us get to where we are today.

GEAR. Here are some stocking stuers that are way cooler than candy cane and fruit cake.

PARTING SHOT. Past winners of the #GRIDWASHERE hashtag.



Once upon a time, I worked as a volunteer in Guyana, helping groups of disability rights advocates campaign for their issues—for awareness, for change. As you might imagine, this kind of campaign is often a hard battle fought all the way uphill in a developing country like Guyana (or like the Philippines, for that matter). One particularly hard day, I was sweating and shaking my head at the sheer amount of fighting we still had to put in, wondering if any of our work was ever going to bear fruit. One of the young people I was working with put an arm around my shoulder, and said, in the local patois, “Oh, Kristine. Dutty by dutty, we buil’ dam.”

Which meant: Bit of dirt by tiny bit of dirt, we can build a mighty dam.

Which also meant: Together we can do this.

Fast forward to this year, half a globe away from South America, and I’m now working with another kind of advocacy entirely—GRID, which, we’ve promised ourselves, will never be the kind of travel magazine that only shows pretty places, but instead is a passionate advocate for all the beauty and all the struggle that goes into being Filipino. And everywhere we go, we find that this saying is still true.

It’s not always fun in the Philippines, you see. This month also sees us remembering the heartbreak that was Typhoon Yolanda a year ago. Outside of that, there are always disasters, both natural and man-made, lurking around every corner, everything from political corruption to environmental degradation. Yolanda was a howler that got the entire world’s attention, but every day there are scores of quieter tragedies that we somehow survive.

That “somehow” is, well, it’s all of us. Our new section, Three Takes (p. 28), puts the spotlight on the aftermath of Yolanda, through the lens of three photographers who show us the faces of the survivors and the relief workers. There’s a lot of pain in their work, but read between the lines on the faces here, and you’ll also see a lot of determination.

The “somehow” is people like James Deakin, who put his pen and his media following to good use for Yolanda and for causes (“Why I Stopped Giving Money to Charity,” on p. 44). It’s people like Carlito Pizarras, or Bobby Chan, or Oyog Todi, who have devoted their lives to fighting for our natural and cultural heritage (“Defenders of the Land,” p. 90). It’s scientists like Dr. Angel Alcala, who devoted decades of his life to the creation of marine protected areas within our waters. (“Turning the Tide,” p. 98)

This is not heroism—it isn’t about glory, and it isn’t always about the country. Sometimes it’s just doing what’s right, and simply doing what one can. Even if the work amounts to bringing a handful of dirt to the dam, they did it. Sometimes showing up is half the battle won.

Editor at Large

The Usual Suspects: GRID X Moveable Feast

GRID was always a project between good friends— friends who, over some whiskies and wines under the Philippine summer sun, decided that they loved the country far too much to let other people do the talking for them. And so we went on this journey that was part adventure, part celebration.

In collaboration with Moveable Feast – Philippines, we gathered a group of writers, photographers, hoteliers, brand managers, and friends, for a stylish thanksgiving lunch cooked by chef Jenny Burns of Pizza Morena. Check out the entire fashion spread The Usual Suspects in issue 05.

Photography by Joseph Pascual
Styling by Guada Reyes
Shot on Location at Pinto Art Museum, Antipolo



Johann Bona

Johann Bona graduated cum laude from Istituto Marangoni Milan in 2009 with a Masters in Fashion and Luxury Brand Management. He sees himself more as a director holding a camera who captures the essence of the moment. He believes that the best work comes from collaborations from start to finish, where the photographer comes onboard as the project is being conceptualized, and not just at the last moment to light a set and shoot a photo.


Asha Macam-Velasco

Asha Macam-Velasco (or Coach Asha) is a savvy tourist. She does her sightseeing during international marathons and bike rides because “they’re efficient ways of exploring and witnessing scenery, along with other cultures.” She never neglects her yoga practice by striking a (yoga) pose in every country she visits. When homebound, she stays busy training running athletes (Milo-APEX Running School), teaching Pilates, Yoga and TRX, and seeking out new healthy places to eat around the metro.


Jojo Mamangun

Jojo Mamangun is a freelance photographer based in Manila. Before pursuing photography full time, he was was a professional dancer with a background in classical and modern ballet. If he’s not shooting for assignments, you’ll find him at home spending precious time with his wife and son or in the dance studio taking ballet classes. He is currently working on another personal work called Behind the Stage, a portfolio of images photographed backstage during actual stage performances. Check out his work at and follow him on Instagram @jojomamangun.


Joseph Pascual

Joseph Pascual is a portrait and (sometimes) fashion photographer, who got into photography while shooting his own friends back in college. While his work requires more visibility from him these days, he still loves disappearing behind the scenes, where he can shoot unnoticed, or at least have people agree that he isn’t there. For this issue of GRID, he was lucky enough to do just that.


Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta

Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta has written articles for Esquire, Rogue, Uno, Homestyle and Contemporary Art Magazine. She is the author of Burning Houses (UST Publishing, 2013) and The Proxy Eros (Anvil, 2008). She also edits Metro Serye, a fold-out anthology series that features new fiction, poetry and graphic art.