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Inside GRID Issue 06

GRID 06 is special. To mark our first year in print, we’re asking a big question: What does it mean to be Filipino? In these trying times, we join all Filipinos in calling for peace and understanding, which we need now more than ever.

Featuring work from Francisco Guerrero, Kristine Fonacier, Katherine Jack, Geric Cruz, Anne Quito, Tara FT Sering, and Doreen Fernandez, along with some unforgettable images from 2014, this is a collectors’ issue you’ll want on your shelves.

ON THE COVER ‘Portraits From The Field IV’ by Fransico Guerrero

Travel does not always have to be about the next secret beach or the best resorts. I find that most of the time, it really is about a conversation with a farmer or an encounter with a faith healer—it’s about new viewpoints, not just new places.

Does Rizal, the intellectual man of letters, still herald our temperament, or do men of action like Bonifacio, Aquino, or maybe Manny Pacquiao deserve consideration?


SHOOT FIRST with Steve de Neef

ROAD TEST. These smartphone cases may actually save your phone’s life.

30 MINS WITH Mariglo Laririt, owner of Potter’s Place School in El Nido.

GRID EATS. An Airbus pilot shares a kilawin recipe especially made for GRID.

PEAK PERFORMANCE. The Cordillera Mountain Marathon is happening next month. Here’s how you can prepare for it.

Q&A WITH GARY FISHER. We talk to the “godfather of mountain bikes” about his days hanging out with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.


PORTRAITS FROM THE FIELD. Francisco Guerrero captures the many different faces of Filipinos.

SEA POEM. Katherine Jack explores her second home, and catches the intricate relationship between Palaweños and the sea.

SECOND STAR TO THE RIGHT. Geric Cruz documents the friendship between two young boys, and finds healing and peace in the process.


CULTURE INGESTED. Notes on the origins of Filipino food by Doreen Fernandez.

BEING FILIPINO. Kristine Fonacier on the complications of identity.

POKING AT PINOY. Anne Quito examines the evolution of Philippine national symbols.

READING THE MAP. Tara FT Sering writes about the joys, and importance that come with being a travel writer.



Thank you, thank you, thank you. This issue marks our first year at GRID, and it’s been a year of bated breath, of waiting to see if our idea would find an audience.

The common wisdom was against us at the time—it still is, to be perfectly honest. There aren’t any more readers, much less magazine readers, we are told; long reads are a death sentence. Photography has to be done a certain way for it to be commercially viable. The travel magazine market is overcrowded, and there isn’t any space for a new player with more passion than money. It won’t work, was the message we kept hearing.

And our answer was: We’d like to try anyway. Six bimonthly issues and a calendar change later, and we here at GRID have let out a small, quiet, but extremely relieved breath. There are readers out there, we’ve found—intelligent readers who appreciate a great story, and who understand all the heart that’s gone into each of our articles. We’ve found that there are even more world-class writers, photographers, and artists out there than even we thought of. And there are more and more companies who recognize the value of both our reading audience and our artistic community.

What’s made the GRID experience so different? While there are other travel magazines out there, our philosophy and our approach has always come from a different place.

One of the most defining differences, we’ve found, is how our stories come from an outsider’s perspective. While the prevailing thinking is that magazines should offer “an insider’s look” at everything, GRID doesn’t do that— because we’re travelers, and as travelers, we’re hardly ever on the inside. We travel precisely because we want to go somewhere new, to be a stranger in a strange land, so to speak, and to be able to see afresh, to experience the joy of discovery all over again.

For this landmark issue, we’ve put together the ultimate outsider’s perspective: photo essays and written essays that each look at the Philippines in their own uniquely poetic way. Each one is an invitation to approach the world around us with new eyes, to look and to look again, to think and to challenge old ways of thinking. This issue is an invitation to become travelers again, and to be travelers always.

This issue is an invitation to be excited and curious about the world, and to be brave enough to follow that curiosity— even if everybody else tells you that it won’t work. It’s our way of thanking you for being as brave, curious, stubborn, and passionate as any traveler should be.

Editor at Large

Chevrolet presents The GRID Gallery

It was always our mission to bring our readers world-class photography to go with our memorable stories, and we’ve been happy to find an enthusiastic audience for our images. Presented by Chevrolet, the GRID Gallery hit three birds with one stone: We celebrated our first anniversary, introduced our fine-art photographic prints, and raised funds for the Cordillera Conservation Trust.

Our one-night event was hosted by Sarah Meier, who introduced the presentations by Nachi Ugarte on behalf of GRID, and from JP Alipio, who spoke for the Cordillera Conservation Trust.

The GRID Gallery featured new work by photographers Francisco Guerrero, Geric Cruz, and Katherine Jack, along with some of our favorites from GRID’s first year. Proceeds from sales of the prints went to the Cordillera Conservation Trust, which go toward helping continue their work in the mountains of northern Luzon.



CJ de Silva-Ong

Some may recognize CJ de Silva-Ong as a Promil Kid—in the ’90s, she appeared in a TV commercial for the infant formula brand, where she painted a mural almost four times her size. She’s now an associate creative director for advertising agency TBWA-Santiago Mangada Puno. Despite her day job, she still finds time to paint and illustrate.


Anne Quito

Anne Quito is a design writer, critic, and art director based in New York City. An alumna of Ateneo de Manila University, she received an MA in Visual Culture from Georgetown University and an MFA in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts, where she wrote a thesis on the branding of the world’s newest nation, South Sudan. Anne is also the founding director of the mission-driven non-profit design studio, Design Lab 360 and has spoken at TED Global, AIGA, WHO/PAHO, and the CDC about design in the public sector.


Steve de Neef

Steve de Neef is a photojournalist who mainly focuses on conservation stories. He feels most at home in our seas and oceans, especially in the coral triangle region. He says that working with GRID is an amazing opportunity to highlight some of the incredible nature and wildlife found in the Philippines.


Miguel Lopez

Miguel Lopez is an adventurous multi-sport athlete and ITU (International Triathlon Union level 2) certified coach who loves the great outdoors, especially the mountains. He’s an adrenaline junkie who likes taking his family to his races and outdoor adventures. He loved writing about trail running for GRID’s fitness section in this issue, because the mountains are very close to his heart.
Photograph by Xander Angeles.


Mano Gonzales

Mano Gonzales is an artist who has also been working for four years as a marketing specialist. He enjoyed illustrating for the essay The Problems of Being Filipino because he has always been interested in all things connected to travel and photography. Check out more of his work at


Katherine Jack

Katherine Jack was originally from London, and has been living in Palawan since 2004. She now calls these islands home. Her photograph collection Sea Poem focuses on the connections between people and the natural world, particularly the sea. She also writes and shoots travel features. More of her beautiful photography can be seen at