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Inside GRID Issue 08

Featuring the sprawling, epic story of an adventurous traveler, whose round-the-world journey in the 1970s took him from Britanny to Tahiti, and then to the Philippines’ last frontier, all in search of the perfect pearl.

Far removed from the sophisticated jewelry stops of the world, the South Sea pearl farms of the Philippines are shrouded in mystery and romance. Kristine Fonacier travels to Palawan to hear the incredible story of the pearl farms of Jewelmer.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: The BIRDS’ NEST GATHERERS of El Nido; a second look at TAGAYTAY; a first-timer’s guide to MALASIMBO; car-camping with the TOYOTA FJ CRUISER.

ON THE COVER Pearl diver at Jewelmer Island shot by Fransico Guerrero

Nest gathering is risky: The climbers are mostly barefoot and use only bamboo poles and a few ropes to reach caves hundreds of meters up…

“Babies,” you will hear workers refer to the oysters again and again. If it doesn’t seem creepy at all to them, it’s because everyone has completely bought in to this mindset.


SHOOT FIRST with Jenna Genio

GRID EATS. Pizza Morena’s Jenny Burns shares one of her popular pie’s recipes.

WHATS IN YOUR BAG? L’Indochine owner Charlene P. Carlos shows us what she brings on her buying trips all over Southeast Asia.

GUEST ON GRID. Nomad design and communications agency Out The Studio trades their expertise for food and accommodations in the village of Sagada.

FITNESS. That Beach-Ready Body. A CrossFit instructor gives four ways to work on your six pack.

DRIVE BY. Cruise, camp, and cook all the way to Zambales.


TREASURE ISLAND. How are pearls made? It takes equal parts science, attention, and love of exploration.

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS. Here’s how to have a perfect weekend getaway in Tagaytay without it becoming a cliché.

THE NEST GATHERERS. Photographer Katherine Jack takes us to the clis of Pabellon in the western Philippines to look for bird’s nests.


ROOM WITH A VIEW. We check-in at Domicillo, Tagaytay with Julia Quisumbing.

GOING AGAINST THE GRAY. Brogues, boat shoes, and sneakers in muted and neutral shades.

PARTING SHOT. Our picks and favorites from the Instagram #GRIDWASHERE series.



YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT WE LOOK LIKE. Save for our executive editor, Paco Guerrero, who already had a career in TV when we found him, the team that puts this magazine together is largely invisible, and that’s the way we’ve wanted it to be.

I belong to the school of thought that people who produce magazines (photographers and writers, most of the time; and editors most especially) should be like ninjas: Our presence should never be seen, nor explained, nor even felt; our readers only feel the effect of our work. The work we put out should be so powerful that our readers are transported into that world so completely that they forget everything around them, and forget the fact that this story was produced for them, and already filtered through the minds of other people.

Sure, we’d like our personal stamps to be on every story we work on, and I think we’ve been able to do exactly that. A story photographed by our photo editor Sonny Thakur will always be different from that of Paco’s, for example, just as my stories (I hope) are distinct from anybody else’s. We also like to work with our pool of contributors who have their own voices and creative identities, rather than working with generic talents.

Given that, I thought it would be overkill to keep bringing up our faces and our personalities; you have our stories—and with them our individual perspectives— and that’s what is important. You don’t have to know who we are.

But that was before the past couple of months happened, when two events helped change my mind. The first was the South Sea pearls story that is on this issue’s cover, where Jewelmer allowed us to live on two of their pearl farms for over a week, so that we may understand how their complex operations work. They all work with such intensity there, with each person completely focused on their task, all the while keeping in mind how they fit into the big picture. “Who was most responsible for producing the pearl?” I asked. “If you produce a perfect pearl, whose talent was behind it?” No one, they kept telling me. Not one person would’ve been responsible— they all were.

The other event that changed my mind was our first Photographers’ Open Call event in May, where our photographers met and mentored photographers, who for the most part looked extremely relieved and grateful to have met the GRID team.

So, while we still strive to be creative ninjas whose work will always be bigger than our personalities, I’ve come to realize that team effort is absolutely integral to this magazine. The better that we become at working as a team, the better our stories are, and the better your reading experience is. Ideally, each of our stories come from our well- concerted efforts—written with one voice, photographed with another, and then all designed and brought together as one story. We work as a team, though some more visible than others, and we think it’s time you get to know every one of us.

This isn’t the announcement of a sea change in the way we do our stories. We are NOT switching over to those (annoying) first-person stories where both camera and pen are all about the people behind them. This long editor’s note is here to announce the smallest change in the shortest, most overlooked of our sections. This is about the Our Contributors page, which now welcomes a small addition: Meet Our Staff. It takes a village to make GRID, and I would like you all to meet our village people.

Editor at Large

GRID Issue 08 Teaser


Where we jump from Flower Island of Palawan with Jewelmer International to Puerto Galera for the second Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival. In between, we take another gander at the popular getaway Tagaytay and Katherine Jack takes us around Pabellon to uncover the dangerous business of bird nest farming.

GRID Issue 08 now available for digital download.



Nayna Katigbak

A freelance writer and cook, Nayna contributes to different food and travel publications. When she’s not writing about the Toyota FJ Cruiser in a test drive to Zambales for this issue, she writes stories on the oyster business, artisanal salts of the Philippines, and everything about food. While she’s worn many hats over the years, writing and cooking are the ones she loves the most. “These allow me to pay attention to things I find interesting in the most enjoyable way possible.” Drool over her IG feed @naynakatigbak.


Rennell Salumbre

For this self-taught photographer, photography began as a hobby to “keep me sane during college.” Having assisted with various pros in the industry, including Raymund Isaac and GRID’s Sonny Thakur, Rennell has been shooting for the magazine for several issues. He traveled with the team to Puerto Galera for this issue’s coverage of the annual Malasimbo festival. Follow him on Instagram at @rennell or drop by


Mindy Lagdameo

A coach at CrossFitMNL, Mindy has been in the fitness industry since 2003. It was during her seven-year stint overseas as a trainer and manager in the Middle East when she became interested in CrossFit back in 2012 in Abu Dhabi. The following year, she trained to become coach in Singapore. When she travels she stays fit by doing body weight high intensity interval training and yoga. She writes this month’s fitness story on how to get a beach-ready body.


Adi Amor

On top of being the chief stylist for a local production house and being the owner-slash-designer for Aveadena fashion brand, Adi takes on freelance fashion styling assignments like this issue’s fashion editorial in Domicillo in Tagaytay. When it comes to traveling and packing light, she recommends, “to bring just a few basic and select statement pieces to just mix and match throughout the trip. It’s more efficient and it allows me to shop more!” Check her styling portfolio at