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Inside GRID Issue 13

In Between Sets

In this issue, we revisit some familiar themes and places but we look at them in new ways, or deeper ways. We take a second look at Cebu and discover the fresh creative energy in the city, as well as look past the pristine beaches of Danjugan Island in Negros. And while we’re on the topic of going deeper, we also ask the uncomfortable questions surrounding the new wave of voluntourism.

On the cover Mark Mabang, Elaine Abonal, Ziggie Gonzales, & Bea Vega
Photographed by Fransico Guerrero

The proximity, the spontaneity; it’s all very Cebu. Something tells me a trip home is inevitably on the horizon.
– This Is Not Your Parent’s Cebu

Danjugan has a good concentration of dive sites, and manta rays, blacktip sharks , manta rays and even whale sharks have been seen passing by. The island is alive.
– Our Time In Eden


GRID EATS. Go green with Chip Lopez from Kairos by the Lazy Chef.

WHAT’S IN YOUR BAG with Gerard Cancio. The skater and entrepreneur takes us through his essentials.

FITNESS. Eileen Tupaz shows us the quiet art of mindful meditation.

GUEST ON GRID. After an injury-inducing fall, Chris Courtney asks why adrenaline junkies do what they do.


OUR TIME IN EDEN. Nayna Katigbak finds paradise on Earth in Danjugan Island.

THIS IS NOT YOUR PARENTS’ CEBU. Welcomed by a community of creatives energizing her hometown, Fruhlein Econar returns to Cebu.

THE DO-GOOD JOURNEYS. Nina Unlay takes a trip down the bumpy road of voluntourism.


FASHION. Ride your next wave with these threads.

GEAR GUIDE. Traveling is stressful enough as it is. Loosen up with these creature comforts.

PARTING SHOT. Seeing Zambales as the birds do with Mike Dee.

A Look Inside

In Between Sets

In Between Sets

We planned it all out, a fashion shoot with some great surfer friends. Of course, there was not a wave in sight. So, we just hung out in the waters of Zambales and took some photos.

The Do-Good Journeys

The Do-Good Journeys

Do some good while on vacation: That’s the premise of voluntourism. But how do you know whether you’re leaving behind something good, or if you’re just stoking your own ego?

Destinations: Punta Bulata

Destinations: Punta Bulata

There are few gems that still remain peaceful, even after revealing themselves on the radar. Finding a place that is (and will remain) tranquil is tough, and as much as we’d like to keep this one our secret...

Our Time In Eden

Our Time In Eden

“WE SAVED A PHILIPPINE ISLAND. Now we invite you to explore it,” proudly proclaims a poster, dated 1994, in Danjugan Island‘s learning center.



When we set out to make a travel magazine about the Philippines, and only about the Philippines, we were told over and over that we were “going to run out of stories.” There isn’t enough about the Philippines worth writing about and photographing, it is implied, or that there’s only one way to tell the story. We are famous for having—at last count, anyway—7,641 islands, and we’ve bet this magazine’s entire existence on their being countless stories on each of these islands, and infinite ways to tell these stories.

In this issue, we revisit some familiar themes and places, but we look at them in new ways, or deeper ways. We sent Fruhlein Econar back to her hometown in Cebu, first of all, because homecomings are always a rich mine for experiences and insights. Fruhlein was surprised at the new spirit of the city, born out of the new places that have sprung up, inevitably, over the years, and which in turn were the creation of a new generation pushing for change. As long as people consider themselves citizens and stakeholders of a place, there will always be innovation; and where there is innovation, places and stories will always thrive.

Next we look at the story of Danjugan Island which, at the outset, may sound like another take on the familiar old trope of finding a paradisical resort on one of our many beautiful island beaches. But this one yields yet another surprise underneath the surface. Danjugan, once a privately owned island, is now a resort, but more than that, it is an environmental reserve and a classroom. Its considerable natural treasures are protected, not to lure in tourists, but to educate the next generation of scientists and advocates for the environment. If there are any other resorts like these, there aren’t many, and we certainly need more.

We also take a good, hard look at volunteerism, and in doing so, we face the uncomfortable but necessary questions that arise: We mean well all the time, but are we actually doing any good at all, or are we just stoking our own egos? The truth is that doing good isn’t all about intention, and that we are all expected to put in hard work and apply high standards of intellectual rigor to examining its foundations. That doesn’t mean the process can’t be rewarding, but as with everything worthwhile, we do have to work for it.

So it is with all the stories here that abound in our country. There are many truths, many gems, many insights; there is infinite inspiration and beauty everywhere. We just need a little love and a little work to be able to find them.

GRID Travel Series II: La Union

Take a peek at the GRID Travel Series II: La Union four-day workshop, from the opening portfolio reviews to prepwork for workshop assignments.

Video by Lyka Gonzalez and Mike Dee
Musical scoring by King Puentespina



Chris Courtney MD

Chris is, among other things, an emergency medicine physician and John Hopkins Global Health Fellow. He currently lives with his family in Spain, and enjoys kiteboarding, swimming, mountain biking, and snowboarding. In this issue, Chris tells GRID about how a serious climbing accident made this adrenaline junkie ask himself why he keeps doing the things he does.


Nayna Katigbak

A freelance writer, cook and food stylist, Nayna contributes to different food and travel publications. While she’s worn many hats over the years, writing and cooking are the ones she loves the most. Drool over her IG feed @naynakatigbak.


Geric Cruz

Geric Cruz is a photographer / videographer based in Manila. He has exhibited his work locally and internationally, with his personal project, Second Star to the Right, featured as part last year’s GRID Gallery. Geric travels to Negros Occidental with Nayna Katigbak to capture the natural wonders of Danjugan Island.


Miguel Nacianceno

Fondly called Mignac by his friends, Miguel Nacianceno was born, bred, and raised in Manila. He once tried to entertain his personal delusion of becoming a filmmaker by taking a film course in New York. In 2008 he wrote and directed a short film which he thinks people on the Internet will one day see. Aside from being an editorial and commercial photographer, he likes to ride his bicycle in his free time.