Inside GRID Vol. 5
The Great Outdoors
This issue, we celebrate the great outdoors and the way it challenges us. We scale the epic crags of Bukidnon with Kuya Mackie, a rock climbing veteran whose current mission is to establish the province as the new rock climbing capital of the Philippines. From those heights, we then find ourselves in the deep—or rather, we ask ourselves: What is it about freediving that compels people to go deeper? We meet with the freediving communities of Anilao, Cebu, and Panglao to find out. Finally, after the dust has settled from the first Philippine Surfing Championship Tour, the country’s first professional surf circuit, we recount its history and how this could be the spark that changes the image of the surfer as weekend warrior, to the surfer as athlete.
What drives its popularity now, apart from the fact that it brings us closer to the world underneath, is largely attributed to the sheer aesthetic pleasure of it; a poetry in the body that almost makes it look easy.
– Between Two Breaths
Bolting in the Philippines is a labor of love. Those who want to develop new areas shell out their own cash and collect donations from friends to pay for the literal nuts and bolts that keep us safe on the rock.
Each surfer could now formulate a strategy, a plan of attack, and this has led the PSCT heats to display some of the strongest and smartest surfing the country has ever seen.
–The Next Wave
Photography by Dani Bautista. Skating through life with a viewfinder.
The kicks that helped put together the Outdoors Issue.
A roundup of where we’ve been, and where you should go next
HAVE DOG, WILL TRAVEL
What you should know before taking your furry friend along on your next adventure.
WHAT’S IN YOUR BAG
Bolts, hooks, and rope are just a few things routesetters lug around on bolting trips.
30 MINS WITH
Two young guns: kitesurfing champion Christian Tio and mountaineer Gab Mejia.
GUEST ON THE GRID
Coral conservationist Tara Abrina on how the outdoors is for every body, really.
Mountaineer Bernice Soriano schools us in outdoor dining.
Pain is temporary, glory is forever. Our resident cyclist goes on a five-day cycling expedition.
Photography by Jeric Rustia. Dru Robles follows a climbing veteran to the country’s next rock climbing capital.
THE NEXT WAVE
Photography by Camille Robiou du Pont. Camille Pilar rides the wave of the Philippines’ first surf tour.
Photography by Joseph Pascual. Functional fashion that will endure the elements, and take you through layovers and concrete jungles.
THE EXPLORER’S TOOL CHEST
Photography by Artu Nepomuceno. A gear guide to overlanding and off-road exploration.
From The Editors
“What would your ancestors say about this,” a friend of mine asked as I returned to the ground after a wall climb at an outdoor gym. “They must marvel at the ridiculous lengths you go to just to sweat.”
He was right, if you look at it one way. Outdoor sports are inherently ridiculous in that they’re contrivances—among the luxuries modern life has afforded us is the choice to safely and efficiently climb mountains and rock faces, explore underwater, run far distances, move over the waves. We make sport of these activities, having reduced risk drastically with the use of gear and tech, passed on generations’ worth of lessons on method and technique, and generally made the outdoors more democratic. Outdoor sports are sports because they’ve moved on from the drudgery of the necessary—now they’re just fun to do.
Look at it another way, however, and you’ll remember that outdoor sports are among the purest of active pursuits, because at their core they are practical. As our contributing writer Dru Robles explains, for example, sport climbing was once only about getting from one side of a mountain to another. In “Pathfinder,” he describes the long, hard slog that the climbing community still endures to be able to raise the profile of the sport in the Philippines.
The story is repeated in “The Next Wave,” Camille Pilar’s account of the growth of the competitive surfing scene in the Philippines. The setting is different, but a lot of the themes are the same—the struggle to establish a sporting community from scratch, and without much by way of material support from the government, along with the resilience and the passion of the members of that community.
Fruhlein Econar’s “Between Two Breaths” looks at the nascent freediving community, on the cusp of popularity. But before that, the story goes back to the very beginning, and reflects at the motivations behind it: the curiosity that drives us to interact with unknown environments, the ineffable urge to better oneself, the drive to push past our old limits.
All sports are hard, and all sports push us to dig deep inside—it’s what makes sports so noble and so uniquely human. But we would posit that the outdoors, in reminding us of our place in the physical world, strips us down to the essentials in a way that few other things are able to. Being outdoors has the ability to fill us with humility and joy and existential awe.
Our Outdoors issue celebrates the growing communities that push outdoor sports in this country. These are the stories of the people who have opened the door for the rest of us, showing us the possibilities of the great, humbling, joyful world out there.
Joseph is a Manila-based photographer. His portraits have appeared in various national publications, and in the profile pictures of the people he loves.
Tara is an aspiring environment conservationist whose millennial ideals are grounded by marine science, economics, and freediving.
Jeric is an architect and works as a researcher for the UP College of Architecture. He runs the Climb Philippines social media accounts with his mentors and friends, with the hope of growing the climbing scene in the country.
Camille once taught Communication subjects at an international college in Taguig City. In 2014, she moved to San Juan, La Union and has been surfing, writing, and teaching creative writing classes online. She co-owns Clean Beach, a small beachfront cafe that promotes the use of reusables and sustainable living.
Camille Robiou du Pont
French-born photographer and filmmaker Camille has been based in Asia since 2012. She finds inspiration in nature, femininity, and solitude, and her body of work is a nod to these influences. Living in Siargao for the past two years, she presents a poetic and dreamy view of the surf life in her photography.
Dru manages a small team of writers for an SEO company. When he’s not at the office, he’s usually at the local crag with Bean, his mini Dachshund, or working as an instructor and routesetter at Climb Central Manila. Dru has also been tagging along on bolting trips, learning how new rock climbing areas are developed. He has been rock climbing since the age of 11.