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Inside GRID Issue 02

THE WATER ISSUE. The fascinating story of one of the legendary divers from the Sama tribe in Davao, and of his friendship with an Austrian freediver who wants to unlock their secrets.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: The people who call BORACAY home; CORON is paradise lost and regained.

ON THE COVER the imam of Sagrada Seaside photographed by Fransico Guerrero

Some say that it was actually the crew of the ’70s World War II film Too Late the Hero, starring Michael Caine, who discovered Boracay.

As a luxury resort, to call Two Seasons ‘paradise’ is to state the obvious. It is also to see only part of the picture.


SHOOT FIRST with Hannah Reyes


Q&A with the creator of the most 
ubiquitous multi-tool in the universe!

TRAVEL FITNESS. Get wet with our fitness expert.

GRID EATS. Say cheese with Malagos Farms’ Olive Puentespina.

30 MINUTES WITH the La Mesa Nature Reserve Rangers, the guardians of Metro Manila’s largest water source.

DRIVE BY. Sonny Thakur joins Agu Paiso in a road trip to Subic. A bromance ensues.


PARADISE LOST AND REGAINED. Residents and resort developers are helping the jewel of the Calamian Islands in Palawan keeps its shine.

LETTERS FROM BORACAY. Seven residents tell us why the island will always be magical.

INTO THE DEEP. Dive deep into the lives of the men who explore the world’s oceans in the most pure and most extreme way possible.


THE GROUND BENEATH HER FEET. We join STOKEDinc Ambassador Gerard Sison and the gorgeous Kate Bautista after-hours.

SPRING FLING. Catch the spring fever with these colorful finds!

PARTING SHOT. It’s a blast from Manila’s past—see why the city was once called the Venice of the Orient.



THIS AFTERNOON a group of women approached me while I was shooting in Coron. I had noticed them, a group of about 10 women, on the flight from Manila, They asked me if I was that guy who has the travel show. Yes, I replied.

One of the group, a woman with a disarming smile said, “Oh, I watch your show all the time when I am in chemotherapy.” She explained that they were a group of cancer survivors and patients and that they had all decided to take a trip, to travel, in honor of three of their friends who had recently lost their battle with cancer.

Their bucket list is to visit as many of the 7,107 islands as possible. I was reminded of the gifts travel has to offer and the privilege those of us who are able to wander truly have.

That was the missive we got from our executive editor, Paco Guerrero, one hot afternoon as we were putting together this issue.

Time and again we like to think back and remind ourselves of the reasons why we put up GRID in the first place. Mainly, it was that, as lifelong travelers with a deep and abiding love for the Philippines, we were hungry to tell, and be told, the kind of stories that we knew travel could give us.

There are stories about where to go, what to see, where to eat. That’s all part of the endeavor—think of GRID as a dream dinner party where you’ve got a number of talented artists telling you where they’ve been. One of the guests will be very adamant that the best seafood restaurant in the country is found next to a fishpen in a town outside of Cebu; another will be holding court about politics; still another would like to tell you about the environment. There will be a couple of guys talking about their road trip, in which they ate an inordinate amount of halo-halo.

But beyond all that, there is also that ineffable and essential part of every journey. “The point of travel, I’d always felt, lies not in what you see but in the spirit that you bring to it,” writes Pico Iyer (in an essay, coincidentally, about a trip he took with his then 15-year-old daughter, just recovered from cancer). “A trip across town can be as wondrous for a certain kind of open-eyed soul as a journey to Tibet for another. The beauty of travel is that it upends every assumption about what is going to be moving, interesting or life-changing—and what is not.”

On our second issue, we hope that you’re beginning to see what we mean about not being the kind of travel magazine that you might have expected. A gorgeous model on the cover for one issue, an imam on the next; news on the newest destinations, cheek-by-jowl with long essays on culture and history. The beauty of travel is that it upends every assumption, and we hope that we are able to bring you that glorious and meaningful discomfort.

GRID Issue 02 Reel: The Water Breather


Everybody talks about our 7,107 islands, but what about all that water in between? When you’re in the Philippines, you’re never too far from the sea. There are men who answer to its call, getting to know the world’s waters in the most pure, most extreme way possible.

We get deep into the heart of the Sama community, when the imam of Sagrada Seaside and Austrian freediver Wolfgang Dafert takes us along for a dive.

– GRID Magazine The Water Issue 02



The Danish Connection

Caroline Baclig Schmidt & Nicolai Svane TODO LIST 2014: Swim with whale sharks, DONE; walk on a volcano, DONE; attend the Malasimbo festival, DONE; go island-hopping, DONE; shoot for GRID, DONE; befriend a tribe, DONE; buy the Gopro hero3+, DONE; watch 300 sunsets; visit our old ‘hood, Copenhagen; surf in Siargao; shoot a campaign in Bali; make art; attend a 10-day silent retreat; invent something; eat street food in Cambodia; make a documentary; photograph all of the above. Check out Caroline and Nicolai’s work at



Electrolychee (comprised of Marcus Nada and Bru Sim) are a local studio that merges illustration with design. Their works play within the realms of slick, computer-generated vector art and organic, hand-drawn imagery. They are full-time visual artists who frequently showcase their pop-inspired art in the metro’s alternative galleries. Follow them on


Pips Benitez-Brown

Surfer and music production teacher by day, music engineer and multi-instrumentalist by night, Pips is also a self-professed handyman who can turn discarded pieces of wood into tables and door frames. He can often by found in his home studio, recording interesting (and often wacky) originals or catching waves in Batangas or Zambales.



EverywhereWeShoot (Ryan Vergara and Garovs Garrovillo) used to meet up at a fast food joint near their school, just to hang out. As a result, they ended up smitten, not only with each other, but also with each other’s good taste. Their work has appeared in almost every major magazine in the country as well as a number of publications abroad. Check out their work at


Renen Bautista

Renen Bautista has been in the hair and make-up business for six years now. He uses his talented hands and fresh ideas, to help give life to several magazine covers, notable TV commercials and print ads. During his me-time, Ren usually visits movie houses to watch the latest flicks or spends time in his kitchen to cook his to-die-for sinigang.