Home can be many things, from the places we live in to the people we share it with. This gallery is a collection of the photos and stories from our community.
What place is “home” to you?
We asked, and you answered. The #GRIDHometownStories community gallery is filled with photos and stories from around the Philippines on the many places, faces, experiences, and ideas that create a home, whether they are found or born into.
As we all re-learn how to travel, we hope these stories remind you that there is still so much to be explored in this beautiful country we all call home.
Check out the hashtag #GRIDHometownStories on Instagram for all of the contest entries!
Yes. You may submit up to ten (10) entries for the competition. However, each submission must be unique and no photo may be submitted twice.
Yes. Photos that have won or been included in other competitions, including those of GRID Magazine’s, may be submitted. This is subject to the previous competitions’ rules of exclusivity and distribution.
Entries with borders, logos, identifying marks, and/or any other visible references will not be accepted. In the event that your image/s will be shared and/or printed through GRID Magazine, we will ensure you are given full and proper credit.
Basic editing, including color enhancement, the use of filters, and cropping, is acceptable. However, any such post-processing that will affect the authenticity and/or subject of the image is not allowed.
Winners will be contacted directly through Instagram with more detailed information on how to claim their prizes.
Winners will be announced on August 07, 2021, and all selected images will be revealed in the GRID Hometown Gallery.
After being away for almost 2 decades working abroad finally this pandemic has brought me back home.
And after a year being home I finally got the chance to be back in my hometown via a major restoration works of our dear town plaza and parks. Oh, that feeling of coming home and get re-connected from old familiar places, childhood friends, childhood playgrounds, favorite local foods, endless green fields... so nostalgic!
I guess, this pandemic has given me the chance to rekindle my childhood memories growing up with my tender loving parents and siblings and tracing back those old roads that define my younger years.
Once a very silent and isolated town, Balungao, Pangasinan is now has earned it's own brand of outdoor adventure and a must place to visit while in Pangasinan and experience the hospitality of the people and hidden beauty on the countryside.
I grew up opposite the way my kids did: in big cities where it’s easy to be anonymous. But in La Union, you can’t walk five minutes without seeing somebody you know, at least by face. In the city, these run-ins would be devoid of identity, but in the provincial, small town landscape it’s quite personal. I really love that about being in this small town, and it feels pretty good to be at home in that now.
La Union has been good to us; the place, the community. It’s the longest I’ve lived in one place, second only to Manila—and I’ve lived in a few places in my life. It’s more than delivered on what we expected in every way in terms of the lifestyle we were looking for, especially during this pandemic. It affords us a human perspective, where it’s not always about the chase or the race or the hustle, and it’s close to nature as it’s ever been.
If you pass by Nueva Ecija on your next trip, don’t forget to visit the Philippine Carabao Center to see the carabaos and buy some pasalubong. I recommend their Choco Milk, Pastillas, and Espasol de Leche.
Drop by FuturRice Farm and see the featured rice paddy art and latest rice farming technologies.
Nueva Ecija is home to many households relying on rice and vegetable farming. As COVID-19 continues to paralyze the production of the agriculture sector, let us continue supporting our local farmers by buying their produce. Finally, let us not forget to thank our dear farmers - the real “backliners” of our nation’s food security.
Sometimes I wish that I grew up on an island with pristine blue waters. But home is the bustling streets of Quezon City. It is the crazy traffic around the one-way, counter-clockwise Elliptical Road. Home is also the green lung of the metro. It is the many sunny afternoons spent running under the canopy of trees in UP Diliman. Home is the comfort of warm meals and milestones shared with family for the past 25 years. It is in the company of kindred spirits who see the neighborhood as one big creative playground, where dreams are born and nurtured.
You get a mix of the vibrant urban life and the great outdoors in Quezon City. Your morning can start on the bike trails of La Mesa Nature Reserve. Lunch can be spent exploring food parks and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Maginhawa. Then you can end the day learning a new skill at one of the gyms or studios in the area. There is so much space for play in my hometown, and I will always be grateful for the communities who helped me see that.
It feels weird to say that Sta. Rosa, Laguna is my hometown—on this side of Nuvali and Paseo, it’s known more as a rest stop before or after Tagaytay. And with new establishments popping up and swarms of people on the weekends, it’s always felt more like an extension of the city.
The past year’s been the longest my sisters and I have stayed at home, after over 5 years of staying in QC for school or work. I could say it’s slowly begun to feel like home again; our mornings are quiet and we’ve gotten acquainted with neighbors on our daily dog walks. We’ve seen the season of flowers blooming, the usual herd of cattle blocking roads, and the egrets stopping by around Christmas time.
Before this wave of urbanization, there were a few places that have been around since before the endless fields of grass grew into malls. In the early 2000s, starting off as a corner shop in Paseo, The Little Corner Breadshop was surrounded by customers in the morning, with each bread’s oven schedule written on a whiteboard. My siblings and I have loved their Spanish bread, Pan de Coco and Pandesal since grade school; we would look for these comfort flavors even when we’d spend the week in QC for school.
Aside from The Little Corner Breadshop, Kanin Club and Ipponyari have stood the test of time and urbanization, with the support of locals and the weekend surge.
When you're accustomed to living in a city like Metro Manila, you'll get used to the "easy access" it provides, and somehow, it makes you not leave it. For the past 6 years, I spent most of my life living in the Metro. After I graduated from college, I moved there to work. Ever since then, I spent most of my days getting used to what city living is like—waking up early, hectic commutes, traffic jams, fast foods, busy streets, and nights that never sleep.
Living in a busy city has its pros and cons. One pro is that you can easily travel anywhere in any direction. The commute is accessible. Another is that malls are everywhere. Restaurants and bars too. Your daily needs are that close... but not peace of mind. When you're living in the comfort zone of the pros of a city, you'll often confuse "sigh of relief" with "peaceful" and "easy-access" with "comfort." But, maybe that's just me.
I grew up in Talisay, Batangas. A small town near the Taal Volcano and just below the Tagaytay City. The way of life is simple. Not a lot of buildings. Few cars. Not a lot of noise. There's farming and fishing. Just a typical rural way of living.
It is my hometown. But for the past 6 years, I spent only a few days there. My estimated guess would probably be twice or thrice only in a month. And that changed my point of view of what I call "home." Not that I don't feel at home there, it's just that my sense of being is always in the city because that's where I spent most of my days.
But not since this 2020 pandemic happened. Everything changes.
I immediately went back to the province after the virus had spread in the country. Work is changed to home-setup. And daily routines change. From early-morning commutes to waking up late, fast foods to home-cooked meals, noisy to silent, and stressful to peaceful.
And as I spent more days in the province and restrictions are lowering, I got to discover more of this province through cycling. Every morning I wake up at 4am and get ready to go outside with my bike. Waiting for the sunrise and exploring nearby areas. In the span of a year, I traveled to different places in my hometown province of Batangas more than I traveled it before since my childhood.
This province has a lot to offer. Not just tourist spots. Not just beaches. Not just mountains. And not just kapeng barako. But to appreciate those other things, you have to experience it; you have to live in it. And that's what I did and am still currently doing.
Going back to my hometown is one of the best takeaways from this pandemic. Home felt more "home" than it did before. From the simple things, the surroundings, and the people, it's easy to achieve peace of mind. A peace of mind that's not just a "sigh of relief." Currently, I am still here in Batangas. Still at work-from-home setup. I know it will not last forever. And probably one day, I'll go and find a home in other places. But this town... this town will be the hometown I know and I will always remember by heart.
Masungi Georeserve has been my home during the pandemic, but it’s had a special place in my heart since I was young, when we would go to the site on weekends since my father had a project there. Today, after many years of hard work, it is a home to many people and wildlife. It is my home because the people I care about are there.
Our home isn't perfect. Just like the imperfect but beautiful limestone rocks you can find inside the georeserve, the project itself has gone through decades of ups and downs. It is a home that is constantly in flux, and ever-evolving. Each person or group we meet and collaborate with shapes our future.
We hope you become inspired by the things you see here. We have striven to show what is possible with enough courage, commitment, and tenacity. We hope you see what our natural spaces could be, and what steps you could take to be part of our country's transformation.
I lived in this country all my life, but I never had a chance to pursue the island life I've always dreamed about ‘til the pandemic hit last year. I flew to Coron, Palawan two days before the lockdown, thinking that I’d spend a month or two there. As we know, the lockdown kept on extending, and I kept on extending my stay. Now I call El Nido my home.
I consider myself very lucky to have moved to Palawan. El Nido’s highlights will always be its tours to places like Big and Small Lagoon, Seven Commando Beach, Shimizu Island… but these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are spots that aren’t as popular, but just as amazing—there’s Duli Beach for surfing beginners, and Sibaltan is an amazing dive site with a manta ray cleaning station. Aside from that, there’s a great community that has grown organically because of the pandemic: small business owners turned friends who continue to keep each other afloat. These are the people who chose to stay, fight, and continue moving forward, supporting each other. It's exciting and it's already giving birth to new partnerships and awesome collaborations. These are the people making El Nido a better living space by starting ventures like organic farming, sustainable tourism, and vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
I want to tell the travelers to come… now. El Nido recently opened to tourism once again. I want to reach out to those people who can work from home and say: come, come to El Nido and stay even just for a month, like I wanted to.
"Kung sa diin ang bukid naga harok sa baybay." (Where the mountains meets the sea.)"
Often when asked, "Where do you see yourself in a few years from now?" I would reply "Going home." Antique is HOME. This pandemic put on hold my plan to develop local fabric—Patadyong—and incorporate it on my designs but I still want to pursue it. I still want to go home. I miss my family, friends, the lovely and happy people, the food and the natural wonders of my province. Kruhay!
Home to me is a familiar face, a familiar smell, a familiar taste. It’s speaking in my native language, and being with my family and close friends who’ve known me since I was little. I’m so proud of my home: Talisay City in Negros Occidental.
I want everyone to know about the lush greenery it has to offer, and the roads and roads of sugarcane. About the food—us Negrenses are very particular with local cuisine; we love showcasing our local dishes. And of course, about the people. If you have an Ilonggo in your life, you’ve gained an amazing friend! Ilonggos are very chill and fun to be with.
Negros Occidental has so many things to offer: you could take a two-day tour around the city, seeing famous sites and eating your heart out. But there are also out-of-town adventures—the beautiful coastal drives, the quick trips to nearby cafés in the mountains. Being toured by a local is always the best because you get to experience a place as if you were a part of it.
Negros is an exciting place and it has a lot of hidden gems, so whoever comes to visit must stay a while—or always find a reason to come back.
My grandmother had a ‘50s ancestral home in Tanjay, Negros Oriental, surrounded by sugarcane on all sides. I’ve realized that it’s here where I feel healthier and happier; where the day is prompted by the crow of roosters and light slowly seeping into your room.
Tanjay is a close-knit city, previously town, where everyone knows everyone. The most activity it would have is at the mercado, at Saint James the Greater Parish, and a Friday disco night at Rizal Park across it. It's the idea of nothing happening that's so calming to come home to.
If you’re ever here, open your window throughout the trip—especially as you pass by the acacia-lined hills leading to Mojon Church, eventually entering Bais. I find that Negros has this sultry, sweet smell unique to the land; a mixture of humidity, muscovado, and salt air.
Negros Oriental Island will always be my home, and coming home during the pandemic has made me appreciate my hometown of Dumaguete even more. I find myself discovering places everyday—from quaint cafés, markets, and local vendors specializing in local chocolate and puto rice, to hidden waterfalls and picnic spots. You can drive 10 minutes away and find yourself in a completely different scene and place. The beaches, the mountains, the rivers… everywhere is pretty much a 10 minute drive away.
I’d like to tell visiting travelers to have an open mind, and to make friends with the locals—they know where the best places to eat and visit are. Support local businesses and cafés, and definitely go scuba diving. We have some of the best dive spots in the country!
Most of my childhood years were spent abroad, but living in Zamboanga influenced the way I see the world. When my Manila friends ask me where I come from and I tell them I come from Zamboanga, they always ask: "Is it safe to go there?” I tell them yes. Zamboanga may not be a top-of-mind place for travelers for many different reasons but if you give it a try, it will surely widen your perspective.
Zamboanga is a culturally-diverse city, and the same goes for its food. Because of its neighboring cities, the cuisine has become a melting pot of different cultures. I always crave the local cuisine whenever I leave my hometown—there are just so many dishes to choose from!
If everything returns to normal, I always suggest to come visit in October, when the Hermosa Festival is celebrated. The major highlight is the Regatta de Zamboanga, where hundreds of fishing boats with rainbow-striped sails compete and the colorful street dance competition.
I was nineteen in the summer of 1991 and it was my first vacation home after a whole year away. Looking back, it seemed outwardly uneventful except for a nagging, persistent feeling of disenchantment, of discontent.
After a year of new knowledge and experiences as an art student at a university in Diliman I was longing to go back to the hometown where the people on the streets were faces that I knew, where cars were few and traffic was not a thing, where you could go from point A to point B in a straight line without encountering a one-way sign which put you on a loop that took you farther away from your destination; where the hardware stores in downtown Divisoria closed for lunch because the local businessmen had their afternoon siestas. Alas, it was not to be.
In my absence, small town Cagayan de Oro had transformed into a booming city where factories had taken root at the edges of town and commerce was bustling happily in the business district, attracting a multitude of job seekers from all over Misamis Oriental and beyond. Paradoxically, there was a sense that everything had become smaller. The streets were somehow narrower. The houses had shrunk while I was away, but the population had multiplied as had the cars on the familiar roads.
It was then I realized that on the day I took that step out the door of the family house in Carmen where I spent most of my growing-up years to start this journey and make my way to the Macabalan port to get on a boat waiting on the dock that would soon take me and others like me to an unfamiliar life across the islands to a school dormitory in a campus across the seas, I hadn't really left home. Because on that day, I took “home” with me, clutched to my heart like a precious thing I could not let go of yet. It lived inside of me for a year.
Ironically, the act of coming back is what made this romantic idealization of home crumble to dust and lodge a painful rubble of memories in my soul. That first summer back in the hometown, all my childhood idols started falling-- imperceptibly but irrevocably. And it was up to nineteen-year-old me to pick up the pieces.
The summer of 1991 was when I discovered that disappointment isn't a thing you can touch and poke and examine at ease and squeeze emotions out of. Rather, it is a nagging doubt about things which you once embraced with a familiar acceptance: parental authority, the existence of God, blind belief in the faulty system you grew up in.
This then was the real pain; this coming back to something that is not quite there anymore. This futile attempt to gain back something irretrievable from the past; this pang of dissatisfaction about the way things were. This wordless thought that I was ready to shed the old life like old skin that did not fit anymore. This feeling that I was looking for something new, something more. Something that would fit. What it was, I didn't know yet. But I was sure that I would not find it in the old hometown.
I now call Siargao island my home; I’ve been living here for 6 years but first came in 2005.
This island isn’t just about the waves or the beautiful beaches. It’s also about the people who live here and chose to move here. Siargao has the friendliest, happiest, most welcoming, encouraging, grateful, open-hearted, and generous people I have ever met. To be surrounded by that is a blessing. I’m very lucky to adapt here and to be able to consider this place home.
I want to remind people that even if they’ve dreamed to go on vacation in Siargao and see it as a tourist destination, it is a home first and foremost to those who are born here and who have chosen to live here. We have moved our lives, started families, found means of living and deal with what we have here. Coming here for a short time to have fun and enjoy is very different from the realities of living here; we have inconveniences, worries about the medical situation, and concerns that are far from what’s portrayed on social media. Please respect the locals and the way of life here.