Behind every tourist town is a local’s story. From the shores of La Union to the riversides of Cagayan de Oro, here are some of the many beautiful, complex places in the Philippines, through the eyes of those living in them.

From The Editors

Filipinos have always been travelers. Hundreds of thousands of years of traveling across land and sea is hard-wired into our culture and identity; instinctively, we go searching for it. That is, unless an unprecedented global crisis stops us all in our tracks. Then changes have to be made.

For a long time, home was exactly where we needed to be.

Inevitably, we have had to rely on our neighbors. In our piece about La Union, for example, Kiddo Cosio talks about how the loss of tourists—regular customers—for their café, El Union, was softened by its transition into a neighborhood coffeeshop. Over in Baguio, Mt. Cloud bookstore owner Feliz Lim Perez describes the small businesses in their compound “pulling each other along.”

It's the same story, all over the country. It seems we are learning how to help out at home.

Now, flights are filling up again. Entire islands are opening their doors. And we are slowly reconnecting with our identity as travelers. So, consider this collection an invitation to imagine what travel could look like from now on: money rightfully spent supporting small businesses; policies that really listen to the needs of the locals; and travelers consciously thinking about what they might be bringing into someone else’s home.

See you back on the road, travelers. Until then, let’s keep pulling each other along.

Tell us your #GRIDHometownStories.

Over the years, we’ve heard thousands of stories from locals across the Philippines. Now, we want to hear from you—show us where you’re from, and tell us what makes it special.

Tag us @gridmagazineph on Instagram to help fill our map with stories of home.

Kiddo and Cadence Cosio on a bike in La Union, photo by Tarish Zamora
Busy Iloilo roads, photo by Miguel Nacianceno
A boat on Danjugan's shore, photo by Geric Cruz
Cagayan de Oro's iconic motorela driving by a white water rafting office, photo by Earl Ryan JanubasSolana Perez at home with her dog, photo by Miguel NaciancenoA woman sorts grains on a bilao in Maguindanao, photo by Sonny ThakurThe Molo Mansion was the ancestral house of Lacson-Yusay family from Molo, photo by Miguel NaciancenoDried fish at cogon public market, photo by Earl Ryan Janubas

Share your story with us!

  1. Follow @gridmagazineph on Instagram.
  2. Post your photos from around the Philippines with your answers to the questions: 

    A) What place is home to you?

    B) What do you want people to know about your home?

    C) What would you say to travelers coming to visit?

    Show us the places worth exploring and the people you meet along the way. Tell us about the best spots, your favorite stories, and other gems only the locals would know.

  3. Tag @gridmagazineph and use the competition hashtags #GRIDHometownStories!
  4. Our resident photographers will then select our favorite images to create the Hometown community gallery.