We dive into 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.
On the cover: The imam of Sagrada Seaside photographed by Francisco Guerrero.
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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.