Travel transcends place. We at GRID believe that pretty destinations have always been secondary to the various reasons we travel, and in this issue, we honor the people who have enabled us to experience the Philippines in new and exciting ways.
On the cover: Fang-Od photographed by Francisco Guerrero
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As often happens when the talk is about travel, we had a lot of opportunity for introspection these past few weeks.
The shy members of the GRID team (with the possible exception of executive editor-slash-TV-personality Paco Guerrero) are used to being behind the cameras and on the invisible end of the pen, but somehow we found ourselves on the other side, talking about ourselves and what we do, first on an episode of What I See, which is the show Paco hosts on CNN Philippines. We were ostensibly just collateral damage on a show about Paco’s work as a photographer, but the estimable producers asked us some pretty deep, soul- searching questions about GRID and why we do the things we do.
It was an experience echoed later when the prodigious filmmaker Lyka Gonzalez came aboard to work with us on a series of videos to accompany our cover feature. Why? she asked. Why did you choose these people for your list? What is the significance of what they do?
Skills, Paco answered. The people on this list give us skills and the means we can use to travel the country in more ways, in different ways, in arguably better ways.
And, of these people, why did we choose Fang-Od as our cover? That the venerable tattooist of Kalinga deserves the spotlight is no question. The recent flurry of attention around Fang-Od, the campaign to make her a National Artist (or, as the pending Senate resolution would have it, a National Living Treasure) isn’t even the reason she is the face of our list. By bringing indigenous culture to mainstream consciousness, she has helped the rest of the world see a fuller picture of the Philippines and our people. She has helped us understand ourselves a bit more fully.
The meaning of our lives is revealed in glimpses, through the reflections thrown back at us by the people we meet and the things we experience. By understanding other people, we see our place within our relationships with them, and we see our place in the world.
Editor at Large