From the folk healers of Siquijor to the bakwit artisans of Lanao del Sur, we explore the stories and destinations that exist comfortably where nobody is looking.
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There’s something seductive and mystical about things that lie just outside our field of vision. How many cultures around the world have a superstition about looking for the supernatural out of the corner of your eye? Magic isn’t something that we see by looking hard at it: It’s something that seems to happen when we’re not paying attention—or at least when we’re pretending not to.
GRID makes it a point to go off the beaten path, figuratively and literally, so you might say that our stories are always filed from our regular beat, which is outside the norm. But for us, the fringes still lie a bit more to the side of that. Off off the beaten path, you might say. This is where the stories lie that might be on the verges of forgetting or incredulity. These are the stories and destinations that exist comfortably where nobody is looking, and thrive in that mysterious space.
There are all kinds of fringes. As our cover story shows, fringes can exist right in the middle of things. It can be a community that is home to the alter-egos of people we know, right in the middle of the metropolis. Wrestling is a world that springs straight from the shared imagination (some would call it delusion) of a few—as many very powerful ideas and realities do.
Our story on Siquijor takes a look (again, out of the corners of our eyes) at the mysticism that’s always been there, and which we in the mainstream have always acknowledged—if secretly and grudgingly. The traditional healing practices there lie on the borders between science and faith, between past and present, and indeed, between harm and healing.
There’s also the fringes that are created in the midst of great national crises. The war in Marawi pushed people out of their homes and into the literal fringes of their city. More than that, they were forced into the fringes of our awareness, into the fringes of their own identities. Is there any returning
from that? Now that the war is over, and the long task of rebuilding just begun, that question is more important than ever.
That story also reminds us that the existence of fringes presuppose a belief in the center. What lies in our center; what keeps us centered? Our ideas of home, of self, of faith lie in our core and keeps us from spinning apart. The core is important. But off to the side are the fringes, and that’s where the magic begins.