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Our Year in Stories

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In a year that felt like being stuck in the middle, we buckled down and did what we do best: tell stories.

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When we closed out 2020, we released a list of our favorite stories from that year. We called it “Our Year Without Travel,” and hoped that it signified the start of us moving forward from all the community quarantines and closed borders. One year later, and it feels a bit like more of the same.

In many ways, 2021 has felt like being stuck in the middle; trying to find a compromise between what we could and couldn’t do. For us at GRID, it meant finding new ways to adapt as a travel magazine, and bring our readers closer to the people and places we’ve all missed.

It was difficult. But we buckled down and did the one thing we knew how to do: tell stories.

If our stories felt a little different this year, it’s because they were: it has been a year of finding the middle ground for us, too. We explored the roots of both our popular and traditional culture, and looked at travel from perspectives that were entirely new to us, as well. It has been a year of experimentation, in the hopes that we can help bridge some of the distance and bring the many colorful stories of the Philippines to you.

With that, here are some of our favorite stories from the year that was:

Can We Make Community Pantries Sustainable?

In 2021, community pantries became a symbol of collective action. At the height of the overnight phenomenon, Denise Gonsalves and Billy Caluag take a closer look at its surprising rise—and possible future.  Read the full story.

The End of the Night Out

What does the nightlife in Makati’s most colorful neighborhood look like these days? Ramon Royandoyan meets with the small business entrepreneurs fighting tooth and nail to keep Poblacion’s spirit alive. Read the full story.

The Weight of Gold

This year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo saw the Philippines win its very first Olympic gold medal—and we hope it won’t be the last. Klea Gonzales toasts to the success of our athletes, and makes a case for supporting them year round. Read the full story.

My Girlfriend Keeps Talking About P-Pop

Philippine pop music—also known as P-Pop—has taken over the local music scene, but is it something we can truly call our own? To find out, Billy Caluag dives headfirst into the complicated world of OPM. Read the full story.

The Future is Indigenous

As the world scrambles to find solutions to the climate crisis, it’s high time we take our cues from the first stewards of the land. Denise Gonsalves takes a closer look at how the Calamian Tagbanua are helping Coron forge a path to climate resiliency. Read the full story.

Podcast: Why Conspiracies Won’t Save Our Oceans

A controversial Netflix documentary told the world to stop eating fish in the name of sustainability. Marine experts Tara Abrina and Boogs Rosales break down why that isn’t a good idea—and why conspiracy theories like these do more harm than good.

Podcast: At the GRID Table

It’s a long journey from an editorial idea to a story in print. Paco Guerrero, Nina Unlay, and Denise Gonsalves welcome you to the editor’s table to discuss travel writing in a world without travel.

Hometown Collection

In our first digital collection, we reconnect with our identity as travelers by looking at the ways we’ve all learned to get by at home. After all, behind every tourist town is a local’s story. Read the Hometown Collection.

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