There is no place for politics in a travel magazine. It’s a common, self-protective wisdom. But GRID is not quite a travel magazine, and certainly not a common one, in any case. GRID is about the Philippines, and we have committed ourselves to looking at the stories that run underneath the surface, the stories that are connected to the larger contexts—of nation, of progress, of humanity. It is virtually impossible not to talk about politics, insofar as politics is about governance and policy—an integral part of the Big Picture. Politics gets a bad rap, but all it is is an indicator of the way we’re all trying to make our way through the world.
Our main features are very political, in that sense. The first story we put in was, of course, the Davao story, because we were curious about the country’s unofficial new capitol. What does change look like? If everyone keeps looking to Davao as a model for what the rest of the country could achieve in six years, then why not go to Davao and see what it really is like? Our piece looks at Davao through the eyes of some of its most eminent locals, all of whom sing praises of their city and of the changes they’ve seen in their lifetime; and it is also seen through the eyes of a returning Manileño with family roots in Davao, so it is both a homecoming and a visit. Through her eyes, we approach the city with a critical eye, balanced with curiosity and compassion. In this issue, we also follow coffee back to its roots—to the farmers who grow it—and to the coffee shops here and abroad. We love coffee in all its many forms, but here we also talk about its ripple effect into the larger issues of local agriculture and food security. (This CY latter issue is getting urgent, we believe, and it’s a story that GRID will likely return to over and over again.)
Our third feature revisits a familiar destination, though now we look at Taal not just as a tourist spot, but as the home for farmers and fishermen, and as a lake that’s been at the receiving end of rehabilitation efforts. The story is also a reminder that the places we visit are also places that other people call home, and so we are enjoined to treat everywhere we go with the same respect and care that we would entering another person’s home.
In a sense, all of these stories are deeply political: Each one is about the world we live in, about the people we work with, and about how we’re all trying to get by together—which, at its essence, is what politics is all about.