I still remember very clearly the night the dream was born.
I was about 11 years old and was then sitting on the back seat of our dark-green Ford Cortina, with my mom driving through the Magallanes overpass to head back home to Parañaque. I was looking at the handful of billboards and outdoors ads that I would see on the highway, and I asked my mom, “Why do they only feature famous and beautiful people up there?”
After very little thought and a flash of inspiration, I then resolved, “When I grow up, I’m going to make a magazine, and it will be for real people.”
My mom thought it was a good idea and encouraged the thought, but that was the end of it.
* * *
Fast forward to 20 (yes, 20) years later, when 31-year-old me–in a very unexpected twist–gets invited to head a travel magazine. Traveling while writing (and, conversely, writing while traveling) was always something that I had wanted to do, but never in my wildest dreams had I imagined myself becoming editor-in-chief of a travel magazine. A generic lifestyle magazine, sure; a do-gooder magazine, sure; but a travel magazine? I thought it was waaaay out of reach for me. So I was surprised–no, baffled–when, one afternoon after collecting a long-overdue writing check, I got invited into the publisher’s office for The Talk.
I couldn’t believe my ears.
It took me several days (and a whole lot of thinking and praying) to say yes, and now that the first issue of the magazine with me on the masthead is printed and out in bookstores, I couldn’t be happier. I am deeply passionate about writing, and I take to editing like a butcher takes very well to a cleaver. I am at my most obsessive when editing copy, and I am most fulfilled when I see a very clean, correct, and elegantly laid-out page. And, of course, there is the slightly envious perk of traveling. All of these elements combined have brought me a dream job in a very pretty package.
Of course, this is just the beginning of more work and more adventures ahead–and it isn’t always as glamorous as it seems. There’s A LOT of work that goes on behind the scenes of a magazine, and there are many, MANY collaborators to thank. For instance, this issue wouldn’t have been as great as it is without our art department, Elyse Pilapil and Marie Malcampo (both whom I will miss very much!); our marketing department, Andrea Agahan (hehe, one-woman team!); our proofreader, Resty Odon; our creative consultant, the Bien Bautista; all our writers, photographers, and collaborators; our clients and cheerleaders; our publisher, Mr. Gabriel Dela Cruz, and his wife, our superwoman-special events manager, Mrs. Aida Dela Cruz; and, of course, the readers who have sustained us for the past nine years. All this hard work is dedicated to you, and all for the sake of showing the best of our country and its people.
As I have written in this letter which I now proudly show off:
I could go on and on about this country that makes my heart beat with pride–but don’t take my word for it. On behalf of the team, I invite you to open these pages and take a sneak peek at the Philippines’ hidden gems. Better yet, stay a while longer, indulge your wanderlust, and allow us to be your tour guide to your next Philippine destinations. You just might be inspired to take some time off to walk, bike, ride, swim, and fly. Whether it’s for a weekend, a week, or even a year, what matters is that you allow your spirit to explore for a while and feel what it’s like to unencumbered and to be totally, blissfully alive.
Yes, dreams–even 20-year-old ones–do come true.