From above, Istanbul looks like a precious stone, its cascade of domes and rooftops glimmering in the summer sun. Around it are the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, the two great bodies of water that converge in the bright blue of the Bosphorus. Up close, one of the first sensations in Istanbul is that of a great warmth, which radiates from being in a place that is so completely itself. Brought forth by the world’s most formidable empires and modern governments alike, Istanbul wears everything proudly—from its mixed Byzantine and Ottoman history to the much quicker pace of life it follows today.
Encounters are an Istanbul specialty: seafaring vessels dipping into the Bosphorus for trade and leisure, locals going about on cobblestone streets, and one sedan after another buzzing by. It is the meeting point of two continents, Europe and Asia, and the melting pot of many worldly influences.
For Mikaela Lagdameo-Martinez, travelling to Istanbul for this cover shoot meant finally setting foot in one of her long-time dream destinations. “I keep a list of countries I want to visit, and Turkey has always been on that list,” she shares. "It has always held a certain [curiosity] and felt like a place so rich in culture, with an adventure waiting for everybody.” Her own adventure in Istanbul began in the Shangri-La Bosphorus, where she and the Philippine Tatler Traveller team stayed for the duration of the trip.