They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is especially true in a city as lively and spirited as Manila. Everyone paints a different picture of this bustling metropolis in their minds and the challenge was to come up with an image of the city that undeniably encapsulates the unexplainable charm of the Philippine capital. How can we, in a single book, capture the heart and soul of a city as chaotic and dynamic as Manila?
Our team believed the key was to find the essence that bridges the two distinct Manilas editor Raymond Ang had in mind: the new Manila that we encounter on a daily basis, with its record-setting shopping malls thriving alongside upcoming neighborhoods, and the glorious Manila of the past, set to make a comeback as Filipinos rediscover the city's former wonder. We found the answer in Manila's love for unconventional combinations and dislike of the empty and the boring—something we lovingly refer to as Manila's Halo-Halo culture, named after the desert famous for its innumerable layers of curious toppings and colors. Veering away from contemporary trends of modern minimalism, our work chose to embrace Manila's timelessly exciting and vibrant personality.
We made it our goal to visually establish the difference between Old Manila, New Manila, and the "More" that lies beyond. This entailed developing a color palette to represent each section, and the use of specific typefaces and illustrations to create distinction.
“Mirroring the city it depicts, it is congested with essays, stories, creative doodles and illustrations, installations, famous landmarks, skyscrapers, and architectural wonders. The beautiful part about this project is that it doesn’t hide anything.”
— MANILA BULLETIN
We filled every page with text and artwork, a nod to Manila's unending crowds of people and buildings. We created individual illustrations for each featured neighborhood, a not-so-subtle parallel of each district's distinct differences. We put together more typefaces than we've ever used for one project into a single book, capturing Manila's knack for putting together the clearly mismatched but still making it work seamlessly.
And just like everyone prefers the iconic dessert in a multitude of different ways, Manila, we realized, was a city that everyone loves differently—and this book was our own
love letter to the city we call home.
“The entire book is an invitation to rediscover our own city. It makes no attempts to whitewash Manila’s flaws, but it encourages readers to appreciate
its eccentric charm.”
The book was launched in the company of notable people representing the different neighborhoods of Manila, all gathering to talk about their love for our beautifully chaotic city.
After over a year of working on layouts and illustrations, we are proud to say that we have created a book worthy of its position on bestsellers lists and its coveted place on countless shelves both in our own country and around the globe.