Manila-based artist, Kenny Tai, who invests heavily in drawing, graphic design, animation, used eye-catching, animated cartoon ladies as personified representations to reintroduce the beautiful cities in Manila.
Last May 5, 2021, Tai released “Manila Girls”, an animated depiction of the cities of Manila under her brand, “Ang Kuwentong Inuwi Mo” or “A.K.I.M.”.
There are 14 characters in the Manila Girl cartoon, which symbolizes the 14 cities in Manila including Intramuros, Binondo, San Nicolas, Escolta, Quiapo, Recto, Divisoria, España, Pasay, Malate, Tondo, Parañaque, Makati, and EDSA.
Intramuros has this traditional Filipina look at first but then shifted to a woman wearing a Spaniard guard’s uniform while riding an illustration of a cannon, which signifies how greatly Intramuros is influenced by the Spanish culture.
Binondo sports this Chinese-looking cartoon sitting around Chinese ornaments and charms. This is understandable because Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the world that was founded in 1594.
San Nicolas displays a woman pulling a trolley with boxes of fruits and other goods as San Nicolas is known for warehouses and warehouse condominiums, hence the boxes of goods being transported from the warehouse. The woman is also seen sporting a fireman’s cap, which is mainly because San Nicolas Fire Station is among the first fire stations built in the Philippines.
Escolta is regarded as a merchant lady with figures drawn in golden lines in its background, rapidly it then switches to damaged signage of Escolta and seemingly broken figures. It is because Escolta functioned as the city’s major commercial area until its collapse in the 1960s when the center of commerce progressively moved to Makati.
Quiapo sports the traditional “Black Nazarene” look as the annual “Pista ng Itim na Nazareno” happens at Quiapo Church, where the devotees of the Black Nazarene follow its transfer to the Minor Basilica from its original shrine inside Intramuros.
Recto showcases a woman making the “Recto-made” diplomas, IDs, forms, and also an old cinema chair in the background. It is because old cinemas and stalls that make fake IDs and forms can be found in Recto.
Divisoria portrays a lady who appears to have just done shopping. Divisoria is recognized for being a destination where you can find everything and purchase it for a very low price.
España is a classic. It shows a woman in a school uniform braving the flooded streets. Like what most students around España endured when hard rainfall strikes the streets.
Pasay shows a woman wearing a flight attendant’s uniform while wearing a pageant crown. It is because Pasay City was structured to hold international affairs from conventions, establishments to malls, concert halls, an airbase, and airport, and the Miss Universe 1974 was held in the Folk Arts Theatre of Pasay City in Manila.
Malate and Paranaque somehow look quite the same. It is because in these cities you can find KTVs, and amusement and gaming complexes.
Makati depicts a sophisticated woman surrounded by buildings and shopping bags. It’s because Makati City is bordered by the Ayala Corporations and the Zobel – Ayala family’s enterprises and malls.
Tondo is portrayed as an angry-looking woman sporting an unusual hairstyle.
However, Tai emphasized that her artworks do not describe the residents living in the area, but let the people see the district, “without white-washing the narrative, in a much bigger and profound picture such as history, politics, pop culture and society.”
EDSA is very relatable. It showcases an angry woman struggling above the transportation means that are usually found in EDSA – trains, busses, and cars. EDSA is quite known for its unending traffic scheme, which gives travelers a very hard time. Hence, the woman on top of the vehicles.
Aside from the cartoons, Tai and A.K.I.M also released the Manila Girl stickers collection, which comes in 14 different cities with varying designs.
Manila Girl Special Goodies that come in 4 different flavors, Binondo Oolong Roselle Tea, Intramuros Tablea Liquor Brownies, Grape Jelly Candies from San Nicolas, and Escolta Champagne Jelly, are also sold by Tai.
Watch the full video animation here: