Over the course of five days, a troop of seven urban sketchers from Singapore permeated Manila to experience the city through unconditioned senses and give visual record to their encounters. The result is showcased in “Show Me Manila!”, a compilation of more than 100 exciting compositions that capture in honest and vivid detail the beautiful and messy juxtapositions that often characterise the capital city. Elegant heritage architecture and Spanish gates abut gritty street scenes. Informal power lines are slung across storefronts, obscuring neo-classical facades. Leafy palms and the trickling fountain of a hotel courtyard offer respite from the clamour and bustle just beyond.
Urban sketchers are artists, social cartographers and anthropologists. ‘What matters most is that we are able to record a city’s flavour, its way of life through some well-used spots linked to locals’ everyday experiences — their markets, fast food joints, streets they live in, meeting points they earmark,’ writes the group. The excerpt that follows, then, is a visual narrative, capturing the spectacle of Manileños in their home environment, brimming with characterful neighbourhoods and captivating energy.