By Patxi Elizalde
Makati City Ain’t Got No Type
“Choose a typeface that best represents your home town.”
“That’s easy,” I thought. “Noone even knows what Makati City is. I can just choose a typeface that vaguely resembles a city skyline. I can’t believe we have a whole week to work on this.”
These were my exact thoughts about a week ago… and wow, was I so wrong. Makati is way more than just a city skyline.
Furthermore, I need to show my classmates what Makati really is. I need to show, through a single typeface: what it means, what it holds, how it flows. Through this typeface, I need to communicate my love for it, and my frustration with it. My comfort, and my skepticism. My excitement, and my occasional dread.
For those of you who don’t know me and are actually reading this, I was born and raised on the streets of Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines. It’s where I learned to walk, to talk, to ride a bike, to share, and to love. But the weird thing is that even after all that, I almost feel like I don’t even really know it anymore.
While that might sound quite dark, don’t get me wrong. It’s still my favorite place in the world. It’s just… a very interesting place.
Makati, to me, is itself an oxymoron. It is its own opposite. Makati has a lot of history. Occupied by the Spaniards, and then the Americans, keeping out the locals my means of a wall (sound familiar?) before we claimed it as our own (yup, we have 2 independence days…) in the late 1800s. However, Makati, in my mind, is also so new. Having gone to boarding school in the US, I left after the 8th grade and only went back twice a year in the years following. Every time I went back, Makati was a little bit different. Countless buildings rose, restaurants, bars, homes, museums. All built in only 6 years’ time…
It was major changes like these that, unfortunately, make me feel like I don’t even know my own home anymore. But it was also these changes that make me see the real potential of this crazy city.
Slowly, more and more people are starting to see the Philippines as an actual tourist destination. More and more people are starting to realize that Filipinos are an extremely smart, capable, and creative group of people, rather than lazy Asians that sit on a beach and do nothing all day.
Anyway, as I fight the urge to go on a longer tangent about my thoughts on the social and political climates of Makati and the Philippines (that’s for another SCAB), I am realizing how much I really miss the craziness.
As a self-proclaimed citizen in the world, someone who doesn’t exactly belong in one place, a Filipino white boy with Spanish heritage… I’ve realized, through the process of this brief, where my true home is and how much I miss it. I’ve realized that it wasn’t what I learned in boarding school in New Jersey, in University in Pennsylvania, in Ad School in London that has shaped me as a person. While I’ve met so many interesting people and had so many great experiences over the years, at the end of the day, Makati City, in all its craziness, made me who I am today, and I am forever thankful for everything it has given me.
Counting down the days til I can go back to this beautiful city over Christmas and see how it’s changed even more since I left just months ago.