Making the “Filipino Flavors” map for the Broadway musical “Here Lies Love”

Making the “Filipino Flavors” map for the Broadway musical “Here Lies Love”

Today I’m sharing a project I recently worked on, an illustrated map of Filipino restaurants and bars in New York City called “Filipino Flavors.”

Marcie Taylor of FilAmArts brought on A Duck Amuck Art & Gifts to illustrate the map to be released in time for the premier of “Here Lies Love,” the Broadway musical about the life of Imelda Marcos. The map highlights the vibrant Filipino culinary scene in NYC, including eateries like Kabisera downtown, Tradisyon in the Upper West Side, F.O.B. in Brooklyn, and Ihawan in Queens.

View the "Filipino Flavors" map

A Feast for the Eyes—and the Taste Buds

As a Chinese-Filipino now in the US, my roots have always played a significant role in my art. So, when the opportunity arose to work on "Filipino Flavors," I immediately said yes. We wanted to create an illustrated map highlighting the best Filipino restaurants and bars across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.* These boroughs are not only diverse but also home to a thriving Filipino community that has contributed immensely to the city's culinary landscape.

The initial challenge for me was finding a balance between traditional Filipino iconography and the modern, bustling streets of New York City. “Here Lies Love” also includes scenes set in New York, so that made it a little easier to blend the two. I wanted the map to serve as a bridge between the two worlds, reflecting the Filipino spirit while embracing the dynamic energy of the city.

I added traditional Filipino icons—like the jeepney, barongs, kalesa, sorbetero cart, pamaypay—throughout the map to enhance the design.

Collaborating for Success

Collaboration has always been at the heart of my creative process, and I couldn't have asked for a better partner than Marcie. Marcie brought her wealth of marketing expertise, creative energy, and community connections to the table. Working together, we were able to create this map that would not only be a testament to Filipino culture, but also a functional and visually appealing guide for foodies, Broadway fans, and Filipinos alike.

From Marcie: “After meeting Erwin @duckamuck in New York last year, I knew he’d be the perfect illustrator for this project. His whimsical drawings would make the map eye catching for sure. What I didn’t know was how stress-free this collab was going to be. We had great communication between us. Erwin is a project manager’s dream because he liked to work with expectations clearly expressed and deadlines set.”

For me, this project was quite literally a dream come true. I had been wanting to work on a map project, and this one came up as I started actively thinking about adding maps to my portfolio. And what a great start for me: Not only did “Filipino Flavors” allow me to showcase my heritage, but it also reinforced the idea that art can be a powerful tool for celebrating culture and fostering connections within diverse communities.

Seeking New Adventures

"Filipino Flavors" has ignited my passion for map illustration, and I'm eager to embark on more projects that allow me to explore the world through art. If you're looking for an illustrator who can bring your ideas to life and infuse them with cultural richness, I'd be delighted to hear from you. As I continue to explore the world through my art, I look forward to the next opportunity to craft an illustrated map that tells a unique and vibrant story.

Contact Erwin Ong at A Duck Amuck Art & Gifts

*Of course, there are awesome establishments in other boroughs, other counties (shout-out to Likha and Hapag in Westchester, and Karenderya in Rockland), and other states, New Jersey and Connecticut, but we narrowed our focus just for this project.

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