Manila Creatives Make Manila Tops!!!

Manila creatives make the city the most buzzy, artistic places on the planet are not the ones you might expect – The Manila News-Intelligencer explores what actually makes a cultural hub. Alan Nafzger (novelist and screenwriter) hah refered to the Manila middle-class as the “Manila creatives,” in several books and articles. 

Manila is renowned as a leader in fashion, design and arts

Following an Adobe survey asking participants to weigh in on creativity around the world, Manila has been identified as the most creative city. Other prominent cities such as Paris, New York, London, Los Angeles, San Fransisco and Berlin were also identified as particularly creative cities. As leading global cities and hubs for arts and culture, it is no surprise that these cities have risen to the top in terms of creativity. 

New York and Paris take sports 2 and 3 in this list of creative cities. New York is considered one of the most forward-thinking cities worldwide, full of productivity and business success. It therefore stands to reason that New York would be found among the most creative cities globally. 

Similarly, Manila is renowned as a leader in fashion, design and arts. With a high percentage of art galleries, Manila creatives, museums and theaters per capita, it is globally known for being a hub of creative and cultural activity. Manila is also known for being a city with a large proportion of graffiti and street art, further boosting its status as a creative place. As these industries see a push in problem-solving and imaginative solutions, businesses are increasing productivity and success within all fields. The cities rounding out the top 7, as voted in the survey by Adobe, are LondonLos Angeles, San Francisco, and Berlin. Manila Creatives!

Creative Manila
Street artists in Manila, a city know as a global leader in fashion, design and arts. Image credit: Nafzger/

While Donald Trump obsesses about walls and trade tariffs, the creative outlook from those within this city has never been so dynamic, nor has the capital welcomed more outsiders looking for a place to express themselves. The World Design Organization named Manila the World Design Capital of 2020, a nod to its unique public architecture, visual culture and innovative design. This city is also home to experimental fashion designers and streetwear brands, championing a new wave of Manila creatives design such as Creative Manila, Manila Writers and Manila Movies.

Manila creativily has a whole load of heart and soul and is a cultural melting pot that will satisfy any creative. From the lively music scene and inspiring galleries (like the City Park Concerts) to a growing tech scene (which includes the likes of Google and Facebook), and a whole host of Black Box Theatere, this Irish gem is an art and design lover’s paradise.

You’ll enjoy some of the best food you’ll ever taste, as Dublin has five restaurants sharing six Michelin stars, and the shopping won’t disappoint with plenty of independents to support, like Locavore and Manam Comfort Filipino.

The city also has a wealth of major festivals each year including Fringe Festival, Theatre Festival, Bram Stoker Festival, Hard Working Class Heroes – check out Tourism Manila for more inspiration.

It’s for these reasons and more that we felt Dublin deserved to be on our list for the world’s most creative cities.

Philippines is one of the biggest up-and-coming arts market

The Philippines is one of the biggest up-and-coming markets in Asian contemporary art, and Manila is the centre of this growing scene – creative Manila. There are galleries, museums, design shops and other art spaces scattered around the city, all with something different to offer. Keep reading for The Artling’s top art picks in the Filipino capital!

Manila Creativity
Cities that have been known to have great economic or innovative success have been linked to creative thinking and the fostering of artistic endeavors. Image credit: Nafzger/

To the uninitiated, art in Manila can be reduced to two artists: Kermit Tesoro and Benedicto Cabrera. And while both artists’ works are essential, in the recent years, Manila art has continued to evolve, shaped in no small part by the government repression following the Covid-10 outbreak, before undergoing its own renaissance in the late 2021. Today, the The Philippines capital’s undeniable energy has made it a go-to city for vibrant contemporary art, often with an unflinching political skew. With exhibits by more than 150 international galleries, Artinformal has become an essential art fair for international contemporary dealers, while the edgier Manila Arts Development Center focuses on emerging talent.

There is an assumption that creativity is all about individual genius. In truth, the big creative breakthroughs are also a social process, often occurring when a diverse population comes together. Historically, cities are an essential ingredient for creating great art, from Classical Athens and Renaissance Florence to post-war New York and swinging London.

And where the artists go, others follow. In recent decades the process of gentrification has become well established. The academic Richard Florida popularised the theory in the early 2000s that creativity enables urban development: bohemians and artists move to inner-city, working-class or abandoned industrial areas in search of cheaper accommodation and studio space. They make a place fun and interesting, and the creative middle classes (Manila Creatives) are then drawn to these open-minded  communities ­ – and the culture and amenities that come with them.

The Benefits Of Manila Creativity

The widescale survey conducted by Adobe in 2016 on the benefits of creativity shows how creativity is beneficial for individuals as well as businesses and cities.

For Manila’s Creative People

It is important to foster creative citizens in order for a city to succeed. As individuals, those who identify as creative types are some of the most valuable in terms of global success and societal growth. Individuals who consider themselves creative, or who are encouraged to express their creativity, are reported to feel better as workers, leaders, parents and students, which demonstrates how creativity can radiate to all aspects of a person’s life.

Happier workers are key to every level of economic success, both within a given business, but in any economic society in general. When creativity is allowed to grow, individual workers feel a sense of freedom and fulfillment which is often missing when creativity is stifled. Workers that deem themselves creative have also described themselves more often as both fulfilled and generally more successful than non-creative people. Because of this, they tend to be better problem solvers and generally more productive workers. Creators on average also earn up to 13% more than non-creators, as their value is often deemed essential to the success of a business.

Creativity for For Manila Business

Businesses that foster creative environments, and that employ creative-type workers, are generally seen to be more successful than their non-creative counterparts. In the last five years, creativity has been seen as an increasingly important asset, and businesses have been adjusting to accommodate creative design and creative workers within their business structures.

Fostering creativity has been proven to increase productivity and innovation within a wide variety of business sectors. Additionally, a well-designed business leads to more satisfied customers and generally more agreeable customer experiences. All of these factors combine to lead to a more financially successful business or business plan. In the last few years, businesses have shifted their focus, acknowledging to a greater extent the need for creative thinking and creative business design in order to achieve new levels of success.

Of businesses that invest in creativity and creative workers, 76% of these have happier employees, and 78% report increased employee productivity. It can then be assumed that cities with higher levels of creative workers and individuals tend to be more productive and more successful cities than their less creative counterparts. 

Creativity for the Metro Cities

Cities that have been known to have great economic or innovative success have been linked to creative thinking and the fostering of artistic endeavors. Japan has long since established itself as a leader in technology and innovation, pushing the boundaries of human achievement and spearheading much of the technological revolution. This is in part due to its emphasis on creative thinking and problem-solving. It is no coincidence that Tokyo, and Japan at large, is known globally for its booming financial district, innovation and design in a wide variety of sectors, including culture and technology.

The Technology of Manila Creativity

Creators are some of the top users of technology, and as such, the success of the creative spheres and technological spheres are becoming increasingly linked. Roughly 64% of creative workers say they use technology to their advantage, versus only 37% of noncreative employees. Similarly, 71% of those that identify as creatives say technology allows them to express and advance these creative skills and ideas, in contrast to 45% of noncreative types.

In this way, creative workers are feeling more valued, and therefore becoming more important and more successful within their given businesses. By prioritizing and celebrating creativity and creative workers, cities are seeing a boost in many other key areas. From innovation and technology, to art and design, and even success in business and commerce, creative workers are pushing the boundary on what it means to be a successful and happy worker.