Halo-Halo, sometimes translated as “mix-mix” in Filipino English, is a multi-colored sweet treat made from scoops of ice cream, coconut jelly, sweet ube, flan, and other desserts over ice. This rainbow in a bowl is native a snack as you can find on the streets of Manila, a city that is itself a melting pot of human colors and flavors.
The five stories of Halo-Halo Manila represent this complex place in astonishing depth using Jimmeh Aitch’s bold lines and fourth-wall-breaking narrative style. “A Martial Law Tale” tells the story of the illustrator’s father-in-law, wrongfully imprisoned and randomly set free during the Philippines’ period of martial law; “Dignaty on the Street” moves from the story of an unsolved murder into the complex ecosystem of the Manila Streets, while “Manila Lingo”, “Trash Story”, and Metalheads dive into local linguistics, trash problems, and the local heavy metal scene.
This collection of active, inquisitive, and frequently rambunctious stories represents one of the most hopeful evolutions of the manga genre as a whole, taking the reader on a bumpy yet fascinating ride through back alleys, crowded marketplaces, and the even more endless paths of human interaction.