Manila Mayor’s ‘Iskonaryo’ inspires street slang shirts

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2019 03:47 PM

MANILA - Thanks to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno’s pride of the Filipino language and its colorful colloquial words, netizens have now made his peculiar way of speaking - dubbed “Iskonaryo” by some - viral and meme-worthy.

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From “etneb” (bente in Filipino, 20 in English) to “tolongges,” a good-for-nothing person or the act of making someone a fool, Filipinos are finding amusement in Moreno's use of street slang, including words that first became popular three decades ago. 

Titos love it. Millennials are entertained by it.

And now, a graphic design studio is making shirts out of it.

Team Manila's first run of Manila Cleanup shirts sold out in a week. Screengrab from

Team Manila co-founder and creative director Jowee Alviar said they made the first design on a whim after seeing how much attention Moreno’s vocabulary got online.

“When we make shirt designs, it’s mostly just for fun. Team Manila wants to get the pulse of the people,” Alviar told ABS-CBN.

Some young Manila councilors eventually saw their design on social media and showed it to Moreno who asked to meet with them.


Team Manila presented Moreno with three prototype shirts.

“We also showed him what we have been doing related to Manila,” Alviar said. “Hopefully we want to help efforts of the mayor in developing the city.”

Team Manila is known for its designs related to Manila culture and current events. These include their iconic design of national hero Jose Rizal wearing sunglasses and their latest popular design on the West Philippine Sea.

Moreno also told Team Manila about his plans for the city, including the preservation of the Arroceros Forest Park.

Team Manila's co-founder and creative director Jowee Alviar shows off their shirts featuring those uniquely Filipino, including the jeepney. Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

In a recent interview with ABS-CBN News, Moreno confirmed that he approved the Team Manila T-shirt designs related to his street slang and cleanup activities. He said he is not getting any commission from it.

The original design does not bear Moreno’s name. Instead, it is attributed to “Manila Clean-Up 2019,” or the series of cleanups Moreno undertook during his first few weeks in office, drawing praise.

While there were no plans to sell the original designs, Team Manila received a lot of inquiries.

“A lot of people were asking for it online. Some were wondering where it can be bought. They wanted to go to our store,” Alviar said. 

The Manila Clean-up shirt did well on its first run, selling all one hundred shirts during the first week, prompting them to create more designs. 

Their new items for the Iskonaryo line are black shirts with the print “Etneb” and “Takwarents” (kwarenta in Filipino, 40 in English).

Alviar said those who buy the shirts are either fans of Team Manila or Moreno. He said their brand’s messaging aligns and echoes that of Moreno’s plans for Manila.

“Whatever project Manila wants to hype, we would like to make designs for it,” he said. 

“We’re very optimistic. The reason why a lot of people are interested in him is because they see hope in this new mayor,” Alviar said. “We support him. We wish Manila all the best. So this could be Manila’s next resurgence.”

The shirts are sold for P695 on Team Manila’s website and their store on the corner of Suez and Zapote streets in Makati.