Monday, July 17, 2006

The 5th Philippine Toys, Hobbies, and
Collectibles Convention 2006

Event Coverage
By: Lace Llanora and Azrael Coladilla

June 17-18, 2006 - Hundreds of people lined up outside the SM Megatrade Hall 2 in a queue snaking all the way from the entrance of the convention hall to the 3rd floor of Megamall Building B. There were strangely garbed characters in full armor or elegant costumes, enthusiastic hobbyists and shoppers who’d waited all year to spend what they saved for this event, curious onlookers and of course, the kids and young at heart who were pulled in by the huge Superman display right at the entrance. Could this be the first day of one of the biggest events of the year?

A resounding YES to that. The 5th Philippine Toys, Hobbies, and Collectibles Convention 2006 was underway and looked to be bigger than anybody had ever expected. With more than 80 exhibitors and various groups participating this year, the event is the biggest collectibles and hobbies event in the Philippines so far. Organized annually by the Collectibles Unlimited Association, this much-anticipated event outdoes itself every year in terms of scale and attendance. This year was no different with almost 11,000 people filling the venue to capacity for both days of the event, toppling last year’s record attendance of about 6,000. Every year, more and more exhibitors, sponsors, cosplayers, performers and patrons participate in the event.

The SM Megatrade Hall 2, being one of the biggest venues for such conventions, still couldn’t hold all the excited patrons of this event prompting some participants to air the need to get a bigger venue next year. The line extended down two floors below the event and tickets allocated for two days ran out after day one and had to be reproduced for day two. “We under estimated the crowd again, and now we need bigger venue next year, because the hobbyists and the audience of Toycon is growing” said Vic Yap, one of the members of Collectibles Unlimited Association.

A sea of toy sellers and buyers sent waves of energy around the crowded spaces, yet despite the jam-packed venue no one seemed to mind. It was a veritable cornucopia of all things wonderful, valuable and collectible. Just imagine hunting and finding rare toys, comics, movies, artwork and other memorabilia, combined with all sorts of exciting online games, sexy cosplayers, booth babes, comic artists, celebrities, and independent rock bands all under one roof. The event was eye-candy in live action.

The event formally opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by actors and celebrity voice talents, Ricci Chan and Joseph Bitangcol, of Hero TV’s Voltes V: Evolution.

This Year’s Theme: Superman Returns

This year’s Toy Convention theme was the Superhero, celebrating the mythology and wonderment of these larger than life characters. And at the center of this all was a celebration of the return of the biggest superhero of all, Superman. A walk-in exhibit of the movie, Superman Returns greeted the attendees, satisfying them at once after they had successfully entered and battled it out in the long queue. Warner Bros. displayed various movie production photos and played all episodes of director Bryan Singer’s production video journal. Toycon goers enjoyed having their photo taken behind the huge Superman setup.

Comic artists also exhibited Superman-related artworks. Among the artists were Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan. Both artists exhibited their comics cover artworks of DC Comic’s Superman Birthright. Other international comic artists like Carlo Pagulayan, Edwin David, Gilbert Monsanto and Ryan Orosco also contributed their own Superman artworks mirroring their own art styles. Roland Mechael conceptual artists of Superman PS2 game and independent artists like Adrian Arcega, Emmanuel Xerx Javier, also shared their works

Pinoy Toy Kolektors, a local online toy collecting community also participated by sharing and featuring their most valuable Superman collectibles - from toys, action figures, and merchandise.

Non-stop Band Performances

Music was non-stop during the event. The Battle of the Tribute Band contest provided a good venue for budding musicians to showcase their sounds. In between the competitors were huge bands in the indie music scene. Among them were Reklamo, the Late Isabel, Fuse Boxx, Hubris, Musings of a Cigarette Smoking man, and the country’s premiere pop acapella group, the Akafellas. Japanese cover bands like Neotaku, Do ‘Ahou, Rotshreck, Etherial Anthem, and Mini Musume Philippines, brought live anime and Japanese music to the audience. The Ducklings, first placer on the Battle of the Tribute Band, dedicated their original composition to all underdog anime characters like Sakuragi of Slam Dunk, Naruto, and Rock Lee. “Support for Filipino music and art is one of the event’s highlight, showcasing the Filipino’s finest in the artform of music, comics, and crafts. This year was a great fusion of hobbies, music, and visual art. Every year, the Toy Convention unites the country’s best artists in one big event” says Azrael Coladilla, one of the event’s organizers.

Customized Action Figure Contest

This year, more entries were received for the Customized Action Figure Contest. Bigger, and more detailed figures were submitted, judged, and showcased at the 5th Toycon. The mecha and diorama category had the most number and impressive entries due to their generously proportioned scale and detail. A six-armed X-Men Sentinel won 1st place in the large-scale Action Figure Customized category.

More than action figures, die-cast cars were also included as entries to this contest. One of the crowd’s favorites was a model of a local taxi cab and a diecast Combi Batmobile.
Collectibles Unlimited Association member and organizer, Lou Garcia said, “The Diorama category is better arranged and set up each year, and now the toy hobbyist and collectors are getting serious in customizing their own toys and figures”.

Cosplay Competition

Cosplay, or the art of “costume play” is one of the event’s highlights each year. A swarm of colorful wings, costumes, and wigs moved around the Megatrade Hall for two days. Patrons and on-lookers had their photos taken with the cosplayers while they went agog over some cosplayers’ guts and creativity. A catwalk was provided to satisfy casual photographers and the awaiting audience’s curiousity on the cosplayers’s costumes and hot outfits. The Philippines’ finest cosplayers never fail to attend this activity every year. First timers had their taste of what it’s like to be a cosplayer. The Toy Convention is one of the many events that inspire and give venue to these cosplayers. “Every year the impact of the cosplay event really begins here, and this time the costumes are a lot better than in previous years. From costumed mecha, to famous movie fantasy and sci-fi characters to some of the best superhero costume designs, the cosplay is really a crowd pleaser and a truly memorable experience for all,” exclaims Cholo Mallillin, of Collectibles Unlimited.

Winners were Dracula Demon of Castlevania, May of Guilty Gear, Sailor Chibimoon, Angel Sanctuary group, Naruto group, Magical Knight Rayearth group.

City Pinoy Superhero

Filipinos are creative when it comes to conceptualizing art, this contest gave a chance to the artists to create and make their own local superheroes representing any city in the Philippines. If Superman patrols Metropolis, Batman is the guardian of Gotham City, and Spiderman swings to the rescue on the streets of New York, the 5th Toycon, artists contestant showed that there are other superheroes guarding their very own cities. Basyo Willigart, Superhero of Cavite City by Emmanuel Cassallas, won 1st place for the Create your own Pinoy City Superhero. Other winners were, Red Bandana - Guardian of Pasay City by Van Cleef Emnacen and Diego D’ ultimo Barbero - Superhero of Meycauyan City by Danielle Cinaban. The superhero art contest was judged by the Artists’ Den, actor-toy collector Ding Dong Dantes, and his partner Karylle.

Comic Convention frontside

During the 5th Toy Convention, local and best artists in the Philippines gathered and displayed their artworks at the Superman Memorabilia. Artists who were present included Carlo Pagulayan, Wilson Tortosa, Ryan Orosco, and Leinil Yu. Gerry Alanguilan of Komikero Publishing, whose works include the inking of Superman: Birthright and Silent Dragon, released his new comic entitled “ELMER”. Art and comic group Artists’ Den showcased their indie comics and Lyndon Gregorio launched his new book titled Beerkada: Off Campus. “This year, a special tribute and posthumous award was given to Alfredo Alcala, one of the early Filipino master illustrators who attained success in the U.S. as a comic book artist,” Albert Lee Gan said, one of the organizers. “We should really give recognition to these artists, because they are Filipinos who leave a legacy and give singular honor to our country and also to the comic and art industry”.

The Legacy of Alcala exhibit was the 2nd exhibit here in Manila and many Filipinos were surprised to know that Alfredo Alcala Sr. is widely known in the States. Now, his name spreads among the new crop of artists who are inspired after seeing Alcala’s works. And do you know that Alfredo Alcala Sr. created the infamous character, Boba Fett of the Star Wars Original trilogy? Alfredo Alcala Jr, son of Alcala Sr. explains that their dad created it first in a comic strip newspaper before the Empire Strikes Back movie was even released.

Science Fiction Convention backside

Even the Imperial Empire did not miss the event, members of the Star Wars Philippines was there in full costume. Fully armored Storm Troopers and Darth Vader went up on stage alongside the Jedi knights, and even a talking C-3PO droid which is the first such full costume in the Philippines. The amazed crowd watched as it talked and cheered as one of the finest costumed members of Star Wars Philippines.

Art Asylum

The Toy Convention had an international impact on the attendees as well as Digger Mesch, founder of the US toy manufacturing company Art Asylum together with chief artist Yuri Timg and Chris Lee of Hongkong-based Tackli Toys conducted a talent search for artists and sculptors for their new company called Full On Entertaiment. Inside the FUDGE magazine booth, Digger personally handpicked a local crop of fortunate artists to join his internationally-renowned team. On Day 2, Digger Mesch, Yuri Timg and Mike Tang joined the Pinoy Toy Kolektors, a local toy club of collectors in a panel forum discussion and talked about collecting toys as a hobby. While Digger and the others discussed future plans on their new company, he released a teaser mold and art concept of a new Marvel Comics toy line modeled and crafted by their company.

Anime and Online Games

Anime and online games are one of the features of the 5th Toy Convention. Hero TV, our local cable anime channel was there featuring their latest anime shows and introducing their latest anime voice dubbers to the audience. Displayed near their booth is the life-size figures of Naruto, Mirmo de Pon, and the complete Voltes V team pilot members. Hero TV gave away a brand new Red Fox PC to the lucky raffle winner.

Online Games of Legend of Mir 2, Ran Online of E-games, teamed up in support for the 5th Toy Convention. Live gaming and contest was held in their activity booths. Level Up Games conducted a stage game for gamers and it was called “Zeni or Bayong”.

At the Games Masters Magazine booth, it was a battle head to head video game tournament of TEKKEN 5, the most highest number wins will rule the tournament, Blitz, the winner for day 2 has a total of 120 consecutive wins.

Toys Are With Us

Maxi Collector, Comic Alley, Sideshow, Dollhauz, and Fully Booked displayed and also sold lots of toys and sculptures. A glass display was used for 2 days at the event and it was filled with toys, from Lord of the Rings to Star Wars, to DC and Marvel to Pullip Dolls and Anime Figures of Naruto and Dragon Ball Z. High-end statues and beautifully crafted action figures served as eye candy for toy collectors and hobbyists. While for other newbies, this display gave them a quick idea on what’s new and hot in the toy market, and also how pricey some of the items can be.

TransFormers Philippine (TFPH) hosted their annual TransFormers Speed Up contest on stage, and this year they gave away TransFormers toys like the new toy, Primus and limited items to lucky winners of the contest. “We bring Transformers to the Filipino fans young and older audience who's "young at heart". TFPH is not about a group, we are friends promoting the "barkada" and camaderie of what is Transformers Fans Philippines.” Mark Cerbo said, founder of TransFormers Philippines.

More Toys Ahead

It was another successful year for the annual Toycon on its 5th year. But the work continues to make next year an even bigger and better event. “It was definitely a huge success, but then again we are only as good as our last event. There definitely will be more improvement in terms of the way we stage this event and better things in store for 2007,” says Vic Yap. “There will be other similar events like this during the year, and in particular, we want to bring the Toycon to Cebu, maybe during the Sinulog Festival of 2007.” That is definitely something to look forward to down south during the start of next year.

Collectibles Unlimited’s Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention 2006 was super-powered by SM Megatrade Hall, Globelines , HERO TV , The Legend of MIR 2, SM Megamall, Fully Booked, Fudge Magazine, GLOBE, E-Games, Level-Up, Maxi Collector, Comic Alley, WACOM, Psicom, Bankee, BPI and Citibank Credit Cards, Warner Brothers Pictures, and media sponsors, Manila Bulletin, K-Zone, Games Master and RAVE magazine, Buy and Sell, Magic 89.9 and NU 107.

Check out the official website at www.toyconph.tk for more info and details on the next event.

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