TOYCON 2014 Epic Launch from Resorts World Manila, view from above. (Photo from Red Mendoza / Anime Pilipinas)

Event plans to change venues in 2015; Three Cosplay Groups qualify for World Cosplay Summit Philippines National Finals.

“I think we were just lucky that we were able to find a brand of event that actually caters both to the young and old.”

These were the words of Cholo Mallillin, one of the key people from Collectibles Unlimited, the main organizers of the 13th Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention, on what could be TOYCON’s main reason they are thriving and making a mark in the annals of Philippine pop-culture History.

During the press conference and event launch for the 13th TOYCON PH held for the second time at the Resorts World Manila complex. Mallillin and Victorino Yap, also from Collectibles Unlimited, shared to the members of the press and the audience what could be the reasons why TOYCON has stayed on for long and has made their small undertaking into the most awaited pop-culture event in the country.


Anecdotes by the Founders
(From Left) Abby Enriquez & Theresa Bautista of Pacific Licensing, Cholo Mallillin and Victor Yap pf Collectibles Unlimited, and Francis Bonnevie of Resorts World Manila. (Photo from JM Melegrito / Anime Pilipinas)
(From Left) Abby Enriquez & Theresa Bautista of Pacific Licensing, Cholo Mallillin and Victor Yap pf Collectibles Unlimited, and Francis Bonnevie of Resorts World Manila. (Photo from JM Melegrito / Anime Pilipinas)

“I remember a time when kids, during our time, get together and share our hobby. We all started out by collecting comic books… and then I found myself collecting Star Wars figures and that’s how I met Vic, sa isang garage sale… na nagkahanapan na kami ng Star Wars action figure…. and then we grew out of those little swap meets and little get togethers as collectors and we said ‘let’s put together an event, get more people to join us’… That’s how we started, let’s gather all the people in one room para marami tayong ka-trade.”  Mallillin said of how the seeds of the event were sown.

And then, from that one small seed, which was held first at the Megatrade Conference Center, a tall giant would emerge into becoming the biggest pop-culture event in the country.

He also added that the core of TOYCON was to start the people’s passion together further adding that it is not just about the toys or the buying and selling that comes with it, but with meeting people who love and admire the same things that they do.

“Making that grow, not losing the core of what the event is all about, [which is] the love of collecting, the passion, celebrating what we really love, then it becomes culture.”


For his part, Victorino Yap, also one of the lead people from Collectibles Unlimited, shared that TOYCON’s success can be attributed for one reason: Being lucky to start a trend.

He also added that 90 percent of all existing pop-culture events and organizers started with TOYCON, and he’s proud to say that the event is the “granddaddy” of all pop-culture events.

“It inspired a lot of similar events… organizers [in] try[ing] to replicate the formula” Mallillin buttressed, further adding that they would not continue for this long if they knew the people did not believe in the event.


Batman at 75

Stressing the importance of partnership, One of their lead partners, Pacific Licensing, revealed the plans for the celebration of Batman’s 75th anniversary.

Abby Enriquez of Pacific Licensing told the members of the press that they are now in full swing for the Caped Crusader’s Diamond jubilee with events lined up inside and outside TOYCON, and that includes promotions, sales and the like.

“We will also be having, the first in Asia, an hologram exhibition of Five Batmobiles, It’s actually a 3-D rendition of the Batmobiles from the first history of Batman until today” Enriquez revealed.


Theresa Bautista, also of Pacific Licensing, on the other hand, said that on July 23, to be called as “Batman Day”, there will be a number of activities in store not just in the country, but the rest of the world.

“You can go to your local comic stores, and you will get something there, we’re giving away something.. There’s also something online where you can download. ” Bautista said.

All of this are in preparation for the upcoming “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” movie slated to happen in 2016, which also happens to be the 80th year of their creator DC Comics and the upcoming “Justice League” movie in 2018.


Part of an Epic Summer

Resorts World Manila’s Francis Bonnevie, the Associate Vice President for Special Events, said that the presser and launch is a part of their “Epic Summer” campaign, and says that they are throwing out a big launch party for TOYCON.

“There’s a lot of things happening, and a big part of it is hosting TOYCON.” Bonnevie said.

He also added that they are proud of hosting the event, adding that the resort complex was built for Filipinos and that the Filipino creativity and talent is what they would want to showcase.

“Cosplay is a big part of Filipino talent… so we recognize that. And we’re very proud to hold that here, Resorts World Manila is very active in promoting the arts.”  Bonnevie Said.


Making the Move

Then, one of the members of the press asked Mallillin, if they will consider moving the event for next year, as the SM Megamall Megatrade Halls, their venue for the past 13 years, has become too crowded for them as they set event records every year.

“Yes, we do set records when it comes to attendees, for those of you who don’t know, TOYCON is always one of those events  that brings in [audiences]….. We average about 25,000 people for our three-day event, which is no joke, particularly when [our venue] can hold so many…  There were times that we had to stop selling tickets… Talagang it’s hard to manage, so definitely next year, we’re making a move… next year, we’re moving.” Mallillin said.

As to where they will move, Mallillin did not say, but the Assistant Vice President for Special Events of Resorts World Manila, Francis Bonnevie, was offering the soon-to-be-built Marriott Hotel Grand Ballroom, which has a capacity of 3,000 persons in a round-table sitting setting.

When asked about his thoughts about a possible move, Yap chided that they may consult the public.


App and Gaming companies also invited

TOYCON is also inviting mobile application developers for them to be able to showcase their up and coming games for the top mobile operating systems and let the TOYCON eventgoers.

“Our plan is to invite them… What’s important is… we showcase the best Filipino talents. Previously we were focusing on our comic artists, our toy customizers and toy designers. This year, for the first time, yung mga apps naman.”  Yap said.

“We’re also inviting game publishers [and] the big gaming companies that distribute them for TOYCON 2014“, Mallillin added.

The gaming companies that have confirmed their attendance include War Gaming, Cherry Credits, and Asiasoft-Level Up Games, to name a few.


World Cosplay Summit Philippines Finals: First Time in the Event Itself.
Abraham Cruz (Left) and Krizdel Ingreso (Right) cosplaying Reinhart and Maria of the video game Knights in the Nightmare. (Photo from JM Melegrito / Anime Pilipinas)
Abraham Cruz (Left) and Krizdel Ingreso (Right) cosplaying Reinhart and Maria of the video game Knights in the Nightmare. (Photo from JM Melegrito / Anime Pilipinas)

Mallillin also revealed that TOYCON has just got the license to hold the World Cosplay Summit Philippines finals, which is the first time they will hold the event on their own.

Last year, TOYCON, in partnership with the ABS-CBN-owned cable network HEROtv, held the first ever World Cosplay Summit Philippine Finals in an “event within an event” called as HERO Face Off.

“We started it last year, and this year, we’re pretty much doing it on our own”, Mallillin said.


In related news, The launch and presser served as the qualifiers of the National Capital Region for the World Cosplay Summit Philippines.

Three pairs of cosplayers competed in the qualifiers, in which, the team of Abraham Cruz and Krisdel Ingreso won in the competition who cosplayed as Reinhart & Maria from the Sting Entertainment game “Knights in the Nightmare”, with a score of 1.90.

“We joined [the WCS] because we can represent our well-talented Philippine cosplay community”  Cruz said when asked during the question and answer part on why did they joined the qualifiers.

But because there was a tie for the second place with a score of 1.88, and that the top 2 will be qualified into the National Finals, all of them will compete for the right to go to Japan as an observer.

The other two who qualified are the pairs of Karlonne Santos and Samantha Ahorro & Miggy Valentin and Erika Garbin.

“All we know is that we have prepared well and tried to discover new things in our skits” Garbin, who won the Hero Face Off last year and became one of the representatives of the county to the Summit as an observer, said during the Q&A.


“Rebranded” TOYCON

At the homestretch of the presser, Emmanuel Zara, the host of the event, asked the organizers if they are expecting TOYCON in the future to become a Southeast Asian equivalent of the noted San Diego Comic Convention – International, which is the largest pop-culture event in the world.

“Ten years ago, we’ve been planning [to that] direction. Actually, [and] admittedly, mahirap talagang tapatan ang San Diego and other US-based conventions… So the best thing TOYCON could do is to tap into the Asian regions, but definitely it’s our direction” Yap said.

Yap also says that TOYCON has now been recognized as the pioneering and longest-running pop culture event in the Asian region.

“Next year, we will be rejuvenating TOYCON, nasa drawing board pa lang sya, but definitely we will have a sort of mini event in the TOYCON next year, that we have to see, hindi lang yung venue, kundi yung pakulo na ihahanda namin next year.” Yap added.

“What really kept us from doing this is not so much as hinahabol namin the big shows that are known globally… Our vision is to keep it as distinctly Filipino as possible and to really give pride to the creativity and the passion of the Filipinos.” Mallillin said.


You can watch the full press conference on the video below:

[youtube width=”600″ height=”338″ video_id=”T5ueiAFsae8″]