For 14 years, The Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention has been the benchmark of a truly successful pop-culture event that has its roots ingrained in the community of friends selling toys, hobbies and other collectibles, before evolving into a major event that has spanned different generations of fans.
TOYCON PH’s roots is perched at the confines of the SM Megamall’s Megatrade Halls since the event started in 2002. The organizers of the event, who were formerly known as Collectibles Unlimited and now known through a more corporate-sounding name as Asian Comics, Toys and Hobbies Collective, Inc., has ruled out any possible move out of their nest at the Megatrade, citing superstition at first, saying that it is their “lucky venue”, to matters of convenience and, lastly, more of simply being sentimental about it.
But times have changed. The explosion of the entire fandom has made it difficult to hold events at the Megatrade Halls of SM Megamall, especially that there are so many newbie event attendees and cosplayers who are willing to join in the ever-growing pop culture community.
That, and the fact that TOYCON PH needs to expand to better pose themselves as Southeast Asia’s answer to the famed San Diego Comic Convention International, was the impetus for the calls from everyone to consider making a big move out of their confines at the Megamall.
That is why in 2014, during their first presser at the Resorts World Manila, This reporter asked Cholo Malillin, one of the organizers of Toycon, if they would consider a move at a bigger venue.
Their answer: Yes, they were considering.
But because of SMX’s very tight venue scheduling and reservations which, according to an insider who told Anime Pilipinas about the intricacies of venue reservations in SMX Pasay alone, would take literally years for the organizers to prepare for.
If, for instance, you would want to reserve an event in a marquee schedule, you should reserve your space at the SMX at least a year before your event. Some events has been reserved for the next two, even three years, thereby assuring them of a choice date and venue.
That was why they had to return to Megatrade, despite all the issues that has hounded pop-culture events in the months leading up to TOYCON PH, and prompting meetings of the organizers and the mall management about security, specifically the flow of traffic along the vicinity of the Megatrade Hall and the newly-constructed Mega Fashion Hall, take longer than the usual.
Nonetheless, TOYCON PH 2015 was held at Megatrade, without any hitches, and with a record breaking attendance to boot. Of course, there were the same old problems that plague the event, but again, it all boiled down on how the event’s security was planned, how the traffic was managed, and how did everyone enjoyed the event.
And for the estimated 23,000 people who attended the event, they probably sure did.
Before this year’s festivities came to an end, Malillin announced to the audience that this year is the last one at the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall, and for the event’s 15th year, they will finally move, for the first time, to the SMX Convention Center – Manila on June 11 and 12, 2016.
Everyone cheered, everyone yelled. It was the sign and the announcement they were waiting for, and Malillin quipped to this reporter: “Wala nang bawian yan!” (“We won’t take it back this time!”)
The questions on how TOYCON PH will survive now that they are in a much more bigger area (and what will they offer for next year) will surely come into play. But let’s leave it in the meantime, for the organizers will have a full year to plan on it, and also to dissect what needs to be improved coming from their successful final outing at the Megatrade Halls. (The December Christmas Toyfair will still be held at the Megatrade, according to Mr. Vic Yap.)
But one thing is for sure: TOYCON PH’s move to SMX has been long time coming, and we can’t wait to join TOYCON PH in their new home next year for their grand 15th Anniversary event.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect the views of Anime Pilipinas, its members, partners, and colleagues. If you have comments or reactions, please email at [email protected].