Team XO has beaten six 6 other competitors to become the first to compete as Team Philippines in the World Cosplay Summit (WCS) 2015 at Hero Face Off 2015 at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall last June 06.
Jennifer Ong and Sarah Jane de Ocampo, members of Team XO, tells Anime Pilipinas that they didn’t expect to win amidst a very competitive batch that included previous WCS Philippines representative Vincent Estapon, and Cosplay Tournament of Champions 2014 winners and Asian Regional Cosplay Competition (ARCC) representatives Abraham Cruz and John Louise Betita.
This is the third time that Davao, in cooperation with Ambox Events which is the WCS Philippines licensee for the Mindanao region, will field a representative to the world-renowned cosplay event.
Aside from Estapon, last year’s WCS Philippine representatives as observers were Mattsu Bernales and Angeleah Mejo.
Ong and De Ocampo, who cosplayed as characters from Dynasty Warriors, won in a tight battle with their fellow from the different legs held in Davao, Cagayan De Oro, Legazpi, and Metro Manila.
Team Nasad, who represented Cagayan De Oro and cosplayed as Silent Hill characters, took the runner-up spot in the competition.
Ong and De Ocampo were overcame with emotion when they heard that they were chosen as the official Philippine representatives of the global cosplay tilt that they hugged their fellow Mindanao Cosplay Summit winner Team Nasad after hearing the announcement.
The winners say they will level up their costumes and are up to the challenge in competing with representatives from 25 other countries.
“We’re up to the challenge. This is the big league. Ayaw naming mapahiya kasi this is the first time the Philippines is competing [in WCS], so nasa amin ang weight,” Team XO says. “Marami pa kaming bigas na kakainin, pero bottomline, what we are expecting the most [is] to meet new cosplayers mula sa ibang bansa. We hope to have fun.”
“Coming here, para kasing underdogs ang labas namin. We didn’t expect, sa lahat ng sumuporta, nakakataba ng puso,” they add. “Lahat ng pagod, ng sleepless nights, were worth it when someone says ‘Wow, ang ganda ng costume,’ na-appreciate yung costume. Maraming salamat sa lahat talaga. It’s our chance, our time to shine.”
The pair also thanked Anime Alliance Philippines and Ambox Davao for their support and guidance.
The judges of the HERO Face Off event included HEROtv channel head Marjorie “Jojo” Neri-Estacio, well-known illustrator Berlin Manalaysay, and the Founder and CEO of World Cosplay Summit Tokumaru Oguri who inspected the costumes of the competitors before the event.
Oguri said that the Philippines, being a first-time competitor for the Summit after two years of being in observer status, has a lot of room for improvement in the future.
“Out of all the teams I saw today, the (Davao) team has the unique materials, I can feel their passion and I think they can still improve more. I can see the potential,” Oguri told Anime Pilipinas through an interpreter.
He also added that despite the heated competition, Filipino cosplayers maintained their camaraderie with each other.
“I am very grateful that the Filipinos love J-culture, that is why I created this event so that the people will love Japanese culture, and that is one of my objectives, to promote Japanese culture to the world,” Oguri says.
“I want the winners to enjoy the competition,” Oguri adds. “It is like the Olympics of cosplay. I want everyone to come to Japan in August, to witness WCS. I want everyone to enjoy Japanese culture.”