5. The awesome panels
Most cons here are about the merchandise, cosplay and stage events. It’s only in book or comic related cons do I get to see any panels. NexCon had three of them, and each one was something worth attending. I managed to go to the Komiks Reborn and Cinema Fantastica. I know a lot of people were hoping to see foreign guests (actors particularly), but the NexCon panels were jampacked with Filipino greats in the field of comics, movies, and literature.
Geek trivia game amped to the higher level! Fellow Whovians made a group of six and named it “Gallifrey Stands” (represent, Torchwood Manila as well). We didn’t win, but it was a respectable finish all the same. It was also their 5th anniversary, so the game was pretty intense. Lots of laughter and shenanigans, and thankfully I don’t have to turn in my geek card.
It’s been a while since there has been an event dedicated specifically to sci-fi and fantasy. There are a lot of cons happening yearly around the Metro, but anime usually dominates over other fandoms. There was New Worlds a few years back, but nothing in recent history.
That is, until NexCon. Held last Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1, it was a gathering of fans of sci-fi and fantasy, be it a TV show, books, video games, name it and they were there. The Bayanihan Center was home to these geeks for the weekend, and boy, was it ever crazy.
10. No crowds
I’ve long stopped attending local cons on a regular basis because of the crowds that overwhelm me every time. I usually go there to look for merchandise, but leave as soon as I got what I wanted. Most cons here are anime-centric, and while I was an anime geek from waaaaay back, I haven’t been keeping up with the new stuff these days.
NexCon was a refreshing change of pace. Aside from being able to recognize plenty of characters, it was a place where my favorite TV series was able to make an impact. There were a lot of people, but there’s still plenty of space to move around. The numbers may not have been the same as that of past cons, but still very respectable.
9. A place for everything
I like that the Bayanihan center has different halls and rooms. Merchandise and exhibitors were located in one hall, while panels and other events were located in their respective rooms. There was even space for cosplayers to place their baggage (a fact that was made known to us after the event haha).
8. NexCon Rocks
Did you stay til the end of day 2 and went to the concert featuring Stereodeal, Peso Movement and Paranoid City? We partied to amazing music, danced and pretty much celebrated our geekdom.
My mom and her siblings love playing board games and they had a collection of the classic games when they were growing up. Clue, Sorry, Monopoly, Scrabble, Boggle, Snakes and Ladders, and even the local titles like Millionaire’s Game. This love was transferred to me, my siblings and cousins, and we try to play whenever we get together (a rare opportunity these days, sadly).
Games like these are referred to as tabletop games, because, well, you need a table to play them (with a few exceptions). These include the pen and paper RPGs my friends loved to play back in college, as well as the card games like Magic and L5R.
On April 5th, 2014, we ask you to go to your favorite local game store, coffee shop, library, community center, or host a game day at your home and play more games.
My classmate Joscar is one of the proprietors of Meeple Power Games which has its HQ at the Appraisery in Cubao X. They were hosting a day long event for Tabletop Day, and he invited the rest of the class along. I invited some friends too, but only Drew was able to come.
From 2 PM til midnight, we played as many games as we could. Points were given to winners, people who brought games, people who taught others how to play games and people who were voted “favorite player” by the people they played with. It was wild. Everyone was more than enthusiastic about the games they played, and I don’t think anyone was bored. New games were learned, new friends made and a festive mood prevailed.
The longest running British sci-fi/fantasy television show, Doctor Who, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Pinoy fans of the show got together to celebrate it, and even if we couldn’t watch the show as it aired, there was enough activities to keep everyone entertained.
Joiz and I initially planned to have a small get-together with the usual suspects, as it was also her birthday week. The plans were hatched as we finished watching “The Name of the Doctor” last May, after learning when the anniversary special would be released. But we found out about this party and thought, “Why not?”
The plans to wear something for the event was hatched later on… like, a week or two before the event itself. We wanted it to be simple, but hopefully with an impact. My dress of choice: a Clockwork Droid from the episode “The Girl in the Fireplace”. Her’s was an Empty Child from the episode with the same name.
The party was a blast! We met fellow Whovians (a few of whom I’ve met before through Fiipino ReaderCon pre-event activities) and saw how big the fandom is. There were a lot of people who came in costume: three Cybermen, Miss Hartigan, Tenth Doctor, several Elevens, First Doctor, Fourth Doctor, another Empty Child, a Calvierri girl from Venice, two Weeping Angels, several companions (Sarah Jane Smith and Jamie McKrimmon), K9, the Dalek and a legion of Masters. In an odd twist, the waiters at the venue wore costumes that looked like the Oods’.
Book fairs aren’t an unusual thing here in the Philippines, what with the Manila International Book Fair happening every year, and smaller reader and book cons organized by book enthusiasts all over the metro. Last September 7 was The Day for Filipino book lovers, Aklatan 2013.
What makes Aklatan notable is that it’s the first all-Filipino book fair in the country. Writers Ricky Lee and Eros Atalia said in a panel with Lourd de Veyra and Carlo Vergara said that they wanted to have a book event where local writers and their works were the stars. Ricky Lee felt that many local writers were often sidelined by foreign writers even in local events. Bookstores, while they carry Filipino titles, often lump them together as “Filipinana”, and making them more invisible to the public.
With Aklatan, Filipino writers, authors and publishers as well as their readers, are the stars.
I arrived just in time for the contemporary writer’s panel featuring the aforementioned writers. As expected, it was a laugh-trip talk but full of insights into these particular writers’ minds. In between the jokes and stories of Sir Ricky, Eros, Carlo and Lourd, were pieces of advice that were worth noting.
Depth vs. Variety
Ricky Lee is known to many Filipinos first and foremost as a screenwriter, and the books he had published were related to that field (“Trip to Quiapo” was an invaluable resource for me back in college). But to the younger generation, he is known as an author, a fact which he is pretty thankful for.
I deliberately skipped the Manila International Book Fair for the main reason that my finances will not support the foray into book heaven (or hell, whichever you prefer). Aklatan proved to be friendly to the wallet, as I concentrated on getting only two books and the ebook bundle, but I feared that MIBF was fiercer.
I ended up going there yesterday before lunch just so I could make the cut-off for the Harry Potter raffle. I was an hour late meeting my friend Ching (and I got reprimanded for it), and it was raining like hell. Not to mention that the MoA area was crowded: probably thousands of people were there for different events: MIBF, Best of Anime, the UAAP Cheerdance Competition, the SM 3-Day Sale… chaos.
Luckily, the line for tickets were short. I used my student discount, and once I was in, I made a beeline for the National Bookstore section. With the crowd, I was waffling on getting a copy of the new Harry Potters, but at the last minute I did, and I got a raffle ticket. Ching got one as well, and she also got a poster (which she later gave to me! Weee!). There were a lot of collectibles and Harry Potter memorabilia too, though I wasn’t really able to see them *sad face*
Times like these I wish I stayed more active in the HP community.
Congratulations to the Philippines Volcanoes for winning last Saturday’s match against the United Arab Emirates. It was pretty tense, given how the guys needed this win to stay in this division and qualify for the World Cup.
As I’m rather lousy with recalling the events of the game, here’s an article from GMA News TV for a rundown of the match. Kudos as well to the UAE team who put up a strong fight.
I started supporting the team last year, and I enjoy going to their matches here in the home turf. I’ve gotten to know some really awesome people who are also big rugby fans, and last night was no exception. We bonded over the game, the players and other crazy ideas that are best left unsaid in polite company (which we aren’t, at that time haha).
Here’s a few photos post-game. I love how the Volcanoes take time to mingle with the people who came to watch their games.
With Joiz and my newfound friends, the future board of directors of my corporation. *evilgrin*
Writers in Talks or W.I.T. is a day for both readers and writers to come together and talk about books and the writing process. It is hosted by Philippine publisher Visprint, and is already on its second year.
The whole day affair was held at the Alphaland Towers in Magallanes, along EDSA. As early as 7:30 am, attentees were already queued for registration. Earlybirds were given a Visprint bag and some printouts of works from the guest authors and speakers.
Anne was the one who brought W.I.T. to my attention, having attended last year. This year’s event had not just the usual author talks that one would expect from similar events, but it also had book launches and surprising fun presentations from a few of Visprint’s authors.
Waiting for W.I.T. to start
The morning’s talks were split into two: Fiction writing and comic book writing. It was a difficult choice but I went with the latter while Anne went to the former. Continue reading →
It was a beautiful night as my Couchsurfing friends and I sat on a makeshift mat made of cardboard boxes at the Plaza Moriones at Fort Santiago, Manila. We were waiting for the Manila Transitio to start, and after a full day of walking and eating, it was nice to just be able to relax like this in the middle of busy Manila. We had food and drinks. The night was pleasantly cool and not a sign of rain anywhere in the horizon.
Manila Transitio 1945 is an annual event organized by Walk This Way tours and Carlos Celdran. It is held every February to commemorate the fall of Manila during the second world war where an estimated 120,000 lives of Filipino civilians were lost in a battle. This year, the crowd was treated with performances by the Mabuhay Singers and Deoro.
The program started with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem. It was the second time that day that I sang it, but this time it was in Spanish. It was a pretty rousing rendition and you couldn’t help but be amazed by it. After a few words of welcome from Carlos, the Mabuhay Singers took the stage.
The Mabuhay Singers
The Mabuhay Singers has been around since 1958 and is one of the pioneers of the kundiman genre. Many people of my generation would not be familiar with it, being more inclined to listen to foreign pop acts. It was great to listen to these singers who have been around far longer than I have been alive.
The day after Valentine’s day I was at Izakaya in Greenbenlt with Joiz for an event with Globe. I’ve been a longtime Globe subscriber and I’m generally happy with the service. I have never tried their mobile Internet service because my phone uses only GPRS and that is SLOOOOOOW. Plus, as I’m on prepaid, the charges will surely drain my load. I’m better off relying on Gladlycast or something.
Globe and TM recently launched a service where prepaid subscribers can use their phones to browse Facebook for free. This promo is ongoing until March 14. All you have to do is send FREE FB to 8888 (or you can call *143# for free). Once you’re subscribed you’ll get a confirmation message. Point your browser to m.facebook.com and you’re all set.*
Note that this isn’t applicable for Blackberry users and those who have Opera Mini set as their default browsers. Which is fine with me since it’s only Facebook. I tried it (after I re-downloaded my settings) and so far it works fine with the Facebook Java app. I managed to update my status while in transit and check some messages. Since my phone uses GPRS it’s still rather slow but is good enough in a pinch. I do need a new phone though (that’s a big hint for Globe to give me an iPhone 4S so I can fully experience this awesome thing called mobile surfing haha).*
The other exciting part about that night was meeting a few of the guys from the Philippine Volcanoes (who are Globe’s newest ambassadors): Kenny Stern, Chris Everingham, Jake Letts, Jonny Morales, Darran Seeto, Nick Perry and Andrew Wolff. If you haven’t heard of them, you probably have been living under a rock in the far flung regions of the country. Coach Matt Cullen said that their team was following the footsteps of the Azkals in terms of rising popularity and games played but with a big difference: “We will win.”
From left: Andrew Wolff, Chris Everingham, Jon Morales, Darran Seeto, Nick Perry, Jake Letts and Kenny Stern