The 10th Philippine Toys, Hobbies, and Collectibles Convention was recently held last 18th and 19th June 2011, at the SM Megamall Megatrade Halls 1 through 3. Organized by VicVic Yap of Collectibles Unlimited, this pioneer of Philippine conventions only seems to grow bigger with each passing year. This year featured — among other Toycon regulars such as cosplay competitions, toy dioramas, and photography contests, the filming of “Cosplay Nation” by Chinese film outfit Yian Studios.
2011 Toycon also played host to the 2nd Philippine Finals of Asia Cosplay Meet, where the winner will be representing the country in the Grand Finals to be held in Singapore this 25th June 2011. The competition was judged by last year’s Grand Finals Co-winner Jia Gold Bustamante, who was one of the three individual representatives from the Philippines. This year’s round is a team competition, and was won by Team Tenshi no Maou — Riyo Lendl Enriquez, Claudine De Jesus, and Marianne Bella Topacio.
The last time we exhibited at ToyCon was in 2007, when the local Pinky:St community Kalye Pinky thought it was a good idea to put up a booth and get more people to join the club. Four years later it’s still basically the same girls collecting Pinkies, but collections have grown drastically to the point that it was time to get rid of some doubles (and triples and quadruples). It was the perfect time to put up another selling booth.
Being stuck behind an exhibitor’s table, you get a different sense of the convention compared to a regular con-goer. Instead of being concerned about how many good photos you can get of the cosplayers and the displays, or how many freebies and contest prizes you can score, as an exhibitor you are more concerned about how well the human traffic is moving past your booth, how good the turnover of your merch is, and what’s the lowest price you can give on an item just to make a sale.
And sell, we did. As one of the most-anticipated events on the local calendar, collectors have been saving up for months in advance for the chance to blow it all at Toycon. There were booths selling designer vinyl and customizable toys, cold-cast resin and plaster figures, comic books and manga, action figures and mini-figs, and every other imaginable collectible in between. There were also a few oddities like booths for health supplements and children’s multivitamins, but generally there was a good cross-section of sellers catering to the many different levels of fandom.
Although most of the booths did brisk business and personally I had no complaints about our sales, there were some gaffs on the part of the secretariat that seriously inconvenienced many sellers; the tragedy is these could have been easily avoided if the events team had communicated properly with each other. There were several incidents of the lights going out in the dealers hall, just because there was something going on at the event hall that needed the lights turned off. Uh Halls 1, 2, and 3 are wired differently, guys — all you had to do was switch the lights off in Hall 3
There was also that particularly annoying announcement by one member of the event staff asking — nay, commanding all con-goers to leave Hall 1 and gather in Hall 2, without giving a good reason beforehand. Excuse me, but we exhibitors paid good money for those people to be there and looking at our wares — why the hell were you dragging them out from underneath us and putting them somewhere else where they can’t buy our stuff?! Dick move, kid — I hope you’re proud of what you did
There is also that one other shoving incident in the center of Hall 2 late in the afternoon, but as we were located in Hall 1 we were blissfully unaware of what was going on. I’ve only heard of second-hand reports, but apparently one of the people caught in the crush was a pregnant lady who was slammed against an exhibitors table by the crowd of over-eager cosplay fans? For shame I hope the organizers learned a lesson in crowd control and hall layouting so that this incident doesn’t happen again in the future.