Thursday, December 20, 2012

Park Square Memoirs

With all the hoopla about this being the last week of our lives thanks to the Mayans and their incomplete calendar,  I decided to pass by a shop in Park Square One, the multi-level parking lot in front of Dusit Hotel, to hang out and relax.  After a quick conversation with the shopkeeper I was shocked to find out that Park Square One (one of the last original buildings that used to be part of Ayala Quad Shopping Mall) is scheduled to be demolished January 2013.  If some of you guys are still too young to remember, this is what Glorietta today used to be then:

Quad Cinema back in the late 1980's.
I admit, Im old enough to remember what being a mall rat was during the late 80's, where the only legit comic shop Filbars used to be, or that Glico's was the pre-cursor of Timezone, and having a set of cinemas that had Surround Sound instead of Dolby.

The side facing Dusit Hotel
I decided to document this last bastion of Ayala Art Deco architecture as a sort of morbid memoirs to its last few days (or months if there are delays) and give some thoughts on the history of some of the establishments that frankly and surprisingly, lasted for years until today.
Tiangge since the early 90's.
Park Square One used to be like Virra Mall back in the day, and in those days you wont see any tiangge around.  The ambiance is comparable as walking through Glorietta 2, all the glitz and flash of a brand new mall showcasing the best a mall can offer.  Nowadays small tiangge's litter the place, making it look like an indoor flea market, probably to cater to those who want to sell their wares at a much cheaper price than what Glorietta usually offers to their tenants.

Golf Depot was one of the oldest specialty sports stores, even older than Toby's.  This used to be the premier sports shop, if you cant afford to go to its nearest competitor in Makati Cinema Square.  It used to sell not just golf equipment, but gym weights, bicycles, fishing gear and even camping gear.  Now they're slowly going back to just plain golf, and selling them at discounted prices.

Lyric Music Workshop used to be where Yamaha School of Music was, and it still offers music tutoring all year round (back then, my Mom would always try to convince me to enroll there for piano lessons, which never really came to light).  But I had friends who started their music there, mostly guitar lessons.
Kawloon House at the corner facing Pasay Road has been my favorite place to buy good quality yet very affordable siopao.  In fact, it was the only store that sells siopao by the pair that guarantees a full stomach despite being a "snack" food.  It still does, although a bit expensive these days at P60 a pair (it used to be P40 back in the 90's).  One of the most memorable thing about this place is that this is where I first learned the rumor about cats being part of the menu, with Kawloon being the top-of-mind store to be used as an example. But that still didnt stop me from eating them, if anything, it convinced me that cats are really good to eat.
 Back then, Magoos used to be one thing: 24 hours pizza! Before the advent of convenience stores like 7-11 and Ministop, Magoo's Pizza was the ONLY store that was open 24 hours.  And at the height of popularity of a certain mutant superhero turtles, this was the place to be to hang out after the movies, or after the malls closes and you still want to burn the night away with your barkada.

This particular store was most memorable because we hanged out here after Prom Night at Intercontinental Hotel back in day.  The pizza was way better than the crappy hotel food they served us then.

Another establishment that been there, like forever, Odyssey was my place to keep myself updated with music.  With no internet and mp3, cassette tapes were hot items in the store, and this is where you can ask the store keeper to open a cassette tape and play to check on quality.  Of course there were times we were acting like cheap douchbags and simply let them play until we got tired of it and leave without buying anything. XD  But its still surprising to see this still in business despite the internet and the mp3's.  But its not without saying that its already part of a dying breed.  
My friends used to record their songs here.  And they come home holding out cassettes with their band name written on it and pretend they bought it from Odyssey next door.  There were rumors that famous bands used to hang out here to do private sessions.  Even nastier were the supposed orgies.  Ah, High School and testosterone, best mix ever.

5th Avenue was the Octagon or CDR-King of its day, one of the first stores in Ayala to sell all sorts of electronics from portable radios, to pagers, 250mb ram desktops and the ridiculously priced Nokia 3210's.  Now they're pretty up-to-date but obviously could not compete with the more prolific branches of other popular electronic stores.

If there was a geek mecca I used to hang out before there was any Great Toys or Toy Conventions, there was this store.  Lil's was and until now the best place to buy original Tamiya stuff.  There are also tons of other things that you may find interesting that not within mainstream, like realistic flying paper plane models, ships, unusual kites, diorama parts and even weird chibi plane models kids.  There's very few selection of Gundam kits though because they are more of the plane, ship and tank types.  And they have the best selection of paint kits anywhere.
Im relieved to find out that they will be moving to Glorietta 2 real soon, so huge loss there.

Another shop that withstood the test of time, Island Photo was my choice of store because the crew there tend to be more helpful and friendlier than their rival, but that was back in the day where I used to take photos using film.  The also offered back then, the most affordable and best quality blow up pictures as well (and no, it has nothing to do with explosions, just making your 3R photos into posters.  Lets be honest, you're googling what a 3R is, arent you? XD)
Every time I look at this store, I keep asking myself why the hell did they remove the pile-as-high-and-all-you-can salads?   Nothing spells like A-M-E-R-I-C-A than Wendy's. Yes, this store beats that clown when it comes to feeling American when you come inside, with their American accents before Call Centers invaded the country.  Now they let their cashier ladies say their english with their accents.  But you have to admit, I always come back for the Frostee.

I decided to check out the parking lot area next.  Plenty of things changed since then, particularly when half of the space was allotted to having a jeepney terminal, which is all good since the area does need one after the supposed bombing of Park Square Two back in 2007 eliminated the bus terminal stationed there.
This used to be the spot where a bridge used to connect Park Square One to the old Glorietta 2.  Now I can only get a glimpse from this point.  The connecting bridge is now located at the 4th floor which leads to SM Department store.
I used to ply these walkways, and at one time in costume, when a cosplay convention was held at Glorietta One cinema.  The ceilings were so low, I can actually hit my head when I came in walking in my Robotech Cyclone suit.
On the 5th level you'd find the CityKart Racing circuit.  I never tried this place before but one day I might, before they demolish this.  This area used to be the TAMIYA RC Racing Circuit before CityKart took over.

So those were my thoughts on Park Square One.  People there tell me that the building will be replaced by one of those condo buildings that's so popular nowadays, perhaps to directly compete with Dusit Hotel across the street. Its a nostalgic trip for sure, but as we all know, the only thing that's constant is change.  Its pretty depressing to lose another icon of my childhood and high school years, but these things need to move on, and perhaps for the better.  Glorietta isnt so bad nowadays, and for sure, years from now, younger generations will also ponder on the days long past as they will bear witness to another set of building demolished to make way for new ones.

So I leave this article with another set of photos of Park Square One.  Its been a nostalgic journey, PS1, im going to miss you for sure.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pre-Blog AFA post

Im still writing up my upcoming post about our experience attending AFA in Singapore as well as Singapore in general.  So for now, enjoy our Zaku Zanyness.

And yes, im the green guy on the right.  Pink will always be more awesome. XD

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cosplay Mania: Five and still Fighting

Let me start with an excerpt from a wikipedia entry of the song "Superman" by the singer "Five for Fighting":
The narrator portrays himself as misunderstood and unsure rather than the god-like figure others see; he does not feel as powerful and perfect as people see him, and at the same time believes he is more than simply that heroic, unreal figure. Instead, he describes himself experiencing an ordinary man's struggles to understand himself, to live up to expectations, and fulfill his responsibilities, even while he is aware of how much greater his responsibilities are.
For the last 5 years I've been with these extraordinary group of people who had nothing on their minds but service for others, even when the subject in question is cosplay, a subject people can easily take for granted.

After all this time, I can easily say that Cosplay Mania, the event, can be compared to Superman of this particular song.  It started out small, delicate yet firm in its belief that it could do much good to cosplay enthusiasts.  It came out of the blue, out of the sky, falling in a capsule of ideas that could have exploded on impact or never made it to its destination due to a wayward thought or dismissal of pessimism.  It was unreal, alien, a hobby which came from a different culture (Japan) yet we adopted it and molded it as our own.  The whole Cosplay Mania team, the people behind it, the organizers, marshals and volunteers, were like the Jonathan and Martha Kent of Superman's world - people who believed in old-school values while embracing the new with parental understanding.

But like the song, Cosplay Mania has its own share of insecurities and weaknesses.  But despite all that, the driving force behind it still believed that it was worth all the wisdom it can gather and learn from, and from there, fly off to become an inspiration to others.

I've observed that some people see Cosplay Mania and the people behind it as supermen/women themselves: untouchable, invulnerable, and laden with enough superpowers to decimate any imagined opposition.  They were either admired (and sometimes *shudder* worshipped) like saints or demi-gods, or despised because of it, making their own assumptions to justify their dislike towards the event and the people behind them.  Sometimes decisions are made that aren't very popular, and would endure the storm fed by fear, ignorance or malice.  Thus is the tragedy of being in the spotlight, but like always, we make it a point to simply hold our heads high and aim for something much higher, because we know our actions, and the result of that, will speak for itself.

On a personal level, it has been a struggle to define myself as either the Clark Kent or Kal-El when it comes to helping out Cosplay Mania.  Its a double life I live in, juggling personal and professional obligations while helping out my own responsibilities for the event.  I never intentionally kept my other life secret, its just that I never really talk about it.  Its easier for me to deal with it without the annoying questions that came with the discovery.  But its already general knowledge here in the office when it comes with my hobby, except when you're newly hired.  But apparently I had reached my limits when what I dreaded finally happened: when your job and personal obligations intersect with the event itself.

I've seen it coming actually, three years ago in fact, and that I have been grooming my friend Zaerone to lead the Costume Building Contest, an activity close to my heart.  This was his very first year without me, and I'm glad he was capable of leading on his own, but I really wished he should start finding an assistant soon before all of his hairs turn grey with stress.

Since February I've been helping out Cosplay Mania through graphics productions, although the poster designs for Cosplay Mania and TORCH, I give all the credits to artists Wilson Tortosa and Ruben Devela for the designs.  I simply did the layouts and everything else (well except the huge tarps and souvenirs, where Elben helped me with).  The only thing I wasn't sure of was who made the giant tarp of the TORCH finalists draped over the second floor near the escalators.  But even the demands of the event can make a man weary, especially if I have to satisfy equally the demands of other things like work and home.  These are the times I'm very grateful to friends who are more than willing to lend a helping hand in those times of weakness.

With all these Superman references, the obvious question is what would be Cosplay Mania's kryptonite?  Will it be in a form of a hypothetical Lex Luthor, Brainiac or Darkseid?  No, it's kryptonite would be this picture below.

Without these people (the organizers, marshals, volunteers, sponsors, guests, congoers and cosplayers) Cosplay Mania would be nothing, a dry husk without meaning. A kryptonite that instead of your usual lethal green kind, its the blue one that heals.  We were all blue kryptonites, caring and healing and helping it grow (unless you're the Smallville version, we're screwed, so lets pretend to be the Super Friends version, shall we?).

We all look forward for the next year and what our humble event can do, to provide a venue for creativity for all cosplayers out there, and yet still dependent on all the Jimmy Olsens, Lois Lanes, Perry Whites, Jonathan and Martha Kents and a huge plathora of supporters and super heroes.  A huge thank you and we promise keep on fighting for a better Cosplay Mania for all you blue kryptonites out there.

So unless we turn into some sort of Bizzarro, our quest for flying ever higher will never fade.  So here's to a sixth and beyond!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Got CosCards

Finally gave in and ordered Cosplay Cards.  For those who dont know, Cosplay Cards, or CosCards for short, were a popular method of introducing yourself to other people or fellow cosplayers while showcasing your own costume (as normally, costumes often identify those who wear them, well most of the time).

A little personal history: I first encountered these CosCards when I was in Singapore attending Anime Festival Asia 2011.  My hotel room mate and friend Rochelle (better known as Magnetic Rose in the cosplay/anime/blogger community, and her website of the same name) suggested that I bring these CosCards, which at that time I had no idea what for, as the idea of having a calling card is often reserved for more formal business ventures.  But then I found it extremely useful in introducing oneself while cosplaying, especially to photographers and fellow cosplayers, although I do found it a bit embarrassing as I am not used to giving it around like a businessman (as I see cosplaying as a fond hobby).  But I guess I rationalized the use with having my blog site known, and to let everyone know that Robert Wong is Evaguy01 (as if that mattered, but well, I disgress).

Neways, I guess it can be a good stroke to one's ego to have your costume firmly identified with you, like when someone would say "Ooooh, so you're that camouflaged Zaku I saw in this convention!" and with a cosplay card as solid evidence.  But its not 100% as accurate as a regular ID, but its all fun anyways.

Had my CosCards made by, so if you feel like ordering some, feel free to check out their page!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Its been hell of an effort to juggle my time between two "jobs".  The reason for the quotation is that one is a job, the other I really dont see it as a job, rather as something I like doing.  Except, well, its just as stressful with deadlines.  And my wrist is beginning to hurt.

Every year we organize this cosplay-centric event called Cosplay Mania, and every year it gets bigger and better (this year, one of the newest addition to the event is the much awaited visit of Japan's premier cosplayers Kaname and Reika, as well as returning Singaporean guest Jesuke).

For the past year I've been assigned to help promote the Costume Building Contest.  This year I left it and instead took the full time assignment as Graphics.  Its pretty much more stressful then I initially thought, and many times ive considered if I took the wrong decision in leaving the comforts of CBC.  Plus the requirements of my other steady job is also taking its toll, and its been one hellweek after the other.  For the past month I work the regular hours, only to be greeted back home with another set of work.  Yeah, the one thing I always treated as a past time, im now viewing it as work.  I swear not an after work hour nor a weekend has passed that's not cosplaymania related.  That's the beauty of being a graphic artist: you only work as fast as your PC.  There are times one project can last a whole day.  Getting concepts right is beginning to be less and less easier because most of the time, I come home tired, and then sleep late, then off to work early, come home tired then sleep late again.  Over a month.  I swear its not healthy anymore.  I feel I could just drop dead anytime.

Am I getting paid for the second set.  Yes and No.  Yes there are perks that go with it but its mostly non-financial.  No, because well, Im not getting a salary.  Just the upcoming satisfaction of a job well done, and hopefully being appreciated for it.  Dont worry, I am being appreciated every year.  Its that this year its just extremely stressful.  I noticed my mouse wrist hurts when im under stress.  I may end up getting Carpal Tunnel like my left hand had years ago (its ok now, no surgery needed).

Just hang in there, I guess.  A month before Cosplay Mania.  The best perk I can look forward to, is that when its the actual day, I have no actual duties to do since being graphic artist meant Im done before the event starts.  Wish I have time to finish my planned cosplay costume too.

In the meantime, I'll probably need some sort of hand rest to prevent further damage.  If only the office allows novelty mousepads like these. XD


Oh well, back to the grind then.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I couldn't resist and bought the book. I know its seems like spoiling myself for the upcoming movie, but I was curious how it was written and after reading the first two chapters did I realize how interesting the movie would be.

My only comment and advise for everyone is that if you plan to buy the book and expecting it to be written like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, you might be disappointed with the writing style, or in my opinion, very much relieved that it veered away from lifted literature and created its own fictional alternate history biography of one of America's well known presidents.

The best comparison I can give when comparing the storyline is that its similar to George Lucas' Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire where you get to see what happened behind the scenes that led to The Empire Strikes Back, except that Star Wars was never a factual history, nor that George Lucas (no offense) wrote Shadows in the way he wrote the prequel Trilogy. Although with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter I would need to brush up with the history of America's Civil War to fully appreciate the scenes and situations that dotted its literary landscape.
 So I'll leave it to you guys to either watch the movie or read the book first, but for now I wont mind spoiling myself on the details of the story, as the book entertaining in itself.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My really late Toycon Day 3 Report

The last day turned out to be quite a handful in terms of sales.  Most of our shirts were out, since we never really considered to properly calculate our tshirt stock.  But since we were able to make good sales on the last two days, every sale we have today is considered enough to deal with overhead expenses. We ran out of Big Bang shirts and we are left with whatever is left to sell.  But as I said earlier, since we made good sales, we could buy another set of collectibles if ever we find one.

I actually stumbled into the Pepsi Nex Gundam Bear Char Zaku, including this very detailed figure of a Zaku I that was similar to my Zaku cosplay in Singapore's Anime Festival Asia. What's special about the Gundam Bear is that its original, as compared to my previous findings. (photo 1) (photo 2)

Also found these cool Evangelion 2.0 figures that are just 2.5 inches high.  Its not shown in the picture but these came with accessories that include a thermal shield, guns and vibro-knife.  Too bad though the EVA-01's horn was half missing, but the overall was still ok.

This was the last one bought, just within the hour before closing time.  I stumbled into this T-800 limited articulation 5 inch figure in the booth just across us.  And it was an incredible find for two reasons: (1) it was being sold for only P50 and (2) it was molded from glow-in-the-dark PVC.  The gun, I bought from another store that sold figure accessories.  Too bad somebody bought all the gatling guns so I opted for the next best thing, the shotgun.

Again, the spending didnt even go beyond P450, with the total 3 day spending with only just P1,350.  Im happy with what I got and proud to say that some of them are simply gems you cannot just get with the price you haggled for. :)

End of report.

My really late Toycon Day 2 Report

Day 2 was as expected, a whole "universe" of people who took advantage of the weekend to come over and buy stuff at Toycon.  Sales were good to the point that we ran out of both the Robotorso and United Colors shirts ran out just after lunch.

I came in late that day because the whole morning I was out picking up our second delivery of our shirts, particularly the Big Bang.  We had people reserve that shirt since yesterday and they were all scheduled for pick up that day.

Also Im glad Toycon also improved its floorplan layout, separating the cosplay "universe" (their new name for their cosplay event) from the sellers floor to avoid last year's fiasco about overenthusiastic cosplay fans bothering the buyers and sellers of Toycon (not against cosplay being a cosplayer myself, but after all, thats why its a Toy Convention, to cater to toy enthusiasts).  So since its separate, those who want to check out cosplay event can go to Hall 3, while everything about toys can go to the opposite side of the event.

So again I get to find another set of collections that's within my budget.

These came in a pack and its all made of high impact soft plastic
Saw again this treasure of Zeon conscript toys, a ACGuy, Z'Gok and Zock. They were pretty sweet deals considering the Zock was over 5 inches high.

Rei taking a break, while the other's body is ready. XD
Also, as part of our growing collection and my wife's insistence, our con visit would not be complete without some Rei Ayanami figure hunts.  There are a lot, best ones are every expensive.  But the beauty of the hunt is to find one that is so unusual yet very affordable.  Saw this pair in another toy bucket booth and is now added to our collection display at home.  They were original figures although I feel both are loose figures as they came without any form of platform or accessory.  Plus the Bread Snack Rei's head was broken from the neck down so I had to repair her when I got to home.

I have no idea who they are but they were cute and affordable enough to be collected.
Found this set literally in bits and pieces.  These were inside Flux's toy box, where I saw the heads, feet, arms, accessories, etc all over the place.  Flux told me if I were to find every last piece, he's willing to sell it to me next to nothing.  Since I  had plenty of spare time in my hands during the lull hours of the t-shirt sale, I knelt down and did some serious digging.  I was able to assemble the yellow one on the left and the blue one on the right (who was later identified by my friend Wilson as a figure from the Super Robot Wars series).  The middle ones I accidentally assembled because I mistook them as parts of the ones I originally found.  In the end, the booth owner gave those two in the middle to me for free.  That was awfully nice of him!

All in all I was able to spend less than P450 for all of them.

Meanwhile, if you remember that almost naked girl figure I bought on the first day, I had clothes made for her and made her our official Chesto Booth model. :)

Now on to Day 3.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My really late Toycon Day 1 Report


The annual Toycon started on a Friday, and to make it interesting for me, it became my first time to be there as a seller instead of a buyer (well, most of time anyways).  So along with my wife, we were selling our shirts under the brand Chesto featuring my parody and mash-up designs popular pop-culture elements.

In the meantime, visit our Chesto Facebook page to make this shameless product placement a wee bit worthwhile. :P

As expected, since this wasn't the weekend, this was considered the soft opening for the event.  Even on a weekday there were a very decent amount of visitors and by 4pm the halls were already full of people (but not full enough to get rid of your oxygen supply-- that im expecting this weekend to happen!).  We were able to sell a decent amount of shirts that day and were hoping to get more buyers this weekend.  Best seller that day was one of the Nippon Humor shirts, particularly the Robotorso.

But as usual, it wont be any less meaningful if I attended a Toycon without checking out the toys.  Fortunately we were located right beside The Toy Stash booth, which to my surprise was part-owned by Flux, boyfriend of my former classmate in UP Fine Arts, Hiyas.  So he graciously gave me free reign over one of his toy boxes and I scrounged for unusual collectibles, and I was not disappointed.

4 inches high die-cast with flamer and static pilot figure!

The helmet opens to reveal pilot.  You can remove the head to reveal an empty suit.
Either Alex Murphy had major revamps on his hardware, or Darth Vader decided his old suit sucks.

I was very surprised of my find.  I recognized this immediately when I saw its dark drab olive color.  And I only saw a picture of the toy in a New Type magazine back in 2004.  Its the Power Suit of Starship Troopers. Yes, the one Robert Heinlein wrote and made into a B-movie starring that Guy-who-met-your-mother.  After the movie was launched, Japan decided to create a short lived anime that included this design (Although it was never animated/revealed, methinks) but ended up in the Revoltech series.   Flux seemed impressed how I was able to identify it immediately and even offered me the static orange figure that went with it.

Later I found this little cute gem of a toy, unusual because of the subject: a marble-spitting SD Godzilla. XD

2 inch high plastic of awesomeness!
I love this guy's gaping expression and the marble that went with it was subtle enough to make it compliment the toy as a whole.  I showed this to my wife Jewel and promptly displayed it on our booth desk like a Maneki-Neko or Japanese Fortune Cat.  Its actually a cute homage considering Godzilla's design was indeed part cat due to its small almost indistinguishable ears.

Later that day I decided to dig in Flux's box and saw this most unusual thing that I couldnt believe was in the box. It was so obscure that I had no idea where it came from, but I suspect it to be North American in origin as the attempt to make an anime-esque style seemed to fall into the Strange Zone.

Yes, she came with the stand, and a pair of panties.

The last one was the kind of impulse purchase as I never really came across something so, well, it was just like sitting there with no one batting an eye to her direction due to her unusual circumstances.  So despite what my wife initially thought of my motives, I bought it anyway and took her home with a plan in mind.

The whole bunch didnt fall beyond P400, believe it or not, so I was still within my promised budget of P500 a day collecting toys that are strange enough to be worth keeping.

My overall thoughts on the Toycon event itself is that its considered a "slow" day since its the weekday, but it was the last weekday of the salary week that enough con goers passed by to buy enough shirts to pay off the rent. :D

Next entry will be about Day 2.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pets cosplaying their favorite characters?

I am amused as how some event organizers cash in on the cosplay craze and use it to describe costume party events.

Case to point: Pet Cosplay.

Making costumes for your pet is a common and generally liked hobby by pet enthusiasts.  But to use the word "cosplay" usually brings to mind a mind-boggling marriage between a hobby about wearing costumes of your favorite character, and a creature that generally has a hard time communicating with humans what their favorite is, beyond their familiar comforts such as food, shelter and attention.

Cosplay is about wearing the costume of a character you love and admire.

Im sure he admires lobsters.
I  have nothing against owners dressing up their pets.  I think its cute that they wear something different once in a while to amuse human beings.  I just don't like how Cosplay is being inserted in just about everything concerning costumes.  What's next? Ati-Atihan CosplayMariones Cosplay?

Going back, I had always hoped that cosplaying would be within the limits of pop-culture and its fandom, normally done inside the confines of a convention.  It would help as a reminder that we are there to celebrate one's fandom, that we chose to do so willingly and not forced unto us by higher beings thinking we look cute in them, or its a sure-fire way to win a contest by sacrificing our dignity.

For the record, I'm glad that pets are such forgiving creatures.  Either that or very patient ones when it comes to plotting their revenge.

Its been a while

Its been a while since I last posted.  For the past month there has been so many things I'd like to say about cosplay but I just end up deleting the whole entry because it reads like I overdosed myself in LSD and is now looking for a face to chew on.

But in the end, I realized its just wasn't worth the time to mull over as there are much better things to work on like preparing for upcoming Cosplay Tournament of Champions and Cosplay Mania.  In the end I'm glad I didnt go through my initial foam-in-the-mouth rants as a few days later I read this article by cosplayer Jin Joson called "The Misunderstandings about Cosplay" and my faith is restored.

If you don't know who Jin Joson is, then it's high time that you should go beyond the media drivel of "cosplay gods and goddesses" labels and get to know her, as she is in my opinion the best person to represent the virtues of cosplaying.

A lot of people tend to follow only the surface and never dig deeper as their reasons are never really about the hobby but about other things.  Don't worry, I totally understand that one.  A friend may have invited you to join in without providing any real insight, or discovered your crush has joined the ranks and wanted to be part of it just to be close, or you saw the success on TV and decided its a stepping stone to fame and fortune-- these can be legitimate stepping stones in trying to find out the real core of the matter regarding cosplay.  That is, if you are even willing to take that one crucial step beyond that.  But since not many people are really the research type and are more of "im-just-here-for-the-moment", they probably wouldn't care less about the hobby's core concept and history and just go with the flow and make things up as they go along.  "Walang basagan ng trip".  To each his/her own.

The sad thing about this is that some of the media (traditional and new), in their goal of making things more interesting, make things up and label it as their "their own style" just to make theirs different and yet use the same word to describe them.  Sooner or later, the Apples and Oranges comparison will no longer exist, as the end product will most likely have no resemblance other than the kind that stink.

But I'm just glad that there are still those who do it right.  I was asked time and again that maybe I should be more vocal about my views or even be more involved.  I am in my own way, through this blogs, through the events I help organizing, and by example.  I'm not after sending a loud message for the masses, just a clear whisper for the few willing to listen or having the patience and insight to ask.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What the Internet taught me about Holy Week

Advisory: This entry may contain several Christian references and practices that may be unfamiliar to readers, but are welcome to read and understand.

Holy Week has come and gone, and we are again reminded of how much was sacrificed to save what remains of our faith and continue on learning how to live by it.  But as the long weekend has passed, I have arguably spent a good amount of my non-working 5 day vacation sitting in front of the computer (or cellphone thanks to WiFi) either finishing up other projects, playing games or surfing the internet.  And in the internet is where I would mostly try to figure out the world around me and how things have progressed as time passes by.

I'm sure you've stumbled into this picture before (see left).  This picture and what it triggered has intrigued me for the past two days.  It was spreading like wildfire in Facebook and other social media.  And the comments ranged from pity to fire-and-brimstone flaming.

"Galing mo,,ginawa mong laruan ang krus na sya tumubos sa kasalanan ng tao."

"Oh. Such a disgrace :(" 

"what's great with those pictures? all I can see was full of thrases with people there disrespecting our God. They don't even know what they were doing and yet they are having a good time. Such worthless creatures that doesn't deserve God's Love."

 And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  More so with those posting in the cosplay community where I'm in, and the posts were as unflattering as what I just mentioned here.  Honestly I felt shock when I saw this picture, but kept quiet because I wanted to know how exactly did this happen.  Eventually I stumbled upon the Facebook album where it originated and also read an online article describing the event and eventually concluded that the cross was actually part of a tourist attraction in Angeles, Pampanga for photo ops.

I felt sad how much internet culture has permitted us to spread news like wildfire and post comments without any thought of consequence.  Many have already condemned the woman for violating our religious icon by posing sexily for photos, without giving any thought of why she did it.  Is she even Catholic?  Is she local? A foreigner who knew no better?  Why isnt anyone surrounding her stopping her from climbing up the cross and be photographed?  And why are there several pictures of other people doing the same thing?

Questions no doubt will probably be answered soon, thanks to our local media finally getting hold of the story.  I hear it was already featured on TV.  And the contents actually, in their own little way, lectured to those who callously called the woman a sinner, hypocrite, disbeliever and such, to take time to look into themselves and ask how pure their intentions were in the first place.  Which makes me wonder how selective we are in determining which is considered blasphamous and which is considered tolerable, particularly in the anime and cosplay community.

 Tokyo Babylon Cross Fashion

Cross-motiff gun to destroy a lot of things
Rei chained to cross in sexy dress. Nuff said.

And I'm pretty sure even popular artists are very much into these things.

Or some might call, Gaga on a Stick.

Madonna, obviously not singing "Like a Virgin"

So at the end of the day, I often wonder if i'm the only one who seems strange enough to say that somehow, these images don't disturb me enough to make me go raging over the internet.  Is it because I have a good sense of humor?  A sizable level of tolerance?  Or because I'm pretty much jaded by what's been going on these days?  Probably a little of everything.  But once in a while I always thought that we are all very much human in so many ways, that I am reminded that perhaps God designed us that way, so that in the end we would realize our mistakes and move on to become better human beings.

I think that's a much better deal than being born completely perfect.