Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Our first ToyCon: what we saw, what we did, what needs improvement

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications, Inc..

My Facebook feed is exploding with updates about ToyCon and I just need to tell you that my family had the fun adventure of trekking to SMX to go to our first ever ToyCon Manila!!! Thanks so much to SMART for inviting me and my boys—big boy and small boys haha—to ToyCon. I swear my life's become really so much more fun ever since I became a SMARTie!

Anyway, we were so excited to go! Toys toys toys! We left early to get there early, but it seems there were more people even more excited than us because the place was already packed with pop culture fans, nerds, cosplayers, and kids. My boys and I are still talking about it! Here's what we saw and what we did:

Voltes V! This was really big—20 feet tall—even though it doesn't look so impressive in this photo. Because it's its 40th anniversary, it was the centerpiece of the event and it towered over everything. I just don't know why it was encased in those scaffolding. It didn't look safe to approach as a result.

The exhibit that we enjoyed the most was the Stan Lee Excelsior!. Stan Lee is Marvel and Marvel is Stan Lee, and this is his personal private collection of Marvel memorabilia.

As a mom of boys passionate about Avengers, I of course had to bring the boys in to check it out. There were vintage comic book covers, artwork, movie props (some signed by the actors!), and other collectibles.

They didn't just check it out. They climbed all over it! Buti na lang napaka-stable ng Iron Man Hulkbuster na yan.

There was a lot of musical performances lined up for the three-day affair. When we went, Japanese musicians Eletric Ribbon, Yanakiku, and DJ Kasu were live.

I must say these Japanese performers are so enthusiastic! And kinareer talaga nila mga outfits nila.

Pero ang kinareer namin ng asawa ko is to catch Game of Thrones star Kristian Nairn. Sana naka-costume din siya like the other people with him! LOLz

We are still reeling from his final appearance on the phenomenal HBO series (naiiyak ako right now just thinking of it) so it was so nice to see him... alive! Hehe.

Here we are at SMART's big booth! These are toy boxes and you pose inside and pretend you're a toy in a box. So smart! Here are my boys as Kai of Ninjago. They loved it!

They're huge fans of Ninjago. I remember having to write down all the names of the ninjas, villains, et al when they started their obsession with this Lego show. Haaaay, mom life!

Yes, as a mom, I do have a few suggestions for future ToyCons so that the experience for families will be better:

1. More light.
We couldn't see anything, guys. It's hard to appreciate toy collections and toys for sale if we can't see the merchandise. The whole venue doesn't need to be lit up like a mall—just the selling areas. I gave my husband and kids a budget. A big budget, too. How much did we spend? Wala pang 2K dahil wala kaming makita!!!

Plus, it's the age of social media. Lahat ng tao there was selfie here, selfie there, picture with toys, picture with cosplayers. But it was soooo madilim. Kailangan pang i-mega filter, mega-brightness lahat ng photos bago ma-post sa Instagram. Huhu, more light please!

2. More room.
SMX is huge. In the middle was the stage. To the left was crammed the selling area, the food area, and the exhibit areas. To the right was practically nothing. So there was definitely lots of space, just not utilized well.

That was another reason we weren't able to shop. The space for shoppers to walk through was like 2 feet wide. There's no space for shoppers to dawdle, look through bins of comic books, check out the toys, haggle. People were pushing each other forward. Super siksikan! Dapat sobrang luwag sa shopping area, at least 2 meters, maybe even 3! There were people with kids, with strollers, on wheelchairs, in elaborate costumes with capes and horns and wings! Two feet?! Really?! Ilang beses kami natusok-tusok ng mga sungay at spada at guns, guys.

3. Real booths.
Real booths and not tables or shelves the sellers had to bring themselves. Yung parang mga tiangge sa Greenhills na may tents and walls so that the sellers are clearly identified and separated from each other. For example, SMART had a really nice booth. Okay, they're a brand so of course they had a nice space, but the organizers sana made the sellers' spaces more pro. Mas masaya ang shopping experience pag mukhang shop!

4. More seating.
Look at my kids sitting on a window ledge. Cute hehe. Anyway, back to my point! Please please pleeeeease provide benches and chairs. A place to rest! We sat on the floor a lot and we had to eat standing up, too. We wanted to explore more but we were so tired from all the standing and walking that we went home earlier than planned. Sayang! We wanted to do more and spend more!

Just four suggestions! Everything else was amazing. That Walking Dead exhibit was unforgettable. The cosplayers were intense. The crowd was fun! It was fun to be around nerds! So congratulations on the successful event, ToyCon! Jampacked with lots of great attractions, stars, musicians, and toys toys toys. Good job!

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