Due to some personal matters, I wasn’t able to attend the the inaugural ToyCon + PopLife FanXperience event last year. Thus, when given the opportunity to cover this year’s iteration, I excitedly made trek to the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia, despite an aching ankle.
And I got a nice treat in exchange for the pain.
A Parade of Celebrities
While the Philippine Toys, Hobbies, and Collectibles Convention does have celebrity guests every year, this is only the second time that they take centerstage in the event. That is thanks to ToyCon’s partnership with Pop Life Entertainment, bringing in FanXperience.
Dubbed the “Ultimate FanXperience”, the pop culture collaboration showcased exclusive show merchandise, exhibitions, and, of course, celebrity guests.
For this second installment of FanXperience, the event had an impressive lineup of guests. During Day 2, which served as ToyCon + op Life FanXperience 2017’s grand opening, present during the ribbon cutting ceremony were:
- Stefan Kapicic (Deadpool’s Colossus)
- Karen Fukuhara (Katan from Suicide Squad)
- Kevin McNally (Pirates of the Caribbean’s Joshamee Gibbs)
- Lindsay McKeon’ (Supernatural’s Tessa the Reaper)
- Cas Anvar (The voice of Altair in the Assassin’s Creed: Revelations game)
- Charlie Bewley (Dmitri from Twilight)
Aside from their appearance during the opening ceremonies, the guests also participated in the Meet and Greet event held at at the upper floor of the Convention Center.
Kevin McNally gamely interacting with fans during the opening ceremonies (Photo courtesy of Emerson Sy/AkoSiEmersonSy)
Aside from the international guests, there were also a bevy of local pop culture celebrities present. Among them were YouTube personality and former DJ Sir Rex Kantatero and popular Sentai/Power Rangers cosplayer Chris Cantada.
Popular cosplayer Chris Cantada
I unexpectedly bumped into Cantada and his troops of Spidermen while they were rehearsing for their skit later in the evening and he happily posed for some quick shots.
Cantada organizing his Spider Horde.
Timzster, one of Cantada’s Spider-horde
But what was arguably one of the highlights of the event for for local comic book geeks (and showbiz fans) was the appearance of the latest actress to inherit local superheroine Darna’s magical stone: Liza Soberano. Soberano is set to portray the iconic Mars Ravelo character in a new Darna movie to be directed by Erik Matti.
To celebrate her appearance in the event, ToyCon and ABS-CBN, Soberano’s home network, launched a contest on Facebook for the chance of having a Meet and Greet session with her. I joined the contest just for fun and amusingly ended up being one of the fifteen. winners. Due to time constraints, the Meet and Greet event ended up being a quick photo op. But I did get this great pic with her.
(Photo courtesy of ToyCon PH)
But since this is Darna we are talking about, the franchise came into full force. There was an exhibition of memorabilia, including some of Ravelo’s original drawings and comic pages for the character and his other creations. Continue reading “2017 ToyCon + PopLife FanXperience : Of Toys, Celebrities, and DARNA!”