Toycon 2023: Celebrating Two Decades Of Being A Kid

This year, the Philippine Toys, Hobbies, And Collectibles Convention celebrated a milestone as it launched its 20th anniversary iteration. And being a long-time con goer, yours truly definitely needed to be there. Check out our adventure. 

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Toycon, as the event has since been known in the fandom, started out in 2002 as a small exhibit for collectors to showcase their beloved toys. From that small venue in Megamall, it has since grown into one of the biggest pop culture events not just in the Philippines, but also in Southeast Asia. 

Even when the COVID pandemic hit and Toycon was gone for two years, everyone knew that it wouldn't stay down. And last year, the event was back to everyone’s delight, in time for its 20th anniversary this year. 

My love affair with Toycon also spans more than a decade. It all started on that fateful day in 2010 when my then supervisor Ate Mitch Coladilla asked me if I wanted to cover the event for her blog. I immediately said yes and got ready for the first of my yearly weekend trips to the con. 

And I would have to admit, my spending during Toycon has grown as much as my love for it. Back during my first one, I only had enough money for the entrance fee and to buy a small what not. These days, I save several thousand pesos for several months just for it. But hey, I would say that is still money worth it. 

And this year was certainly worth it, as Toycon 2023 had a lot in store. As always, the market area was teeming with lots of toys. Be it action figures, model kits, and even kiddie toys, con goers are sure to find something to their liking. There are also tons of anime, games, and other merchandise to satisfy the collectors.


While the market area can be cramped at times, con goers are ready to dive in and come out smiling with their loot. I knew I did. 

Meeting Idols And Childhood Heroes

But of  course, there is more to Toycon than just getting a new toy. It is also all about celebrating the fandom. Be it games,comics,  anime, or live action shows, fans are here to proclaim their love for it. 

Being one of the iconic shows in the Philippines, and a big  part of Toycon since Day 1, giant robot Voltes V was ever present. The cast of the live action adaptation grazed the event to meet the fans. 

Meanwhile, 90s kids were definitely thrilled with meeting two of everyone’s greatest tokusatsu heroes all the way from Japan. Tetsuo Kurata (Kamen Rider Black), Robert Akuzuki himself, got to meet his Filipino fans for the first time. 

Meanwhile, Michael Joe/Red Mask actor Ryosuke Kaizou (Hikari Sentai Maskman) is always happy to see the kids who have idolized him now being adults. A bit of a fun trivia, Kaizou is married to a Filipina and has been a regular presence in the local con scene. This helped endear him more to Pinoy long-time fans.

Tetsuo Kurata (left) and Ryosuke Kaizou (right). Photo courtesy of Rynlui Villanueva.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to see them in person myself, as their panel started just a few minutes after our group went out for lunch. But FlipGeeks writer and toy photographer Rynlui Villanueva was more than happy to share his photos with us, so that everyone can  gawk at the two heroes. 

However, I did get the chance to meet another of my idols. Pugad Baboy creator Pol Medina Jr. has always been a big influence on my writing and artistic works. And thus, when I learned that he will be present in the con, I knew I had to get that photo op with him. 

Letting The Kid Out

Toycon for me has always been a way to let my inner kid free. However, this year’s con was certainly different, as I got an actual kid tagging along this time. I initially asked my five year old nephew jokingly if he wants to come with me when I cover the event. With wide eyes, he answered yes. For the next two months, he kept asking me when we would go to my ”work”. 

Come the day of the con, the kid woke up slightly not feeling well. I asked him whether he would want to just stay home for now. But he suddenly got well and asked his mom to get dressed. Throughout the two-hour ride to MOA, the little boy can’t hide his excitement.

And once we were in the con, he started roaming around and checking the si9ghts all over the place. He also got fascinated with the many cosplayers that roam, running around to follow them and ask if he can have a picture. My sister (his mom) and I were amused that he keeps choosing the ones playing scary characters. 

The kid also knew all the characters well. Not only the popular ones, but also the slightly more obscure ones. He particularly wanted to get a picture with a “Leon: and he and his mom spent the next fifteen minutes searching around the con for him. Turns out, it was a cosplayer playing Leon Kennedy from the Resident Evil video game series. When my nephew spotted him again, he hurried to get the picture. 

And since I promised to buy him what he wanted, the kid said he wanted a sword. At first, I thought it would be one of those kiddie play swords. No, he bought a full sized prop sword. The store owner was amused since he knew which character that sword belonged to, Demon Slayer’s Tanjiro Kamado.

My nephew capped his first Toycon by watching the entire cosplay competition. He was gleefully cheering for each entry. And when his favorite one,Michael Jackson, entered the stage, he went wild with the crowd. The young one also got a photo op with him. But after that, my nephew blurted out, “Ma,that isn’t the real Michael Jackson cause he’s already dead.” We all let out a laugh. 

As we rode our service car home, my nephew fell asleep, still hugging his new sword. That was definitely a fun way to celebrate Toycon’s 20th anniversary. And I am already looking forward to the 21st one next year, this time with my new con buddy. 

About the author Roger Decierdo II. Home-based writer. I work for fun and food. Our exclusive Toy Con correspondent.


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