An Evolution in the Philippine Toy Scene


The Philippine Toys, Hobbies, and Collectible Convention held its 21st iteration last June 14-16. And it promised a whole new evolution in the con. As a regular, I needed to find out what was in store, so I put on my backpack and headed to the SMX Convention Center. 

Throughout its run, Toycon has been, well, about toys. But it was often the big brands that dominated the event, be it Western brands like McFarlane or Marvel or Japanese brands like Bandai and Good Smile Company. They were there.

This time, though, the event highlighted independent toy creators. Some of the top toy designers from around the world attended to share their knowledge. MNDSTYL, the creator of Funko Pop, shared some handy knowledge on how budding creators can create incredible designs. 

Local brands also get to show off their latest collectible merch. Fast food chain Jollibee and renowned designer Quiccs Maiquez drew a crowd with their new JolliTEQ collectible figures. 

Meanwhile, local VFX studio Riot unveiled impressive premium statues for GMA7’s Voltes V Legacy. 

But it was the independent toy creators who really caught my attention. Thanks to the magic of 3D printing, they created some impressive designs. 

One participant I got to chat with was Norman Cagulat of lootBOX+. He explained that he is an architect by trade but also has a passion for designing toys and action figures. One of his impressive creations on display was a 1/35-scale model of the Gundam Aerial from Gundam Witch From Mercury. He said it took him a long time to design the piece and even longer to print. 

An Evolution In The Entertainment Scene

Aside from toys, the venue also offers a lot of entertainment. Toycon became the perfect spot to witness just how much the Asian pop scene has changed. The three-day con was the stage for several J-idol and K-pop acts like Tenohira Ei, Negishi Ai, and N.Ssign.

Kpop boy group N.SSIgn. Photo by Jane Decierdo.

But the local pop acts were definitely a crowd draw. Girl group G22 got the audience all pumped up with their high-energy songs.

PPop duo G22. Photo by Jane Decierdo.

Meanwhile, OPM band I Belong To The Zoo brought the slow rock medley to couples' delight. 

Hot on the heels of popular acts like BINI and SB19, these groups are proving that PPop and OPM are heading towards a new stage in their evolution. 

Evolving Into A Toycon Tito

As always, there are many other things to do around the con. For the kicks of it, I decided to sign up for a YugiOh demo game to kill some time. I haven’t played the popular card game for over ten years and got beaten within three turns. Oh, well. At least I got a free deck.

Parang pusoy lang to.

And, of course, there are tons of toys on sale. But while I would already buy stuff early during the last few years, it was different this time. 

You see, I was in full-fledged Toycon Tito mode this time around. Last year, I brought along my 6-year-old nephew for the first time. The kid liked the experience so much that he nagged me in the last few months to bring him there again. 

When he arrived this year, he excitedly started roaming around. The kid went from one cosplayer to the next to get a picture with them. He also excitedly went through the various exhibits and displays.

And since it’s Toycon, I promised my nephew that he could buy any toy he wants. Last year, he was excited about his wooden cosplay sword. So, what’s it this year? He proudly brandished a full-sized lightsaber with lights and sounds. Yes, the one adult collectors buy. 

I could only chuckle when they told me the price tag. The kid is on his way to be an avid collector. 

It was a proud Toycon tito moment for me. 

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


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