Wednesday, September 23, 2015

AsiaPop Comiccon Manila 2015

The stage area was like something from Mtv!

This past week, Chris Ryniak and I joined thousands upon thousands of comic, art, and movie fans in Manila for AsiaPop ComicCon.  This event was not only the inaugural AsiaPop ComicCon, but also one of the biggest events of this type ever held in Manila! One thing I really love about my job is that it takes me to so many new places - many of which I would probably never get the opportunity to travel to for any other reason. 

I love traveling, however some places are easier to travel to than others. Manila is far away from FAR FAR away! It took a total of about 19 hours of flying (not including time spent in 4 different airports) to get there.  That's a pretty intense amount of travel, but I suppose the idea that you can literally go to the opposite side of the entire world in less than a day is fairly amazing.  Plus, I got to catch up on a lot of movies while in the air.

We signed so many Thimblestump butts!

The major caveat to traveling across the globe for events like conventions is that you actually don't get to see very much of the surrounding country. The more of these things I am fortunate enough to do, the more I feel that I'm getting a small glimpse into what a lot of celebrities (not that I am one, not even close) have to do all the time. You're shuttled from the hotel to the convention center for a whirlwind experience, and after it's done you leave.  It is actually very un-glamorous for the most part!

I shared a booth with Chris Ryniak in the "Guest Area", a large expanse of black carpet toward the back of the convention hall that was lined with booths around its perimeter.  In our area we had artists, YouTube personalities, models, and cosplayers. From the time we got to the convention center in the morning to the time it closed every day at 8 pm we were busy.  Our table was rarely without people in front of it, and at times we were five people deep with folks waiting to purchase or have their program signed. It was intense! With no exaggeration, I'd not be surprised to find out that I signed well over 1000 things over the course of the convention - it was that crazy!

The "Independent Toy Production" panel, with me, Chris Ryniak, JRyu, and Simone Legno from Tokidoki.
One major thing I learned about The Philippines?  The people there are some of the nicest, warmest, and friendliest people I have ever met.  Everybody wanted to say hello, and people were so excited we were there - it was really an incredibly welcoming feeling!  Here in the States I think we take a lot for granted; we have big Comic-Cons in almost every big city, and we have access to so much of the entertainment industry.  It's easy to assume that it's like that for everyone, but it's not. This was the first convention of its kind in Manila, and everybody was very excited to be there.  And they totally deserve more of it - that enthusiastic and positive energy was just so tangible and electric. It was a really fun show!

Things I learned while in Manila:

1) Los Angeles traffic, even at its worst, has NOTHING on Manila traffic. It's amazing, and somehow, people still get where they are going.

2) The fruit. Oh my gosh, the fruit. I ate so many mangoes. I think it may have been the first time I have ever eaten a truly ripe mango, and it was glorious. Every day I stuffed my face with mangoes, pineapple, dragonfruit, mangosteen, and coconut. Here in the northern U.S. we have some choice fruits that we're proud of (cherries, strawberries, apples), but when your growing season is pretty much all year long, you're blessed with an abundance of amazing produce!

3) The heat is no joke. I wondered why the air conditioning was so blasted cold in all of the buildings - I was about freezing to death the first day of the convention - until we had to walk to a nearby mall (less than a mile away, in mostly shade) and were sweating profusely and thought I was going to die..... at 9:00 am.

4) The cookies are all made of dust. We were gifted a lot of snacks, and it seemed like every cookie or candy that I had looked like it was solid, but when it got in my mouth it just sort of dissolved into a powder and coated the entire inside of my mouth.  They taste awesome, but you really have to be careful not to inhale at all while you're eating it (learn from my mistakes)!

5) The raindrops are the size of ping-pong balls, or larger. When it rains in the Philippines, it's serious business. Don't look up, or you might drown. I suggest ducking into the nearest shopping mall, which is itself the size of a small city.

6) 4,164,912 Philippine pesos equal 1 US Dollar.  Well not really, but it felt that way when handling all of those bills with so many zeroes!

Thank you to everyone who came by our table to say hello, and to everyone who was so helpful and warm and welcoming.  I sincerely mean it when I say it was one of the friendliest places I've ever been, and though we sold stuff and did our jobs there, the people are definitely what I'd go back for. I truly hope there is a next time!

Clover LOVES Halo-Halo (and so do I!)


  1. This blog entry is love and stardust and happy sleeping baby animals. Thank you so much for sharing your time with us in Manila! I'm a huge fan of your work. <3 I do hope there is a next time as well! And.. yes.. Our cookies crumble like all the time and they are VERY messy. Not even we, the locals, are immune.

  2. I am in love with your works! Yours and Chris'. Ive been wanting to buy your work for ages but shipping in the PH can be troublesome. So... I AM VERY HAPPY that you guys made it for APCC MANILA. I hope you guys come back again and I will buy more stuff. Like MORE.

  3. We're so glad you enjoyed your stay! Here's hoping you get to visit again next year and eat all the fruits!

  4. Looks like you got a crash course in Philippine Living 101! :)) But I digress. Thank you so much for visiting Manila! It looks like you had a lot of fun! I'm not a fan but your energy and enthusiasm is infectious so I hope we see you here again!

  5. Hi Amanda!
    I was the one who gave you those mini tiny polymerclay macarons, polymerclay rose ring & dusty cookies (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*

    Those dusty cookies are called polvoron and they are a type of local sweets made by compacting powdered milk, toasted flour, sugar and butter. Sometimes it has powdered nuts.

    Thank you for signing my Thimblestump's butt ♥ Hope to see you guys next year ☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆

  6. I am also a huge fan of your work and it is wonderful to see you people around. Last week my friend had also organized an event at local convention center. I gifted him one of your items and he loved it.


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