Jul 25, 2011
Cosplay Network Philippines in cooperation with Fernbrook Gardens, Anime Alliance and Ormagn Eventures held an event called Fantasy Quest and was held at Fernbrook Gardens, Las Pinas on July 23, 2011. Highlights of this event included a cosplay ball, photography seminars, booths, a fireworks display, the chance to meet and greet two cosplayers from Thailand, Yuegene Fay and Yolkler, and a cosplay workshop.
Pictures of the event can be found HERE
First off, I’ll introduce myself.
So, hi. I’m Momo. I’m mostly a videogame fan, though I’m also a Code Geass fag and a Tales series fag. I’ve been cosplaying since 2001, and right now, I’m into cosplaying male characters.
With that said, let’s move on with my take on this event.
Personally, I did not set any standards for it, mainly because I have doubts if the organizers can really live up to its promise of making it a ‘fantasy con’. I do not know much about event organizing, only that it is stressful and time-consuming, but seeing posts on the Facebook page wherein they were doing last-minute advertisements for food merchants, bus rides and what-not made me think that the event will not be going as planned.
Don’t get me wrong; I had fun with the event, but like many others, I expected more. Whenever the event was mentioned, I thought of a cosplay event that would be like a ball that we read in fairy tales. Cosplay costumes would range from ball gowns to tuxedos and the music played would be Japanese love songs. In short, the event that I had in mind would be prom-like, with cosplay infused in it.
What I got, however, was an event that tried to be something that failed to live up to its expectations.
The venue was grand. Hands down, that was the factor that made up for the disappointment. It really was a perfect place for photoshoots, and my friends and I took advantage of the place to get some nice photos done. The entrance fee was worth it, in my opinion, and going out of the way to get to the venue was worth effort as well.
Unfortunately, that is where the positive side of the event stops.
Ticket prices were reasonable. I don’t mind paying PHP250-300 for tickets as long as it will be worth my while, but I heard that VIP ticket holders had some problems, like the food that was served to them (I don’t think everyone eats dinuguan) and they did not experience the gondola ride or even the horse-drawn carriage. That really was a disappointment for those who paid more.
Another issue with the ticket was the promised rebate. Apparently, they said that they could not give back the rebate was because they lacked change. How difficult was it to at least anticipate and prepare PHP50, given that many people would go to the event (it is a cosplay event, after all) and be in costume? Also, it seemed that they lacked the initiative to give the PHP50 rebate, as cosplayers would have to be the ones to do the approaching to claim the money.
What made the event a total disappointment for me was that the line up of activities was hardly felt by the attendees. After I got dressed into my costume, I had no idea where the event hall was until it was pointed out to me by a friend of mine. Marshals also seemed like they lacked the enthusiasm to tell cosplayers to go to the event hall, for many had no idea on what was happening. When we got to the event hall, there was so much dead air that we kept exiting because we were so bored.
We ended up hanging out in the baggage area where it was cooler and we amused ourselves silly with story-telling. There was also supposed to be a ball, but I did not stay long enough to experience it, though I heard from some friends that it ended up like a club/rave party because they kept playing house music, and not anime songs. What was more disappointing is that they opened a poll to ask the attendees the songs they want to hear during the ball, and when they did start playing the appropriate songs, it was too late. Either the attendees were too tired to dance, or they went home already.
The impromptu catwalk surprised me the most, as they had not said anything about a catwalk in the event page. What happened was that those in costume were encouraged to line up and pose on stage. Marshals were asking my friends and I to catwalk, even telling me to go with it “for experience”. I was half-tempted to tell him that I have had my fair share of catwalks, but kept it to myself, waiting for a friend to finish with the photo taking.
We left the event hall again and proceeded to the food hall where we were greeted by expensive food. As I was too hungry, I paid for nearly PHP200 for a complete meal that was, admittedly, satisfying. It would have been better if the organizers got more food merchants, but I think they ran out of time looking for more, which meant that anyone who was hungry would need to pay quite an amount as not to starve to death.
I was really looking forward to the dance, but because we were already bored, we left the event early. I knew we should have stuck around and wait, but I heard that the ball was not what many had in mind because of the type of music being played. If I did stay, I would probably have wasted my time waiting for nothing.
In conclusion, the event was nice, but it looked like they bit off more than they could chew. Seeing as this is their first event, I commend the organizers for pulling it off.
Despite this, I congratulate the organizers for a job well done for this event. Hopefully, next time, everything will be smooth-sailing and lovelier the second time around.
Like many other people, I was hyped to attend this event because I was expecting so much just from their teasers. The cosplay ball was what I was really anticipating so I made my way to Fernbrook with some friends. Now I have mixed feelings about this event; it had a lot of good points but it also had areas needing improvement as well.
Let’s start off with the good points I liked about the event. First of all Fernbrook Gardens was an amazing location for photoshoots. The stunning Venetian and Victorian interiors made it perfect to showcase classy/aristocratic and formal cosplays which was superb. You could practically take a photo almost anywhere because of the marvelous venue. Some of the things that really astounded me were these two vintage cars on display; a 1926 Rolls-Royce and a 1952 Bentley which are both rare sights in a country like ours. Overall, the venue was just great.
The staff and organizers were very friendly and would quickly respond to our needs the best they can. Though there was a bit of a communication problem within their ranks, they were very approachable when we had our concerns. Throughout the whole day, trumpeters play songs which give the venue its ambient music; I was amused!
The cosplays you would see at the event were something that you wouldn’t normally see at a typical convention. To be in sync with the venue, many cosplayers dressed up in something aristocratic, formal, and classy. Perfect for a venue like Fernbrook. Many of them were very friendly too!
Then at some point during the evening, they held a lovely fireworks display for the attendees. Everyone marveled as we watched the fireworks go up in the sky and create pretty formations. It was really fun to watch.
Now that I’ve given the positives, let’s move on the “areas of improvement”.
First off, after arriving prior to the opening the staff didn’t even check if we had tickets and we were immediately accommodated into the venue as a gesture of hospitality. We were thinking the Fernbrook staff weren’t properly instructed by the organizers which is why it happened. We were led to a dressing room but it was literally as hot as an oven because they didn’t turn on the air-conditioning units at that time. We had to settle for the restrooms to change into our costumes. They should have opened the air-conditioning at least an hour prior to opening just to be ready for the attendees.
There wasn’t really a variety of booths there as we were expecting. There were only two food stalls and one merchant booth. One food stall was overpriced while the other one was cheaper but tasted horrible. (Imagine paying 140php for four pieces of siomai and rice.) I understand it’s because of the venue but seriously, we didn’t have much of a choice and lunch literally ate our whole budget! (And there wasn’t a fastfood within meters.) Did they really have enough time to look for food exhibitors?
The event proper didn’t really appeal to me. It was like something you could see at your average con with a catwalk, raffle, bands, etc. The cosplay workshop was also delayed. We heard it was supposed to be 2PM but it got moved 4-5 hours later on. Now if the organizers had some sort of programme to keep attendees informed of what was going to happen, lesser people would wander around the venue and actually attend the event proper.
The cosplay workshop finally started during the evening and initially my friends and I thought this was going to be held in a smaller room. Instead, it was done on the event proper itself and looked more like a Q&A than an actual workshop.
Then came what we had anticipated so much for; the cosplay ball. For me, this was the biggest disappointment of the event. They didn’t even announce that the ball had already started and simply told us to dance once the music started to play. But this wasn’t the music we requested at the online poll; we were hearing dance/rave/club music. Where were our “Eyes on Me” and other songs?
When they finally started to play the appropriate songs, half of the attendees had already gone home because it was getting late and the ballroom looked really sparse. Plenty of empty seats, lots of space, fewer dance partners. I also noticed that many of the songs people requested weren’t exactly songs you could dance to. (Others were just ambient or too slow.) The highlight of this event was very disappointing.
I understand that this is their first time to organize an event and I hope they learn from the mistakes they’ve committed here in order to create better events that can truly deliver people’s expectations. They can do better than this! Not many people get to visit Fernbrook on a regular basis, and I’m glad I was able to enter and have photoshoots at a low price. Overall, I had mixed feelings for this event; half of it being good, the other being bad. So-so to say the least.
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