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Monday, June 13, 2016

ToyCon Philippines 2016: When Toy Conventions Become Too Expensive for Real Kids

Wazzup Pilipinas!
"Toycon this year is so messed up. Got 2 VIPs for me and my wife, expecting that we will feel like "VIPs". Unfortunately, we didn't feel special at all.

Day 1 was chaos. The supposed 11am early access to the event didn't happen. 10am line outside, 11am registration, 1230 start to go inside. the staff don't know what to do. They were just standing without a clue what their role is to the event. Exhibits are not yet complete. 
(The Voltes V statue was still incomplete with only two legs on display)

Day 2 During photo ops/ autograph signing, nobody knows what line they are in. Some people who are not VIP or Legendary are 
also in the line. This should be the job of the staff, to make crowd control and organize everything (bring a megaphone if needed and put more barriers, have a staff meeting before the event, just have a plan). The staff are like ducklings all together waiting for their mother duck to give them orders. We didn't get to have our photo taken with Hodor because we got cut off.
Overall, this years Toycon is a mess. Its more of a Popcon. If you are a Funko pop collector, this is perfect for you. You can buy exclusive pops at SRPs. But if you are into the guests, you should stay inside the convention from opening to closing because nobody knows what is the REAL time they will come. If you are a toy collector, just go to Greenhills because there's more toys there to choose from.  
This is just a learning experience for us fans, for the event organizers, and for the staff. If the system will improve then it's a good thing. But if they will not learn from their mistakes and improve, this will be our family's last Toycon." - Evans Nolasco
The Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention, or ToyCon,organized by Collectibles Unlimited, aimed to hit hard this year with the most anticipated gathering of toy distributors, gamers, pop memorabilia collectors and cosplay enthusiasts this side of the planet. However, there seems to be a lot of complaints from the attendees this year who claimed they did  not get their money's worth. 

With so many complaining mostly about the pricey tickets or expensive event passes, and how it was probably made that high because of the additional guests, which sadly made it more like a Popcon rather than a Toycon.

Those who bought the VIP passes were also disappointed that they did not get better treatment due to many disorders especially on queuing for photo ops or autograph signing with the special guests. There were some people who were wondering why some of these guests were even invited to a toy convention. 

The ticket or entrance pass was a bit too pricey for the common folks, especially for the children and teens, which seems to make this event now more ideal for adults who can afford to spend at least P500 for a day pass. If the reason for the expensive pass, aside from the new venue of the SMX Convention Center, were the invited guests, then maybe it would have been better if the organizers just give separate options to customers who went there just to buy toys and not ogle at the celebrities. The organizers pushed through with the uncategorized ticketing, where they forced everyone to pay 500 pesos even if not all were interested on the people they invited.

Bloggers and media never felt the expensive pricing because media usually enjoy free pass at most events where we are invited to cover so we can help spread the news.  We may not have been able to read about the complaints on the first release of news about Toycon since most covered during the first days, and media gets special treatment, tours and interviews with the special guests. This will test the truthfulness of media if they are truly biased or not if we would see follow-up stories about these complaints soon. 
"A little bit disappointed on this years event, the venue was great, but the plannings was not well executed due to wrong spacing, programs and sponsors, should have given priorities to Toys, Animes and Robots not celebrities ( It should have been the Starks not Hodor, Henry Cavill not Dean Cain so old, and Mario and Luigi not that Mario Maurer )" - Romeo Relucio 

So there's Game of Throne's Kristian Nairn aka Hodor, former Clark and Lois' Dean Cain aka former Superman, Encantadia cast, a really quick visit by Alodia Gosiengfiao, John Arcilla aka Heneral Luna, Twilight wolf casts, Mario Maurer and a Stan Lee live video con. Let me know who I missed..

Cosplayers were not so much seen around especially during the first day when the event opened late instead of the expected 12 noon. The one hour delay added to the disappointment seeing the Voltes V statue still incomplete and with only the two legs on display. We thought it would be assembled on the same day. but sadly we were wrong.

The Manila Major held at the SM MOA Arena had appearances from some of the celebs at Toycon, like Hodor and Alodia, but there were no jacked up event passes prices.

Also, numerous comments say that there were a lot of things that the organizers promised but did not deliver. To the organizers, please read reviews and feedback and treat them as constructive. It was a Toy Convention so the organizers should expect most of the people to be going there for the toys and not for the guests. We just can't understand why collectors have to pay for the celebrities who are not the reason why this convention was started in the first place. Whoever gave these ideas as an improvement to ToyCon should reconsider never repeating this mediocrity.
"Disappointed lalo na sa Day 1 goers. Expected namin naka-setup na lahat pero nope. Karamihan ng exhibits kalas pa. Yung highlight na V5 paa pa lang ang naka-setup. We bought the ticket hoping for a completed venue kahit di pa lahat ng guests andun para makaiwas sa crowd tapos eto pa napala namin. 
Will still support toycon regardless of ticket price but please make sure you don't play with our expectations. From the get go, sabihin nyo nang exclusive for toy buyers ang day , with some other exhibits/booths are still being set up. That way, di rin kami mag-eexpect nang mataas." - Marvin Ocampo

"Condolence for those people who cant afford and wasn't able to attend this event. Way back 2008 when I first attended this convention, it was meant for the TRUE lover of this art ..Now, it's a business..For those who were deprived because they can't afford the tickets or entrance, let's support other events. Toycon, you have disappointed the real people who once made you worth it." - Ronova Roland

The SMX Convention Center was a better venue. Unfortunately, the bigger space wasn't used properly. I was expecting a less crowded market place but the aisles between the booths were still so tight. A lot of underutilized space in halls 3 and 4 could have solved that. Hopefully next year the organizers will remedy these shortcomings. I wouldn't mind a crowded SM Megatrade Hall rather than a huge space that does not contain what I originally came to see and buy.
"I hope this experience from an attendees view point could serve as reference for the future. I admire you for what you did with this year and I know its not easy, I commend you for the efforts and hardwork kudos to the team, but the experienced was good yet the finish is mediocre." - Car Low
You better visit the official fan page of ToyCon  and be the judge yourself by reading the many comments and criticisms of those who attended the event. We know that this may be the first time they've tried making it big as hoped for but "unforeseen circumstances" made them fall short of what they promised. The expectations were high so were the shortcomings since it really is not very easy to organize such an event like these.

Don't worry. This is just another learning process for the organizers but I do hope they do something for those who expected a lot from the event but never got their money's worth.

Partner Photographer: Edmund Chua

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