Fandom is Srs Bznz Yo: #yoiconph2017 Retrospective

Fandom isn’t something people typically associate with the phrase “serious business”. But should we really be surprised? Especially given the amount of personal, emotional, and – let’s be frank – financial investment that often go into fan hobbies.

Fan gatherings are a great example of fans taking all of those things and building spaces for fellow fans to indulge to the hilt. While these don’t always push through in the way they’re envisioned, What’s A Geek had the golden opportunity to attend #yoiconph2017, the convention that not only met expectations, it totally blew everyone away.

 

March 10, 2017: The #yoiconph2017 Pre-Party

“We did an early bird call for entrance – and ALL the birds showed up at 5:30pm on the dot. ALL OF THEM. The line was SO LONG. It was crazy!”

I’m chilling out with #yoiconph’s lovely volunteers at the registration booth. We’re huddled together outside the turnstiles for SM Megamall’s Skating Rink; behind me, I hear squeals of delight from attendees wobbling around on rented boots and polar bear-shaped skating aids. Overhead, song after song from the Yuri!!! On Ice soundtrack plays from the speakers.

I squint and find myself pleasantly surprised to see competitive skaters mingling with the crowd. Given the costumes, it’s not a big leap to assume that they’re fans of the show themselves. I spy a handful keeping a sharp eye out for anyone who might need an assist. Everyone is here to have fun, and the sense of fan community spirit is palpable.

https://twitter.com/cheska_smiles/status/840296128927158273

When I manage to sneak in opportunities to speak with the organizers, it’s clear enough that they’re overwhelmed. The turnout for the Pre-Party, at this point, has caught them off guard.

Turning my attention to the space outside of the rink, I catch sight of other fans taking up space on the bleachers or leaning up against the railing beyond the glass. This is just the warm up for opening night. The actual convention is still two weeks away.

It’s fairly late into the event when the familiar opening strains and drum beat of History Maker hushes the attendees. Right before massive, rink-wide, gleeful squeeing erupts. Everyone is singing, laughing – and I am pretty sure I catch more than a fair share of tearing up and hugs.

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The party closes off a little before 11:00 pm. Fans disperse, the rink quiets down and the lights click off for the night. As the girls recoup. I honestly can’t wait to see what else they have in store for the event proper.

 

March 26, 2017: #yoiconph2017 Convention Proper

The line of expectant attendees stretches down Pioneer Street, and all the way up to the Bayanihan Center. And then it wraps around the corner.

Doors aren’t due to open for another hour and a half, but already the line leaves you with the impression of the kind of hype expected from more seasoned conventions. But this is #yoiconph’s first (and at the time, possibly only) year, and the only time that line thins down is at the very end of the day.

#yoiconph2017 had something for everyone.

The merchant’s alley covered everything from shirts and jackets, to original and fan art in the form of prints, key chains, and stickers. What stood out in particular though, were the panel discussions and guest interviews.

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The program choice at #yoiconph2017 had an impressive coverage of topics. Pamela Punzalan and Paolo Tiausas, came by to talk about themes of sexuality and gender coding in the universe of Yuri!!! On Ice. Current and former competitive skaters Jules Alpe and Joel Minas talked about figure skating in the country and their own appreciation (and love) for YOI.

From the creatives end, Mizo & Mina took to the conference room to cover doujinshi-making before providing a live draw. And @fildub, @dettsuuu, and @VoiceiyuuUPLB presented Barcelona: A Love!!! on ICE, which paid homage to Filipino Translation and Dubbing. Artist and singer Judee Zee also took to the stage, and who could forget the wall of sound that signalled the live Skype interview with Russian cosplayer Barimor.

There’s something very special about seeing a con like #yoiconph2017 succeed. Especially since it was organized by fans, included participants who are also fans, for fans who wanted to come together to celebrate something they all love.


Were you there at #yoiconph2017? Reminisce with us and let us know your favorite highlights from the event!

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Noey Pico
Noey Pico
Audioromantic, geek and gamer. Currently a contributing editor to both Girls Got Game and What's A Geek, while occasionally moonlighting as fictional characters online. Flails a lot. A LOT.
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