As far as geek conventions in the Philippines go, the Asia POP Comic Con is one of the biggest, and with good reason. APCC always brings the big guns and every year, fandoms always leave the con happy. From cosplay competitions to international stars doing meet and greet sessions to movie previews, APCC has everything, and this year is set to be the biggest one yet.
But going to a convention this huge can be daunting, so we’ve cobble together a quick guide to attending APCC 2018! Whether you’re a veteran con-goer or a first-timer, these tips are guaranteed to maximize your experience. Do note that we are not responsible for your wallet crying at the end of the con!
Check the schedules
Making a schedule with you and your friends can definitely help when you finally get to the chaos of the convention floor. Before you arrive at the venue, make a quick check of what happens, what time, and where it happens for the day. Having a battle plan works but don’t expect to stick to it because there are so many cool things to see at the convention that will definitely pry you away from where you are supposed to go.
Pro tip: Hall N or the Netflix booth will be one of the hotspots so be sure to hit that place first! For a complete list of events, check out the offical APCC 2018 Facebook page.
An extra shirt, an umbrella, and your devices are all you need to enjoy the convention! There’s no real need to bring other things, because the venue is right beside a mall if there’s something you really need to buy. Packing light will also reduce your fatigue when you have to line up to get into Hall N for example, or even wait in line to get in. Plus, at the end of the day, you’ll be dead tired and a heavy bag is the last thing you want to lug around during the long commute home.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning to buy prints from artists, be sure to bring a plastic tube that can hold said prints safely! National Bookstore sells these tubes for cheap.
Charge all your electronic devices
The night before APCC is the most important time to make sure that all your electronic devices are fully juiced up and ready to go! Your phone and camera will definitely get drained of power from all your pictures and videos, so be sure to not only keep them charged up until the last minute of you leaving the house, but you should also bring freshly-charged power banks. Yes, bring more than one if you can, if only to lend to a friend in need of a bit of juice.
Pro Tip: There will be very very few places where you can actually plug in (the coffee shops inside SMX may not allow you to just charge your phone) to top off your battery, and you may need to go inside SM MOA to find a place to charge, so be sure to carry power banks!
Be sure to bring a day’s worth of cash
By now, most experienced con-goers would have had an idea of what they want to buy at the con, but as a first timer, it is totally wise to bring just the right amount of cash to get you through the day. You do this to avoid overspending, because the adage buy now, worry later is NOT the best piece of advice to give to anyone. Be sure to fold up a few extra bills as emergency money just in case something happens, but be sure not to pack it in with the rest of your money so you won’t be tempted to use it!
Pro Tip: Lines to the ATMs will be LONG. Trust us on this, so be sure to have the right amount of cash for what you want to buy and for food!
Wear comfortable clothes
This is not the time to bust out your most fashionable outfit. This is a convention, where the lines are long and the floor is packed with people. Expect that you’re going to be bumping into other con-goers throughout the day, so wear your most comfortable outfit. Since it’s raining, you might want to pack a jacket (NOT a hoodie) in your bag for when you go home. A simple shirt and comfy jeans with sneakers or boots will almost always do the trick, because the most important thing is you not cursing your feet at the end of a long day of walking.
Pro Tip: Our weather is weird lately, so as a just in case, pack wet wipes if you can! These will cool you down during the long wait in line (when even the aircon can’t reach you), and wipe off some stains and dirt from your hands in case you need them clean (food, meeting a celeb, taking selfies, etc.).
Don’t pack food
Door security may ask you to leave your water bottles and wrapped food with them, so don’t bother packing snacks! There will be a lot of food booths during the con itself, so grabbing a quick snack before your scheduled meet and greet is always an idea to keep in mind. It’s always good to load up on a big breakfast before you head to the actual venue, to save on money and to prepare for a bit of queuing in line.
Pro Tip: Keep yourself hydrated! Fainting from dehydration is a very real thing in conventions, where things can literally heat up pretty quickly just because of the amount of people on the floor. Do keep a mental note of where emergency service personnel are at all times just in case you or your friend start to experience any symptom of fainting, dehydration, or even allergy attacks (from food or the environment).
Keep your bag with you at all times
Safety and security are always the top priority at conventions like these from the organizers, but it doesn’t hurt to take extra precautions! Keep your money on your person at all times if possible (pants with pockets will come in really handy). This applies to your gadgets as well. Keep your bag zipped up and never leave them in a pile just because you feel like no one will get them. SMX offers a limited number of lockers at the venue for a fee if you have extra cash on hand for that.
Pro Tip: If you really need to leave your belongings behind, deposit them at the Mall of Asia Baggage Counter. They’re usually located at department store or supermarket entrances. Just remember where you left your stuff and don’t forget to turn over the baggage number tag BEFORE the mall closes (10PM).
Be patient and polite
Your parents taught you manners, so it’s time to apply it! Be mindful of people taking pictures of cosplayers, because they will be EVERYWHERE. If you can, try to go behind the person posing for photos, or better yet, behind the photographer. Don’t push and shove, especially when you’re squeezing through people in tight spaces. Always be a little more patient with slow-moving lines or people ahead of you because they might be held up by someone slower in front of them you don’t immediately see. If this happens, excuse yourself and so they will be aware of you before you make your move to slip out.
When taking photos of the cosplayer, politely get their attention first. Make sure they make eye contact with you so they know who exactly wants their photo. Don’t forget to thank them for their hard work!
Pro Tip: If you want a photo with a cosplayer or artist or just about anyone, don’t let your hands wander! Keep your free hand to yourself unless they give you permission to put your hand around their waist or on their shoulder. For cosplayers, their outfits may be fragile and you suddenly putting hands without knowing where to properly place them might cause the costume to break off. Understand that while these people are cosplaying characters with (usually) skin-revealing outfits, they are still people and there is nothing wrong with asking explicit permission when posing beside them for a photo.
Always remember to have fun AND to let other fans like you have their own fun at APCC 2018 as well! See you there!