Kita Kita (I See You) (post-)#MondayReviews

***NOTE: Finally, a totally new review, woohoo!!! And of a really new movie, too 🙂 It’s a review, but I did add a few trivial bits.

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KITA KITA

The first time I saw its trailer, I decided that I wanted to watch Kita Kita. For one thing, it had been a while since I last watched an actual indie film and I am an indie supporter. I’m not really sure it should be called an independent, though, considering that it’s produced by a mainstream film outfit (that does seem past its heyday) and especially by one owned by a very famous, still very-”now” actor. But okay, they say it was made with a low budget, so why not?

Indie or not, the story had me curious so last Sunday, I brought the free ticket I’ve had for months and had a romantic date with myself. (There are perfectly good reasons why I was alone, but they’re not worth discussing, really.) My curiosity over the chosen stars did add much to that decision.

Alessandra de Rossi (a.k.a. Alex) has never headlined a mainstream movie or a regular TV series. However, when it comes to indies, she’s a legit superstar and has been legit since she was in her early teens. Just count the awards she has gotten over the years. I have seen enough of her movies (even wrote a review for one, and this reminds me to post it soon) to know how good she could be.

She has been one of a few stars I admire when it comes to serious acting that when I hear her being part of this or that, I often try to see her when I can. To see her take the lead in a romantic-comedy film kind of intrigued me.

Meanwhile, leading man Empoy Marquez, who usually goes with no last name, is the bigger surprise. He’s a comedian who has been active on both the small and big screens almost always as a supporting character. He probably has had lead roles before, but in single episodes of comedy or fantasy-comedy shows, nothing memorable.

Until this movie, he was never that comedian to watch out for. So imagine my (and other people’s) surprise to find out that of all the comedians to choose from, Empoy got the part. I wondered how he would pull it off given his brand of comedy. However, I think that was really it that made me think I wanted to see him in this movie.

The best reason that made me want to see Kita Kita was the premise of the love story. What is the premise of the story? Well, to start with, the title is short for “Nakikita kita”, in English, “I See You”. It is both a literal and figurative name to give the movie.

Lea is a Filipina working as a tourist guide in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. She experiences heartache while there. In a much bitter fate, she suffers a potentially permanent blindness and loses interest in life, living day-to-day like nothing matters anymore.

Then comes Tonyo, another Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). He begins invading her life by persistently attempting to converse with her daily and bringing her food he’s cooked everyday, even though she snubs him and ignores the food he brings.

They eventually become friends. He asks her to accompany him and be his tourist guide, telling her “I’ll be your eyes.” In the process, he brings back the colors into her life by making her laugh and see the world again through him. Lea starts to go back to being happy and becomes more accepting of her situation without losing hope of ever seeing again, a hope that Tonyo helps bring back. They become so close that it somehow becomes obvious he has feelings for her. On the other hand, she starts “seeing” him in that newer light as well. They become almost-lovers.

Unfortunately, before everything turns out well for them, something happens that neither of them expects.

That’s as far as I will go. I’m not telling anymore and giving the story away.

In some ways, you’d think, nah, it’s been done before: blind person meets the love of her life who turns out to be not what she expected. Or maybe she sees again, then in a twisted turn of fate, she dies from something else anyway…

Well, hold your horses. Something bad does happen (conflict is necessary for stories), and maybe a theory in your head does turn out to be correct (mine was), but it’s what you’ll get to find out next that’s going to make a lot more difference in how you see the story.

I love the story. It’s so simple that it’s so beautiful. It’s really got the magic of Filipino indies sans the poverty, sex and even violence common in a lot of them, sometimes exploited in a lot of them, too. It’s an indie that’s a sight for sore eyes–it’s actually aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. None of those slum shots that’s the staple of many Pinoy independent flicks. Not all realities need to be about those because that’s not the only reality we live in. I do feel like the setting could have been here, no need to go anywhere out of the country.

Anyway, another plus is the viewer gets to concentrate on them since save from a few bit players, Alex and Empoy are the only real cast of the film.

I admit, the first few minutes of the movie kind of bored me, but I knew they were necessary. It’s an SOP now in the screenwriting world, at least in the indie films, that I learned before. They had to show shots of how the protagonist functioned in her everyday life, her routines, what she did, etc. It established the scenario, the changes that were about to happen, the disruption in her life. Why only show Lea and not Tonyo was because Tonyo would appear later, just like how new people appear in our lives, no warning.

A good script from Sigrid Bernardo, funny ad-libs (usually care of Empoy, you can just tell), a nice twist that you don’t completely see coming, and a great way to emphasize that love can both be blind and enlightening at the same time.

Despite Tonyo being stalker-ish and you getting the feeling he knew her long before he approached her, you’d actually root for the guy to get his girl and not feel scared for her. He saw her at her lowest and brought her back. Somehow, she saw him at his lowest, too, and brought him back without knowing it. They saw the real them. Did I just give you a riddle? You’ll find out once you see it.

The acting was so natural and that’s what made viewers love the two actors. It’s underacting, so to speak. It seemed like there was 20% acting and 80% just being Alex and Empoy. So, no disrespect to directors Sigfrid Bernardo and Bb. Joyce Bernal, but I feel the most credit for the acting should go to the film’s stars.

Well, in a way, Alex was acting because she was much tamer here than in real life where she is funnier and rowdier, you’d wonder why drama is her forte. She is no stranger to comedy, but drama brings out the best actress in her. Empoy, on the other hand, was just being Empoy and it worked for him. He’s like the normal guys in our lives who could be funny, caring and lovable regardless of looks and background. His character might not have worked if they had chosen a more handsome (less realistic) and/or non-comedic (awkward) actor. Empoy is definitely the better option.

Alex gives a lot of credit to Empoy. She says her character could have been played by anyone and it would still be the same, unlike Empoy’s. I disagree. Yes, it could have been acted out by anyone well enough, but the chemistry between Lea and Tonyo would probably not have been the same. I’m saying that the Alex-Empoy tandem (now tagged as AlEmpoy, though I’d rather “ship” them as EmLex) fortunately had that obviously perfect on-screen chemistry that made the story work.

I am not entirely sure if it’s suitable to call this love story a romantic comedy. What confuses me more is how Empoy actually succeeded in making women feel those kilig moments. Everyone’s surprised! Now single girls and gays want their Banana, too, ha! #HowtoBeEmpoy . (As for the banana reference, find out for yourself.)

If you haven’t seen Kita Kita yet, catch it now before they stop showing it. I did not waste much time because of that as I did not assume that many would actually go and see it. If you’re living abroad, they will bring this to you (in the US, that I’m sure, at least), so watch out. Don’t speak Filipino? No sweat. They have subtitles. You won’t be disappointed, definitely.

However you will see the ending, I guarantee that you will not leave feeling like you’ve just wasted time and money. In fact, you just might want to see it again. I know I do.

(fr. left) Director Bb. Joyce Bernal, Writer-Director Sigfrid Bernardo, Producer Piolo Pascual (Spring Films), Alessandra de Rossi and Empoy

 

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Have you seen it? What can you say? Share your comments below. You know we love comments 😉

Komikon for Dummies

komikon-official-event-cover-photo Last Saturday, August 2, was 2014’s Indieket Day or the Independent Komiks Market event of the local Komikon, the Philippines’ own comics convention. Indieket is the second of three bigger Komikon events held annually, the other two being the Summer Komikon (keyword: summer) and the regular one usually held November or December (my friend Sherwin The Kraken tries to call it the Winter Komikon, nevermind that we have no winter). Other often smaller but equally special conventions happen in provinces once in a while, too, like in Cebu, Baguio and, recently, Iloilo.

I’ve been attending these three Komikons a few years now and *BIG SIGH* last Saturday, I was absent. For the first time since I began patronizing the once-again blooming comics industry, I missed an event. *MORE SIGHS* For more personal reasons that can actually be elaborated some other time, I stayed home instead and got busy.

Well, comics-related events have been around for quite a while before I discovered one, but I do believe I can say that I am now credible enough to share what I know. So since I have not been sharing my experiences in the more recent events, I thought I’d come up with this post. If you’re a Komikon dummy like I was, read on. This can help you on your first–or your next–Komikon experience.

The Dos-and-Don’ts Guide for Komikon Dummies

To the uninitiated, lemme explain. The occasion is for comics artists to showcase their works and for enthusiasts to take advantage of this. Rarely do you encounter dozens of artists and creators crammed in one place, so good for you. Here, you will find both newbie creators and more seasoned ones — take your pick. Okay, let’s start…

The Bayanihan Center facade. Credits belong to Ateneo.edu

1. KNOW the venue. Sounds duh, but it’s great advice coming from experience. Around two years ago, my officemates and I were to attend a Gaming, Toys, Manga/Anime and Cosplay Convention or GTMACCON (this is not Komikon, but just to drive a point…). We were a big enough bunch who came from Makati and went somewhere in UP Diliman to attend. We waited on university grounds until it was way beyond schedule and it seemed the place wasn’t even going to open. Finally, I texted comics guy Andoyman, asking where the exact venue was as someone got stuck with the wrong info that got disseminated to us.

Lo and behold! We were not even close! To add insult to injury, the venue was just in Makati, WHERE WE CAME FROM…Wow, mali (wrong). GTMACCON: Go To MAling Comics CONvention. The usual venue for the Komikon, by the way, is the Bayanihan Center located at the Unilab Compound in Pasig. 

2. Come early. It’s not like you’re going to be thrown out of the event or anything if you come in the afternoon. But it has been observed that the Summer Komikon and the “Winter” one tend to draw a big crowd. You’ll want to be one of the first to see the various merchandise, talk to the artists and ask for autographs and/or photographs. If you’re lucky, some artists give away their own simple freebies like little snacks, stickers, etcetera, as a form of appreciation. Better be there before supplies end.

It’s one, big geeky event, can’t you tell? This is the main hall where Komikon is always held, but you can imagine how it must have looked like at the entrance.

The organizers do give away freebies also right at the event entrance (not the building entrance, but where you are allowed entry after paying P100 for your ticket). Don’t expect too much, though. This is not Oprah or Ellen. Sometimes, sponsors put up booths/tables like 711 that once gave away free Slurpee and commemorative Lord of the Rings tumblers.

indieket-2013-catalog

There’s Tico Limosinero’s boy robot Neox together with Elbert Or‘s Chuck the Bakemono High werecub (extreme right), Ikos Komiks’ Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal‘s Asul from her work Sulsi at 6 o’clock and Michael David’s own ‘kikiam’ renditions of Chuck and Asul

Oh, and at times, they give away catalogs with lots of free space on them where you can ask artists to draw something for you for free (do buy something first, please!). You can do that throughout the day, but being early means you’ll have more time to approach more artists for it, plus they won’t be too tired already to draw anything. 

3. Don’t be a snob. If you look down on local comics based on them being, well, local, this is not the event for you. Either you beat it, pal, or give local comics a chance. There are ways, though, to get your fix of foreign ones by visiting booths of edition sellers like Comic Odyssey that has somehow become a sort of fixture, so to speak, in Komikon events because I see them there every time.

Meanwhile, we know you most probably know the creators of Kiko Machine, Pugad Baboy, Kubori Kikiam and the likes. These guys get the longest lines of people wanting to buy their products for some great photo-ops and autograph-signing with their idols. BUT the Komikon is mainly one giant showcase of newer talents. It won’t hurt to get to know them and their works. It’s actually fun to be “there” when a comic book is just starting and to gradually see it grow, so to speak.

By the way, while the Indieket gives much more chance for new creators by giving them the spotlight, on other Komikons, they are provided a separate area called the Indie Tiangge. It’s a sort of rite of passage before they are finally allowed to make it big…Er, well, before they are allowed to take space in the main activity area, that is. Some not-so-new ones are there as well simply because they are new participants of the event.  There are various factors considered but I’m not an authority on that, ergo, I leave it to you to interview anyone there. Make sure, though, to pay the Tiangge a visit. Not because they’re there, they are not worth a look. That’s not how it works. You’ll never know what treasure lies undiscovered in that room.

espiritista-comics

I encountered the Espiritista, its first-ever of the series by Niño Balita, at the Summer Komikon 2013 Indie Tiangge and I have been happily following his creation…Congrats to him and the Mrs. Espiritista–I mean–Mrs. Irene Balita, by the way!!!  They just exchanged I-Dos a few months ago 🙂

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I also first found Drop Dead Dangerous at the Indie Tiangge and I have been hooked ever since. Story by Chad Cabrera, art by Mike Banting

4. Have ka-ching, will buy. Sure, no one will send you away for “window shopping”. But the point of being there is to purchase, at the least, one or two comics. You don’t have to have a lot of moolah, believe me, I know. It’s one big decision-making exercise. A limited budget can still buy you more or less a dozen titles. A lot of them are priced from as low as P30, even P20. That’s already a steal, considering it’s art and the labor of one’s love. Of course, for such a price, do not expect a thick, glossy, full-colored edition. Generally, you’ll get photocopied versions, or limitedly colored ones, at least. But if you’re any good at choosing your comics, you can get clear, respectable-looking ones. Inexpensive doesn’t necessarily have to mean cheap.

ang-sumpa-komiks

Andoyman’s Ang Sumpa is one of those inexpensive comics that do not disappoint visually. And, no, I am not just saying that because I know him nor does it have to do with me being somehow a part of it. Shameless plug, though: DO GET YOUR COPIES!!!

macoy-school-run

Finally got to buy from the artist who likes to be simply called Macoy my own copies of School Run! He’s got various titles for you to choose from and the prices do vary based on thickness. The illustrations are fun and I like his storytelling

ikos-komiks

The Ikos Komiks table is one stop I never forget to do. They are a group of three artists with different styles in drawing and storytelling. In this pic are the aforementioned Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal (left) and Anino Karimlan (right). In-between is (the missing) Ray Vidal‘s Lola Lourdes whose stories and poems I get to read every time as they give away copies of her own brand of art — Thanks po for the autograph!!!

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This one from Freely Abrigo, his Kulas, could be bought at just P30 with a fully-colored, little glossy cover

Also, I have stumbled upon inexpensive comics that have much better stories and illustrations than some pricier, glossier ones. It’s not just about getting your money’s worth when obviously, you can get much more satisfaction with still the least possible expense. If you do have more money to spare, then by all means, go for more gold! Maybe you’d like to purchase other comics-inspired merchandise, too, such as posters, stickers, plushies, beanie hats, keychains…You can even have works commissioned.

5.  Choose wisely. It’s another decision-making exercise. If you don’t know the artist/creator in front of you and can’t tell by just looking that you’d like to purchase, browse through a copy. If the premise does not interest you whatsoever, or the storytelling is bad, or the supposed humor is lacking, or the drawings either leave much to be desired or are totally horrendous (that totally happens), put the copy down and walk away.

FUM-manga

Sherwin The Kraken (the guy in middle) has really gotten to be a FUM fan so he never misses to visit their table. These are your FUM peeps, folks! He’s got all their comic mag editions, I think, not much encouraging needed

Try not to engage or be pulled to engage in a conversation with the artist unless you sincerely would really like to learn more about the comic book. Just saying, because that would be the more humane thing to do than to put his hopes up and have him waste time and energy trying to convince you when you’re not even buying.

On a more positive note, it’s a win-win situation, whether you buy or not. If you don’t, you don’t end up with something you don’t want. If you do, at least you’ve helped someone and maybe given him the inspiration to do better next time. 

6. Pay more attention. Enthusiasts are expected to walk around the area sizing up comics and getting to know the people behind the comics. By all means, do that. But you might also want to pay attention to the stage and what they announce over the microphone once in a while. Why? The organizers have prepared more stuff and surprises for you: Contests. Interviews with well-known international Pinoy artists like Whilce Portacio of X-Men fame. Featured guests, like those from the Macoy comics-based indie film ANG MASKOT. Even surprise wedding proposals!!! Also, talks and film showings are sometimes held in other rooms.

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International Guests!!!

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Self-explanatory.

I also say pay attention because being a much-attended event, it has gotten the attention of bad elements as well and there have been unfortunate cases of loss of valuables. Take care of your things and, as signs always say, “Please do not leave your valuables unattended.” 

7. Don’t expect a food fair. Don’t go around complaining where the food stalls are–it’s not a food fair. There is a designated area for a limited bunch of food to buy, so find out where it is. There may be a hotdog-eating game happening onstage so if you’re also up to it, why not??? (hint: it normally happens pre-lunch period). Some participants actually give away little snacks so it pays to be early before they run out. Some do get to sell munchies at stalls outside the main Komikon area. However, if you really want fuller meals, just have your wrist stamped for re-entry later and get out of the venue. There are fast-food and regular restos around.

cupcakes-for-sale

Once in a while, there are little snacks you can get your hands on. For a price, though. But, boy, do they look yummy….(DISCLAIMER: I’m not endorsing anything)

8. Expect cosplayers. Encounters with comic characters in the flesh are quite possible so get your cameras ready. The Komikon is often attended by cosplayers who are either there for fun or are representing artists’ creations, like the famous Amber from Ambush and Dennis and his pal from Alphario: The World Connection. Do not expect many of them, though. It’s not a cosplay event after all.    

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Creator SPLGum as Dennis Blake (sitting) and friend Wilhansen Li as the character Senjo Tamura. Photo credits to SPLGum and whoever took this pic

9. Join contests. It can be as simple as the aforementioned eating contest, or raffles the organizers or artists themselves are holding, or a meet-and-greet with well-known international artists, or an actual video game at someone’s booth. Whatever the organizers and its participants’ clever minds can think of! My Komikon buddy Sherwin actually joined a create-your-character thing sponsored by Filbar’s. His and the other competitors’ works were simply amazing!

10. ENJOY!!! Totally self-explanatory, right? I just saved the best for last 🙂

Well, I hope I’ve given you ideas, you Komikon newbies. There could be lots more I have not covered, but I’ll let you discover those for yourselves. That’s part of enjoying the whole Komikon experience. Meanwhile, here are some more random but nice pics I haven’t shared before. Forgive the layout, I am editing it (there are still stuff that I don’t understand in WordPress…), and will add links soon.

planeswalker-cards

Very cool Planeswalker cards that were actually just giveaways. I got Ajani, Chandra, Jace, Liliana, and Tezzeret. You can’t really play them (like I’d even know how), but they’re nice souvenirs and the art is whoah!!! Digital art by Allen Geneta

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Cute Manosaur cartoon by Elbert Or on my catalog

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Just had to post ’cause I really like this shot. Photo credits to SPLGum and whoever took this pic

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Sherwin’s winning pose for Alphario’s Pose with Spot contest (well, I forgot the name of the contest, too, hee…)

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I won for the most number of Facebook Likes category mainly because I begged and forced people–I mean, I looked so convincing…uhm, yeah…

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I wasn’t EVER going to buy posters as my main goal was to buy comics, but when I saw this at Allen Geneta’s table, I knew I just HAD to have a copy. Recognize these ninjutsu-trained amphibians? Click HERE for a closer look

me-as-stitch

First time to wear one of those beanie hats at an event. My Komikon buddy was right, it was liberating, he he…That was the nearest to cosplaying in public that I could get, if that’s even cosplaying. But hey, notice my colors? 😉

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So…plushies…!!!!

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So cuuuuteee!!!!

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The new Gerry Alanguilan book…I honestly have not bought a copy yet and have not read any part of it. I hope it’s just as good as his Elmer and Wasted

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The Sulsi main characters. Got my complete set already, woohoo!!!

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“Yes, I’m shameless. So sue me.”

mb pose4               See you next Komikon…I PROMISE!!!!!

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Thanks so much just for dropping by and I hope you got even the tiniest bit of new info. For more Komikon-related posts, please go to COMICS TRIPS.

Un-Newbie-d (The Real Komikon Experience)

“I’ve been KONned.” There’s just no other way to say it. After more than a year of calling myself a Komikon newbie—worse, an (Almost) Komikon newbie’—I can now claim to be a real Komikon fangirl! Attending last April 13’s event at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig made sure of that.

summer-komikon-ticket

Some posts ago, I said I would not expect a real comics convention as much different from the comics festival I went to before, but it’s one of those rare occasions I’m thankful to be proven wrong. The Komiks Festival was cool and all, but the real Komikon…ROCKS! For starters, I was early enough at the venue, but what did I find? Already two long qeues to the building entrance. Later on, the place would be swarming with fans to feed their comic-hungry souls. My friend Sherwin was running late so good luck to him.

summer-komikon-comic-geeks

Whew!!! That’s just at the event entrance, lots more outside the building entrance, and lots more inside Bayanihan Center. Image from Komikon’s Facebook account

This just proved that Pinoy Komiks are NOT dead. Rather, quite alive and kicking. It was overwhelming to see a lot of geeks convening in one place (hey, don’t be offended by the geek-label, remember I was there, too, to enhance my geekiness). More overwhelming to know that thousands support the growing, new comics industry.

I almost made another mistake, what I call ‘Gayda Moment.’ Years ago, I absent-mindedly smiled and nodded a hey-there to a very familiar face only to realize it was Toni Rose Gayda, who didn’t really know me, and whom I never really personally met. Poor woman didn’t know how to react, trying to place me. So I almost made a fool of myself once again last Saturday, about to smile and nod a hey-there to Gab Chee Kee of the famous Parokya ni Edgar. Wow, ‘feeling-close’ naman ako. Funny, but I ended up following him in line. I could only hope no eager paparazzi took secret photos of him, a girl at his back looking silly like she was about to go to the beach with her large native bag, not attending the convention.

Once I got my ticket back with the stub removed, received my first set of freebies, and had the Summer Komikon logo stamped at the back of my right wrist, I proceeded to the lobby where I consumed a free Slurpee for breakfast (hey, I was in a hurry!). Shamelessly accepted, too, a The Hobbit Slurpee tumbler give-away (excess from when the movie was shown, but who cared? I love souvenirs). There were some non-comicbook goods being sold already right at the lobby but I didn’t want to splurge on them when I hadn’t even bought comics first.

create-own-comics-character

A young comics enthusiast checks out the exhibit on the various Character Making Contest entries

Facing the actual event area, I found on the right an exhibit of the Character Making Contest entries that had “Bata ang Bida!” (loose translation: “Kids Rule!”) as this year’s theme. Boy, a lot of them actually had promise. I would’ve checked out every one to have my own bets, but I told my friend, Andoyman Komikero, I was going to his table at the Indie Tiangge so I thought I’d just come back later (I forgot, though, but here are the winners: Character Making Contest 2013 winners).

So! Where was the Indie Tiangge section? I knew it was supposed to be separated from the main hall itself, but there didn’t seem to be anywhere else to go, but down a corridor that seemed too serious, I didn’t want to go where it could be off-limits. So I entered the hall.

Wow! Talk about crowded. There were lots of people and there were lots and lots of goodies to choose from. It was hard not to somehow touch shoulders with others or accidentally hit a display or two. Many popular titles and artists to choose from, too! I tell you I didn’t know where to start. So I just went around looking for Andoyman here, there, everywhere and I told myself to check outside again. It was a good thing because somebody, at last, posted a big sign now pointing to the direction of the Indie Tiangge, down the serious corridor. Ugh.

There he was! Finally! It had been more than two years when last Andy and I saw each other. Every communication–editing included–done through Facebook, texts and emails. I was glad to get actual copies of his Ang Sumpa (published under his Andoyman Komiks), especially because in a way, I was a part of it. I never knew I’d be doing anything related to comics. But now, let’s just say I’m thinking bigger things. We’ll see.

andoyman-and--komiks

Andoyman Komikero meets the Vidals of Ikos Komiks. That’s Andy, at left, with Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal sitting at the back, and Ray Vidal at our right

andoyman-komiks-sumpa

Andoyman Komiks. From left: The freebie Palimos ng Kulangot written by Doc Ronibats, Ang Sumpa 1 & 2, FOODCOURT, Andoyman’s baptism of fire

After some tête-a-tête and finding out there was no phone signal there, I went out to see any replies from Sherwin. He asked,“Wer n u? Nsa indi komiks tiangge k?” (“Where are you? At the Indie Tiangge?”) , to which I said yes and I would be waiting for him there. Then I spotted the Jonas Diego whom I last saw personally at the Festival; before that was yeeeeaarsss ago. Of course, we got to talk a bit and found we are just practically neighbors in Makati. I asked for issue 2 of his Pocket Comics, unfortunately, it was/is still a negative.

ikos-komiks-comics

The Ikos Komiks. They’re a variety of things–for kids, love stories, fantasies, action, drama, horror even (I am hazarding a guess here)

After a while, I went back to the Tiangge. Andoyman introduced me to the peeps next to him, Ikos KomiksRonzkie Pacho-Vidal and Ray Vidal. Their third member, Anino Karimlan, was not there. Ronzkie got to discuss with me their production and comic outputs. I’ve got to say I was initially attracted to their works visually. Then I got to flip through the pages and, through more explanations from her, I decided I wanted to buy at least two first. Based on what I’ve seen and read later on, I know Ikos Komiks is quite a group to watch out for. I am officially a fan.

As freebie, Ray gave away copies of the poetry book Utterly Woman: Lyric Poems, which, with one look, I immediately knew wasn’t new. Confirmation was when I asked and he said the writer, Lourdes H. Vidal, is his grandma. No problem. I love poems, and I actually considered myself lucky getting such a book for free. There was no other poetry-lover there more thankful.

Moments later, I met up with Sherwin at the lobby, and he was already wearing a Jake the Adventurer hat—to join his Picachu and Stitch hats in the office—that he just purchased from the event area. The Tiangge area was where we first devoted a lot of our time. It was a much smaller place but talent there was just as full and brimming.

I swear, it was somewhat a heartbreaking experience. Imagine, wanting much, much more with much, much less budget. Well, c’est la vie (that’s life). I had to balance between treating myself once in a while and still keeping it practical.

I have to admit, the main reason I bought Macoy Tang‘s Ang Maskot comics was my curiosity about its story, given that according to the woman at the table (I didn’t ask how they are related), it has been translated into film that’s about to be viewed at the coming Cinemalaya. I’m a sucker for indie films so I just had to know what Maskot was all about. The trailer, I just read online a few days ago, was actually shown at the Komikon, and I missed it. But reading the comics first made me agree that it was definitely movie-material.

macoy-tan-maskot-school-run

Macoy Tang modeling not his works but the ‘freebie’ (LOL!). He’s got loads of work and I must say, his School Run would be great to make a movie out of as well. Sali ako, p’wede ‘ko zombiiieee!!!!

my-friend-sherwin

Sherwin the Kraken enjoying his Slurpee. At his back is the almost-inconspicuous tarp on which are printed, among other things, the events of the day and–hello!!!–the event floormap…pffft…And, oh, found out the other day the map was also included in the first freebies at the event entrance. Toinks!

Fast-forward to us finally moving to the great hall. Yipes! More people! There was a hotdog-eating competition going on onstage and I laughed at how sincere Sherwin sounded when he said he really wanted to join. Just like me, he was hungry already, and he wouldn’t be called ‘The Kraken,’ too, for nothing. He’s got a black hole for a stomach!

Sherwin had a blast catching up, so to speak, with some artists he met at a past Komikon, particularly Pop U band members whose vocalist, Ker Floria, drew comics (Indie) as well and gave away a CD before as freebie (I liked some of the songs).

Sherwin bought copies again, too, of FUM (Filipino Utilized Manga). We got to meet the peeps behind the Filipino Manga mag. I’ve had my clear favorite so far from before, Rui Chan‘s Enguard, plus I was/am waiting for any actual storytelling of Legends of Maya, I think by Doc RaCe.

Meanwhile, I was so thankful for the Komiks Festival for I didn’t have to fall in line anymore (what a line it was and it’s said long lines are always expected with him around) at the Summer Komikon just to have Manix Abrera sign my copy of any of his books.

FUM-mag-team

The FUM Team, from left: Doc RaCe, Rui Chan, (sorry we didn’t catch the name of the next one), Freya Dy, and I think the last one’s Kasamaan, if I’m not mistaken

FUM-mags

From top, clockwise: New issues of FUM mags Breve and Latte versions, Bargitte version and a ‘One Shot’ comics called Anti-Hero as freebies, and cartoonized bookmarks and sticker as freebies as well

I saw Johnny Danganan, too, handling the auction table where various artists donated their masterpieces for a good cause. It was for the annual “Lapis at Papel” (“Pencil and Paper”) Project where proceeds were to go to a charitable cause, to help out underprivileged kids and supply school items to them for the coming school year. Artworks donated by artists were auctioned with bids starting at P500. Kudos for the efforts, guys!

komikon-lapis-papel-auction

Johnny Danganan and Jonas Diego at the auction table. Image from  Jonas’ Facebook account, posted by Mr. Rodrigo T. Andres, Jr. (thanks, Sir!)

I went around and around also looking for Freely Abrigo but I only found him right when we were to go home. My companion had something to do and should’ve left an hour ago, while I was going home to the province, which explains the big bag.

foreign-guest-cartoonists

Singaporean guest artists also graced the event and were interviewed onstage, sharing their thoughts and experiences

We were so busy checking out the wares, we hardly took notice of the stage where a lot more things did happen, like a Moving-Up Graduation Ceremony (moving up meant graduating from the Indie Tiangge level), Singaporean artists Otto Fong and C. T. Lim gracing the event, actor Ketchup Eusebio promoting the Ang Maskot film where he played the title role, Bogart the Explorer also promoting a yet-untitled film in his supposed hero costume, other fun contests and, aaaww, a surprise marriage proposal.

Meanwhile, Freely wasn’t so free but was busy attending to people. I waited for some minutes but it was not enough. I looked at the table and found I already have copies of his comics, except any Kapitan Tog but, by then, no more moolah…Next time, Freely, next time.

Lots more comicbooks broke my heart. The only thing that got me going was the idea that some of those could be bought some other days from bookstores, and that I’d be seeing them again at the next Komikons. So next time, I’ll be on the lookout for them. I’ll make sure I won’t miss them like I did Elmer Damaso and his Cat’s Trail. Well we saw him there so I figured he was participating.

Between the two of us, Sherwin and I brought home enough loot to satisfy us. We share collections so we get to read each other’s comics anyway. In fact, I’m done reading everything from this batch of loot, as well as the other batch he got from a previous Komikon.

It was really a fun experience, something I won’t mind experiencing again. Till the next time, Komikon!

freely-abrigo-kulas

More than a year and still so Free-ly! You haven’t changed, Freely. First photo, taken by me, from Komiks Festival. Second photo from Freely Abrigo‘s Facebook account

nino-balita-espiritista

Ano’ng balita? It’s Nino Balita and the Espiritista! The “package” consisted of his comicbook plus a shortie, Ang Inuuod Kong Puso, and stickers. Not Bad. Got the cutest autograph, too, so far

Ronzkie-Pacho-Vidal-Ikos

Here’s a better look at Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal of Ikos Komiks with a patron (my guess). I would LOVE to have that paper-thingy of Asul! Copyright belongs to Ikos Komiks and the people behind it. Got this from their blog

Neox-Limosinera-Bulda

Half of the guys responsible for Neox, Tico Limosinero accommodated our queries at their table. The other one is Jomar Bulda

drop-dead-dangerous

Happy Lockjaw‘s Drop Dead Dangerous indirectly came highly recommended by a friend so I thought I’d check it out and get a copy myself of the first issue. Thanks to Chad Cabrera for signing on the cover real nice and neat. Didn’t get to meet Mike Banting, though…Can’t wait to get the next ish-es!

successful-komikon

Will you look at that?!! Blockbuster!!! Image copyright belongs to Jonas Diego

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NOTE: Were you there? Anything you can contribute? A blog post by you about it, maybe? Just let me know and I will link to it 🙂

NOTE 2: Just some nice Summer Komikon-related blogposts — Summer Komikon 2013 Report by the great Mr. Gerry Alanguilan (you have GOT to read this and watch the vids, too!)Komikon 2013: Pinoy Comic Artists and Fans Converge at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig (feast your eyes as well on all the audio-visuals here), The Boys of Summer Komikon, Why Summer Komikon 2013 was a blast (the only thing I disagree with it is the Komikon supposedly being quite child-friendly; friendly enough, yes, but there are lots of comic books that do require parental guidance when being read by kids)

NOTE 3: All photos by Sherwin and myself, except when indicated otherwise.