How World Cosplay Summit Philippines’ NCR Teams are doing now that it’s only a week before the National Finals?
The World Cosplay Summit Philippines National Finals will be held in Davao next Saturday, July 2. Eight teams will be competing for the right to represent the country at the Summit’s World Cosplay Championship at Nagoya this August.
Two of the eight teams come from NCR — Team COSAGA and Team JBF. I was able to have a chat with Naru (from COSAGA) and Paul Mark Sabangan (from JBF) on what they are doing at the moment, and what they are looking forward to before the big day.
“I’ve been cosplaying for 7 years while Karlonne has been cosplaying for more than a decade already. We first met at Mega Con 2010 where I was cosplaying Zidane Tribal from Final Fantasy IX, and Karlonne [Santos, Naru’s tag-team partner] was cosplaying Warrior of Light from FF Dissidia. It was at that time when we decided to form a Dissidia Duodecim group,” Naru said.
JBF’s Sabangan also said that they’ve been cosplaying for 7 years. To note, JBF is the name of the cosplay craft shop that is formed by Joseph Galicia, Benok Quijano and Francis Veloso, who is also being commissioned to make armor costumes — including Cosplay.ph’s Pablo Bairan, who is very happy with the costume maker’s results. Torres’ tag-team partner is Dyerik Torres.
Team COSAGA started online. “It started like any normal Facebook cosplay group that banded together for common interests — in particular, Final Fantasy Dissidia. […] Since most games and anime that have fantasy genres end up as series and sagas, from that old cosplay group, it became known as COSPLAY + SAGA = COSAGA. So far, the only members who are active in joining contests and competitions are me and Karlonne.”
Team JBF, on the other hand, started with friends. “Nag-start ang JBF sa pagkakaibigan tapos nahilig kami sa paggawa ng costumes at mag cosplay at napag-desisyonang sumali sa ibat-ibang mga group and individual competition.” [JBF started as a group of friends, then we got hooked in making costumes and do cosplay, and we decided to join different group and individual competitions.]
COSAGA’s activity as an online group dwindled. She and her groupmates had to decide if it will stay or not. “Most members at that time grew inactive for so many years. Karlonne and a few others, including myself, thought it was a waste to disband the group. Instead, cosplayers who were able to make progress with their costumes put up a vote on renaming the group instead.”
“There are so many amazing cosplayers the both of us know and do not know who we are competing against.”
I asked both teams about the most challenging part of joining the WCSPH qualifiers.
Naru told me, “Pressure. There are so many amazing cosplayers the both of us know and do not know who we are competing against. It’s pretty hard to focus on enjoying the experience knowing that everyone’s gonna step up their game.”
She also gave her analysis of the situation. “The Luzon reps have to up their game because it’s somehow a foreign land to us. It’s the Visayas reps’ first time to be part of the finals round. The Mindanao reps have to defend their ground of being Philippines’ consecutive representatives in the championships. So everyone’s feeling a little pressured right now at some point. What helps through this ordeal is essentially our love for what we do — which is cosplay. So we try to mask our pressure by putting on our costumes and portraying our roles.”
Sabangan said the same. “The most challenging part ay yung makipagcompete at makipagsabayan sa ibat-ibang group at sa mga magagaling na cosplayers.” [The most challenging part is that we will be competing against other groups and excellent cosplayers.]
“Practice and practice and enough practice.”
How both teams prepare for the upcoming National Finals? With the grand finals being held in Davao — a first for a major competition — COSAGA, which will do a skit from Magic Knight Rayearth, troubleshoots the challenges that they are facing along the way.
“We are actually more focused more on how our props and costumes will be shipped via plane since finals will be at Mindanao. It’s a little terrifying to think that our costumes will be handled by other baggage staff at the airport, so we are really trying to improve the durability of Karlonne’s mecha costume and my armor and props.”
“As for our performance, Karlonne and I have been practicing our skit with parts of our costume so we can know what parts should be improved, especially when they break down easily during the skit. We try to repair as much as we can so that when the actual date comes, we’ll be ready.”
Team JBF, who will be doing a skit from the Kamen Rider series, puts more emphasis on “Practice and practice and enough practice.”
The two teams are part of the finalists’ roster, so how do they feel right now? COSAGA is so thankful for the opportunity. “Honestly, we’re overwhelmed and excited because the date is coming near. It’s a far off city from NCR and we don’t know much about the people and surroundings there. I honestly haven’t been to Davao myself and I have so many butterflies in my stomach! I’m just thankful that the other NCR team, Team JBF, and a few [Best of Anime] staff will be there with us.”
“To be honest, we’ve been thinking a lot about the outcome of this experience and we can thoroughly say this will be an experience of a lifetime for both me and my partner. Being a finalist is already a winning trophy for us and we’re seeing the Davao finals as the prize. We are so thankful to be chosen as NCR’s representatives! We hope to not disappoint the cosplayers of Davao with our performance in the finals as well.”
As for JBF, they are so excited. “Sobrang excited kami na ipakita ng Team JBF ang kaya naming gawin sa stage.” [We are so excited to show what we can do on the competition stage.]
To the Fans
Naru has already hinted that this could be the last time they’ll be joining a major competition with Santos as Team COSAGA, but is nevertheless thankful for the support. “You guys are undeniably our source of strength in this whole experience! To be able to represent you is an honor and we will bring out our whole being into this competition with the goal of enjoying to the fullest in mind! We may not be able to promise the championship, but be sure as hell we’ll deliver an awesome performance!”
“Karlonne and I will both give it all we’ve got since this might be our last competition together. Nevertheless, we are absolutely thankful to you all for being our cheer squads and battle cries!”
As for JBF, “Maraming maraming salamat sa suporta samin. Mabigo man kami [o] manalo, babawi at babawi kami; ipapakita namin ang kaya naming gawin hindi lang sa Pilipinas pati na din sa ibang bansa kung papalarin.” [Thank you very much for the support. Win or lose, we will push through; we will show what we can do not just in the Philippines but in others countries as well, if luck’s with us.]
Supporters of the NCR teams are encouraged to use these photos as their profile pictures on social media. The links to high-resolutions copies are found here:
Everyone is also encouraged to spread the word about World Cosplay Summit Philippines even before the National Finals by sending tweets and/or updates using the hashtag #WCSPH or #WCSPH2016.
[Post edited 25 Jun at 8:19. I stated before that Torres answered the questions in behalf of JBF but I was informed that it was Sabangan who answered it. Prior to this, I credited the wrong person in one of the photos, which was called to my attention last night. Both of which has been corrected. Sorry for the trouble.]