Cebu’s kick-starting major event held for two days at SM Seaside City’s Maze Garden

This year’s Otakufest has done firsts in its decade-long history: Being held for two days, and being among the first activities to be held at the recently-opened Maze Garden area.

It’s been two weeks since and the thought of going to Cebu again just right after going to Singapore. This all started when I am convinced by my counterpart, Cebu’s Cosplay Event Buzzer Gary Montejo to be there. My initial plan was to visit ARCHcon, but as soon as I realized that I may not be able to travel by plane again on my own this year, I took the jump.

Last year, I heard the news that they got the vocal ensemble bless4 to perform there, and it sure made a mark on me — that this is a major event in Cebu and I should be there soon.

This year, I believe they are focusing more on international cosplay competitions such as World Cosplay Summit Philippines and the recent-entry Pop Culture Hiroshima, as well as One Piece Day.

This, while showing me what the Cebuano cosplay community is all about.

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Remember the time when I gave away tickets to Otakufest? Here’s me with one of the winners.
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The Maze Garden is an elevated part of the mall which also serves as the gateway to the mall’s Seaside Tower.

There are two wings in the mall that connects to this area: Cube Wing and the Mountain Wing.

The entrance is in the Mountain Wing as the Cube Wing has been set as the stage area.

I’ve observed that in the two days that I am inside Otakufest, I’m sure that there’s a lot of visitors and cosplayers alike who are there — heck, even at one point, the crowds are huge that mall security did crowd control.

Toys and figures are on display, cosplayers are around, there’s the artist booths and the like, a Mobile Legends tournament is happening in a corner. Beside that is a Sabersturm tournament area (imagine Jedi warrior fights). As you go around, you can see guest cosplayer Reika from Japan meeting her fans in a tent at one side of the area.

To be honest, I haven’t done a lot of things from the first day alone as I experienced how horrible Cebu traffic is on a Saturday (hint: it’s as horrible as Saturday C5 Pasig traffic).

We will then proceed to the fun part which is Day 2.

If I were to think of the event’s second day, it’s where most activities are held. This is good for me as I’ve just got back from checking in at my hotel. Sunday’s always family day — as well as being the day where most cosplayers gather during events.

Apart from what I’ve written so far, what I can say about Cebu’s cosplay community is that we don’t lack talent. The artists are doing great art, the bands are amazing that I thought we were looking at a battle of the bands, and cosplayers and photographers alike make good use of the venue’s nook and cranny for photos and videos.

Strawberry Racecar also invites other vocalists to sing with them, like in this photo.

Just as Manila has the likes of Asterysk or Moonspeak or Project:Materia, Cebu has Strawberry Racecar, a cool band which belted out LiSA’s ADAMAS very well… a band worthy of my attention.

In addition, Bacolod has Yuya, a band which is doing well in their field that they even have their own produced single. I want these bands in the podcast. In the case of Yuya, they also do cosplay skits on cam and on stage.

Aside from performing LiSA’s iconic Crossing Field (Sword Art Online) and Hiroshi Kitadani’s “We Are!” (One Piece), they did a cosplay skit by nighttime where they mixed SAO with Dragonball.

Of course, I shouldn’t miss Pastel Mix. Those who have attended Manila Idol Matsuri last year went ecstatic with their performances. Looking back, they really improved a lot — I first saw them in Davao in April 2018, and after their Manila performance, they went on to even perform during the opening of the Japanese consulate in Davao City.

Since I’m the only PasMi fanatic by far who got to Cebu, what I can share to my peers are photos of them (and with them). Wala na, finish na.

Overall, Otakufest was just a start for me. What went beyond it are the friends that I met in person and the experiences post-event that made me want to say “I want to get back here soon.” As a Tagala — meaning a Manileño — I want to go beyond Manila. So I did.

For this year’s Otakufest, keepsakes. joins Cagayan de Oro-based The Lily Cat, Cebu Cosplay Buzz (Gary Montejo) and as its media partners. Daghang Salamat po for allowing us to share the story of Otakufest to our readers. I look forward to being there again in the not-so-distant future.