Con-goer's Mini Survival Guide

 pics taken at the Komikstrip convention  at UPLB January of 2010
Pop culture conventions and events are a dime a dozen these days. As a long time con-goer I'd like to share some pieces of advice for all of you who have yet to attend a con or event and for those who have attended a few but somehow 'didn't feel' the last con or event you've attended. Here we go:

1. Information is Ammunition - know everything about the convention or event that you are about to attend. When will it be, who's coming, what are the activities slated for the day, start time, admission fees and the like. Information is easy to get by these days, scour the internet for the blog or fan page of that event. Word of mouth also come into play, if you have friends in the know then lucky you.

Some notable conventions I attend include:

Komikon - Once an annual event, Komikon is now a bi-annual event where the country's premier indie komiks creators gather. It's the local version of Japan's Komiket. The 'summer' Komikon usually pops up around April to June while the 'winter' Komikon is on from October to November.

Toycon - Toycon is, you've guessed it, all about toys. Retailers from all over come to show their offerings to the public, with many of their goods sold at discounted prices. Highlights include toy customization contests, rare toy auctions and collections showcases.

New World's Alliance - formerly known as Sci-fi con, is a celebration of geek culture: role playing games sessions, SF film premiers, panel discussions abound. Thus far, the convention that feature little or no merchandise.
 
2. Know the lay of the land - It is important to know where the convention or event will be held. It doesn't hurt to ask if you don't know how to get there. It also pays to know key points when you get to the venue; knowledge of these key points like comfort rooms, ingress and egress points, food courts etc is very important.

Some common venues for conventions or events are:

Megamall - where their Megatrade Halls are situated. Pretty convenient as it is smack dab in the center of Manila. The Megatrade halls can accommodate a lot of people though that is also it's downside as more people translates to more heat thus the need for better air-conditioning.

U.P. Bahay ng Alumni - is also a great place to be since UP Diliman also offers some good scenery, perfect for breathers every now and then from the convention or event.

World Trade Center - also a good venue but may be difficult for some attendees to go to especially the ones from the provinces (like yours truly)

3. Money matters - in any convention or event, money is important and you should be prepared for it. Money can be broken down into transport, food, admission fees, merchandise and miscellaneous expenses. Plan ahead and project how much money you have to take with you. Be careful not to overspend.

4. Gear yourself up - that means bringing your camera, tickets, extra clothes, cell phone and other essentials. If you're going to a komiks convention then pack up your komiks and sketchpads (to be signed) in a plastic carry case.

A backpack is the luggage of choice in these situations. They can carry a lot of stuff and free up your hands once you get your loots and spoils which comes in handy when you're going to shake hands with the wonderful people in the con. The major downside of a backpack is that it tends to be bulky and unwieldy when you put too much inside.

5.Meet, greet and be proper - Etiquette. A lot of people forget about this one. It's OK to shake hands and chat with people inside the con. But following them around the venue and never letting him or her have any private moments will automatically label you as a stalker. Be mindful of each person's personal space and be aware of proper personal hygiene while you are at it.

6. Beware, thieves! - being inside a closed venue does not guarantee that people's stuff can't be stolen. Thieving and snatching  are commonplace in cons and events though you only need presence of mind in order not prevent these situations.
   
7. Patience, young grasshopper -  is key. Cons and events run for most of the day, with the activities spread around 1 or 2 hour intervals. A warning though: if you're a person that easily get bored then cons and events are not for you. But if you're a regular con-goer,it is wise to listen to activity announcements and take breaks or breathers to change your pace.

8.HAVE FUN - I can't stress this enough. Cons and events are mad to be enjoyable for all. Remember that you're the one to adjust to the con or event, not the other way around.

That's it and I hope all that I've brought in helps in your next con or event attendance.

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