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How To Get Started With Cosplaying At Any Age, According To These Cosplayers

It takes a lot of work, but anyone can pull it off if they're passionate about it!
IMAGE Charlene J. Owen

From the days of institutions like Polidread to the current wave of internationally-acclaimed personalities like Jin, local cosplay (short for “costume play”) has become a huge movement that has created a vast community crossing different fandoms and genres. Cosplay competitions are a staple in almost every geek convention, whether it’s Asia Pop or ESGS, and it’s highlighted by many stand-alone events such as the upcoming Cosplay Matsuri (December 28 to 30), and many more.

Needless to say, cosplay isn’t something to be scoffed at. Preparing a full-on outfit from scratch (including props) takes months—and that is if you’ve planned your timelines well and have diligently followed a schedule. Most cosplayers will tell you that they’ve probably started their costumes a week or even three days before a con, all the while panicking like a headless, sleepless chicken and hot-gluing everything together, praying to the gods that be that nothing falls off.

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Kidding aside, however, cosplay requires both creative craftsmanship and a knack for performance, and while you can always buy a costume off Lazada, you’ll still end up rehashing, refurbishing, and even resewing a few things. In an interview with Candy at ESGS 2019, Janine Audrey Reyes, Nicolai Dizon, and Nicolai’s younger sister Pauline, share how it is to be cosplayers in the Philippines, and how this hobby can change one’s view about oneself.

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Candy: How did you get interested in cosplay?

Nicolai Dizon: Para po sa ‘kin, ‘yong pag-co-cosplay ko po, pangpatanggal ng stress. Nakakakilala po kami ng maraming kaibigan.

Janine Audrey Reyes: It’s like every other hobby, na parang, an opportunity that you can share with other people… You can dress up as your favorite characters for people.

Pauline Dizon: Para po sa akin, ang pag-co-cosplay, masaya po. Para po maraming makikilalang friends.

Candy: How do you decide on which character to cosplay, and how do you make your costumes?

Nicolai: Actually ‘yong sa ‘kin, si Papa binibili niya ng second-hand, then…gagawin niya upang gumanda. Gaya nito, binili ni Papa ng sirang ilaw, ginawa ni Papa para lumakas.

Janine: In my case, tingnan ko muna ‘yong character kung keri ko. Tapos, kung kaya kong gumalaw sa costume niya, at kung kaya kong gawin. Kasi hindi naman din ako super galing mag-armor. Feeling ko kung gusto ko ‘yong character, kung kaya ko, and kung sa tingin ko, maraming matutuwa.

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Candy: How do you improve your craft?

Nicolai: Noong unang sali ko po, hindi pa po ako masyadong marunong. And then…inaral ko pong mabuti ‘yong mga skills ng mga character na ginagaya ko, para makuha ko.

Janine: Mostly, YouTube tutorials, tapos yong mga great cosplayers na nauna sa amin. Iba ‘yong advice nila, talagang very useful and very helpful.

Pauline: Noong una po ako nag-cosplay, ‘di ko pa po alam ‘yong mga rules. Noong patagal na nang patagal, alam ko na po. Practice na po ako nang practice.

Candy: Cosplay calls for you to be in character and to be able to move the way your character does. How do you practice that?

Nicolai: Pinag-aaralan ko po talagang mabuti ‘yong mga sipa, mga tumbling… kung paano sila gumaalaw. Like, kagaya nito, si Ezreal po, ang galaw niya is parang comedy na action.

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Janine: Kapag lagi mo na kasing nilalaro, or pinapanood, tapos lalo na ‘yong character e parang nakaka-relate ako sa kanya—“Oh, I can see myself in this character”—ang dali lang niyang matandaan ‘yong movements. And I think nakakatulong din ‘yong background ko sa martial arts.

Pauline: Pina-practice ko po ng mabuti ‘yong mga galaw, pina-practice ko po sa bahay.

Candy: Not all costumes are comfortable. How do you deal with that?

Nicolai: Noong una po nahihirapan po ako, nahihirapan pumasok yong hangin. Nung tumagal nang tumagal, parang nasanay na rin po ako… Ito po, hindi po ako nakakaupo sa ganitong costume, pero napagtiyatiyagaan.

Janine: Ito po [na suot ko] comfortable, pero ‘pag minsan, ‘pag uncomfortable, hindi na naming naiisip, kasi we’re having fun.

Candy: How has cosplay helped you personally?

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Nicolai: Nakakapag-entertain ng tao, nakakapag-tanggal ng stress... Manalo, matalo, okay lang, kasi nakakapagpasaya ka ng tao.

Janine: Before kasi talaga, noong high school, ang buhay ko talaga Playstation. So I didn’t really have many friends, few lang sila… A friend of mine introduced me to a convention. Nakita ko siya as pagkakataon for gamers—‘yong mga nakatago sa cave nila—na magkaroon ng social life.

Candy: How does it feel to be a part of the Philippine cosplay community?

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Nicolai: Masaya po. Dati po, wala akong hilig rito. Dati po, nakikita-kita ko lang po. Tapos sabi ko, ‘Ano kaya feeling nito…’ Then noong na-try ko masarap pala sa feeling.

Janine: Sa Philippine cosplay, sobrang advantage tayo kasi ‘yong access natin sa resources: Divisoria, minsan Cubao, Marikina… Mga ilang beses na rin nanalo internationally ‘yong cosplay natin, Philippines, kaya I’m proud.

Candy: What would be your advice to those who wish they can do cosplay but are still scared to do so?

Nicolai: ‘Yong cosplay po, kung bata ka, matanda ka, puwede po ‘yan… Wala pong [problema] kahit ano pong sabihin nila, at least masaya ka sa ginagawa mo, at masaya ‘yong mga tao sa nakikita nila.

Nicolai: Enjoy lang sila! Huwag silang mahihiya.

Janine: I think someone should remind them na hindi naman film ‘yon na direktor ‘yong pipili ng kung sinong dapat i-play na character. Tayo ‘yong direktor natin. Maging confident sila, huwag silang mahiya kung ano ‘yong body nila... It’s just for fun, so go!

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Charlene J. Owen
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A community page where you can share your feels and show your skills! Learn more here

Hi. These are just my thoughts that I put into words during this quarantine. I also miss the beach so much so I'm attaching the photo I took during my last beach trip. Thanks and stay safe! ???? ----

Lately, it has been a roller coaster ride of emotions. You were happy and then you just found yourself feeling empty and lost the next day. Sometimes, it occurs all at once. All the aversion and the doubts, the frustration, the feeling of not feeling anything but sadness. It's all gonna drown you. And it's not gonna be easy. You're gonna question all that you're doing- if in any case, you're achieving anything or if you're succeeding with the path that you take. You wonder if you're now heading to the right direction or still lost and wandering. We all fight these kind of thoughts and struggles.

In life, you can never be happy and content at all times. All the broken pieces will remain to be broken. You're still gonna breakdown at some point; you're still gonna cry. But don't be hopeless. Even though life is throwing you with so many reasons to give up, please fight. Don't be hopeless. I'm gonna agree with you, if you'll say "it's not easy" But none of the things that are worthwhile in life is ever easy.

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I wish you well.

, Marj

Karen Mei Caro 9 hours ago

I know that right now, things are not okay. There's a deadly virus. You lost your job. You have no money and you have to pay your bills. You suddenly broke up with your boyfriend. You can't figure out what's going on. It's like you're facing blank walls and you're lost in a different world.

You are sad, confused and totally scared. But dear, you don't have to keep it all inside. You can talk about it. Telling your fears and troubles is not a bad thing. It's never wrong to be honest. It maybe frightening at first but it will make you feel better. Don't be afraid to ask for help. It took me a while to learn this. It was a complete struggle and I forced myself to believe that I was okay even if I was not.

For many years, I kept everything to myself. And it was very difficult to fight my battles alone. I even reached the point when I wanted to give up because I was already tired of all the fears, pains, rejections and disappointments. Until I have learned to accept that sometimes, things don't go our way. And it's okay to fail, to cry, to be different, to get angry, to feel negative emotions because it makes us human. Admitting that you're not okay and knowing that it's okay is your first step to healing.

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You don't have to be perfect. You have nothing to prove to anyone. Your mistakes and failures do not make you any less. And if you're going through a hard time, talk to people you trust. Remember that your feeling is valid, no matter what it is. So, don't be afraid to show your emotions. Nothing is wrong with that. That's what I did and it really helped me a lot. Think of the things that make you happy. Do them all over again. Choose to relax and appreciate everything that you have. And don't forget to pray. Life is beautiful, so, always take care of yourself.

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By: Jairus Gabriel A. Cardinoza

With the world suffering by crisis and chaos today, where everyone of us seems to be caged, may be in our home, in our thoughts, with our regrets, or even with someone whom we can never have, while sulking in our house with our home works and household choirs, there are those idle moments when I stop and stare into oblivion, I can’t help but to think about those moments where we are the happiest, or we are the most sad, we have our own highlights of our life, either our downfall or shortcomings, sometimes our triumphs, but how about those moments caught in between but played as much as important episode to those we remember the most?

Sometimes you can’t help but to think about those moments in between. We think that our life is built by big moments, but little do we realized how little they play in our lives, we barely even consider the little things, that made a huge impact in our lives, maybe it wasn’t about the medal you’ve got from winning an essay contest, but the stranger who let you borrow his/her pen because you forgot yours at home, maybe it wasn’t the brand new watch that your parents gave you as a present but the person that you saved unconsciously, asking you what time is it because he/she was worried he/she might be late for the class.

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Admit it, or not, we have all took those moments for granted, those moments when everything is in between. In times like this, where a crisis is on the midst, our mind often wanders elsewhere, there will always be that moments that the silence of our room will be filled by the cacophonies of our thoughts that strangle us in the subtle ways. The only solace we could find in this misery is sometimes our memories, not the big ones but those moments we once thought idle, who would have guess that the last time you drink your favorite coffee was a month ago, or the comfort of your favorite street you passed after school, hoping you could meet the person you want to talked to accidentally, the way you rush to the favorite fast food chain after a tiring day, hoping for a cone of ice cream, our life will always be built by these moments.

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There will always be something in between, that stiches two extremes into a one fine art, between love and pain, there is learning, the midnight always reminds us that yesterday is over but there is always a tomorrow waiting for us to rise, between our dreams and our failures, there is hope, the wisest person sometimes understand that life is a prism, it can blind us with all the colors and wonders of its side, but there is one source of light that made all those colors possible. Take a chance to be that light, that sees not only the parts that we hide, nor the highlights of our lives but those moments of everything in between.

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TITLE: Good night

It was the morning of May 5; I went to the ICU to take the morning shift. I peeked from the sliding door and saw a female doctor and 3 nurses probably making their rounds. Half asleep, I entered the room not realizing what was happening. I sat in front of my grandma’s bed, waiting for the doctors to leave. My aunt was crying from the corner of the room, I thought that perhaps my grandma was deteriorating. Then the monitor on the upper left part of the bed kept beeping, then the lady in white coat announced “time of death 8:50”.

Everything froze, I didn’t understand a thing. I saw my aunt hug our grandma so tight, shaking out of grief and desperation. I sat there frozen and speechless, it was so surreal I thought it was a dream. My sister who was sitting beside me took a few heavy steps towards grandma’s bed. She hugged our grandma and whispered words lost in between her sobs.

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When it was my time, I held her right hand, the hand I used to wipe and hold. It wasn’t cold, it was still warm, soft and wrinkly. The bruises from countless injections she endured. I pressed her hand trying to wake her up, more tears rolled when she wouldn’t respond. “Inang! Agriing kan a, bigaten!” (Granma wake up, it’s morning already) I wrapped my hands around her, she’s the same Inang I used to hug but this time she isn’t hugging me back. I tried to wake her up a couple more times more desperate than the last. I wanted to see those little eyes open again and look at me. I wanted her to ask me “apaya nakkong?” (why my dear?) once more. How about calling me miss Universe when she forgets my name. I loved her and will love her even if she calls me the wrong name.

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I still remember the night she held my hands so tight she said “ haan nak panpanawan a, ta nu matay nak ket haan ko nga maymaysa.” (Please don’t leave me so that if I die, I will not be alone “I hope I fulfilled my promise to her I hope she didn’t die lonely but happy. The room was enveloped with grief engraved in the cries we made but in the middle of the room, there she lies. She laid still, she looked so serene and peaceful. It looked like she was having a good nap. It was the first time in years that I saw her sleep so tight.

After all the restless nights she can finally sleep. I wiped my tears as I marvel the way she looked. It was a painful but beautiful sight. I wanted her to wake up but how could I ask that if she looked so peaceful now? After all the pain she endured she is finally resting. I couldn’t ask her to come back when I know she’s in a better place. She is free now, free from pain and suffering. I stop waking her up and held her hand tightly, in between my cries I bid goodbye. To my dearest Inang Nani, go on find the light. I know Tatang and Tito are waiting for your arrival. Rest well Inang, Good night.

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Loneliness that Turned into Beautiful Solitude

Are you one of those many people who experienced loneliness? The moment where you do not have someone else to rely on. Have you experienced it? Going home with a lot of thoughts running in your mind but no one was there to listen. Have you ever felt bad for yourself? In realizing that you were the only one left. When every one else was leaving. When most people around you have chosen others over you. Have you experienced the pain? The pain of being alone? A lot of people are afraid to be alone for various reasons. Some people says that they are just used to something that there is always someone out there for them. Someone who is always there. Someone who is always ready to accompany them in all. Someone who is always willing to stay. Stays in your best and most especially at your worst. While others simply do not have the courage to face the world of loneliness. I, experienced the pain of loneliness but gained a lot of benefit from it.

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Living alone is not a simple thing for me to do but for me to survive and acquire proper education, I have to. I have to learn to live alone. In living alone, I had face a lot of difficulties. I encountered a lot of problems that were made to be fixed by many but was able to get it fixed by myself. Yes it was hard, it is hard. It was never easy to begin with. There will be times or days that it can make you drain and cause you countless sleepless nights. Yes, it is painful. But we have to realize that in loneliness, we can also find peace in ourselves. The "YOU". The genuine "YOU".

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People are so afraid to experience loneliness. Most of us do not realize that with so much fear of being alone, we started to forget that good things come from being alone. As time pass by, I got used in solving problems by myself, I learned to live alone, I saw the "beauty of loneliness" that's how my loneliness slowly turned into beautiful solitude. As time passes by, I realized that there are a lot of good things that you can get in being alone. So, for those who are reading this, I hope you guys learn to appreciate the beauty of being alone.

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