ICC 2007: Where the heck are the Internet Cafes?

Yesterday, me and my lovely significant other, sacred_essence, went to the 2nd Internet Café Congress 2007 at the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall 01.  It was the last day of the event, and since we decided that we’d go to Megamall that day, ICC was a free-entrance event and we heard that some of the gang at HEROTV Forum was dropping by we thought to might as well drop by as well.  Turns out to be an interesting trip.

 

Before we landed at Megamall, I took a quick detour to Connecticut Street at Greenhills.  Conti’s Restaurant and Bake Shop has a branch there, and I’ve always wanted to treat SE to a slice of the shop’s signature cake – the Mango Bravo.  So I took the chance and we headed over. 

 

For those who you who are curious, the Mango Bravo cake is a curious delicacy of humongous size – a slice is about 8 inches tall and six inches in width, which is big for a cake, enough to feed a small family.  The cake is a multi-layer mocha and butter chiffon cake with a layer of caramel in the bottom and mangoes in cream in middle, topped with almonds in a thick layer of whipped cream and chocolate, frozen to perfection.  It’s really a treat and at only 70 pesos, quite a bargain.

 

I ordered one slice only, since by my own experience I couldn’t finish one on my own, backed up by some lemon ice tea and bottled water.  As expected, SE loved it started gorging on it, slapping my wrist whenever I vainly tried to attack the whipped cream and chocolate.  Except that the mangoes were a little on the bitter side, the cake was perfect.  I offered to order another slice, but thankfully SE realized that was a bad idea and was full.  She wanted to take some home, but since it was a frozen cake and we were still not going home, that plan was scrapped.  We promised, however, to come back soon for more of that cake, and the other entrees as well.

 

So finally, we arrived at Megamall 10:30 AM, and before we left the car, SE gave me my early birthday present – the copy of Gundam SEED Astray mangas on DVD, and the custom Ultimate Coordinator t-shirt with the airbrush painting of a Kira Yamato chibi on the back.  I really loved the t-shirt – I always wanted to get one made, and again SE read my mind.  I really am thankfull for my S.O. – she is my happiness.

 

We proceeded to the trade halls.  We took a peek at the ICC, but with the crowd forming around the registration booth, we decided to enter after lunch.  SE and I started to walk around, without any general direction, entering shops and checking out merchandise.  We entered shops to look for possible clothes for SE’s cosplay debut sometime late this year, looking for things from wigs to boots.  We also dropped by Toy Kingdom, on our eternal quest to look for that bloody, pink Haro toy, and there I found some interesting stuff at interesting prices, which will definitely go up my must-buy list from now on (a 1/100 Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam One Year War Edition at half the price in other shops at my number one).  We also tried those toy dispensers from BANDAI, picking figurines from the Bleach anime, and getting a Gin Ichimaru key chain.  The quality of the keychain is good, and quite cheap at 100 pesos for a genuine BANDAI figure.  SE wanted to get a Rangiku Matsumoto figure (I did too), but we decided it wasn’t worth another chance crack to get one, then get another Gin in the process.

 

Next we decided to have lunch, and ended up in Sbarro’s.  After a few minutes of arguing, we settled on picking two pasta dishes, and sharing a slice of the resto’s premium pizza flavors.  SE got an order of lasagna with meat sauce, while I attacked a half-plate of ziti with a meatball, as we shared a humongous slice of Chicago deli pizza with everything on it.  Thank God we didn’t order for extra cheese, since when Sbarro asks if you want everything on it, they put everything on it, which meant a generous dash of more tomato and meat sauce.  And Thank God we didn’t decide to order two slices of pizza, because we probably finished 90% of each of our pasta plates, and about 75% of the pizza, which I took home in the usual doggie bag.  Mind you, the pasta was great – I really love the tomato and meat sauce over the ziti, while I know SE is still bulgy-eyed over the nine layers of pasta and meat her lasagna had.  Deciding (futilely) not to eat anything else for the entire afternoon, we returned to our window shopping spree.

 

We dropped over Power Books to look at mangas, and Comic Alley for usual walkthrough around really pesky shopclerks peddling (mostly) low quality anime stuff.  We just like to look at whatever they have there, and exclaim that some of the stuff are “real”.  On the way I took a peek at Lil’s Hobby Shop, looking for a blue, fine edge Gundam marker, but all they have are black and grey in colors.  We passed through the Food Court, even though the smell of food was making me barf, and was pleasantly surprised when Manong Jojo, a fellow HEROTV forumer, found us and dragged us to where the TG boys (that’s Tropang Gising) was hanging out before going up to ICC.  Several of the TG’s where there, like Tomiko_van, yuber, zeroaima plus several others.  They were there to support yuuki_setsu’s cosplay bid – she was wearing a cute Haruhi Suzumiya number.  After a little chitchat with the group, we left to go upstairs, promising the TG’s to meet them at the ICC later.  A stop at EGG got SE a nice looking belt and a weird looking pig ballpen, and me a COW ballpen.  It became a day-long subject of debate between the two of us, if the animal on my ballpen was bovine or a zebra.  Too bad I don’t have a pic, but maybe I’ll take one later and post it here for a poll.

 

We did a quick recon of Shoe Mart for more cosplay stuff, then – surprise, surprise – we stumbled on the odd couple, Femme Fatale and Akitsuki Yamato, entering the mall.  We hooked up with them, chit-chatted at the Food Court over the COW pen, survived (to Femme’s chagrin) Akitsuki’s Jedi Mind Trick in the elevator (which I have on video and will upload on Youtube soon) and linked up with the TG crew at ICC.

 

ICC was interesting, except for one thing – for an internet café convention, where were the internet cafes?  I only found about four or five of them, the rest were computer networking stuff and mmorpgs.  And the quality of the cosplay event was low – there were not many cosplayers, and the convention management handled the show very badly.  I thought I was going to be bored, except that I found salvation – promo girls.  Don’t get me wrong, I was just admiring them, and not being my usual ecchi self.

 

Beside the promo girls, there were many interesting tidbits about the show.  I got a lot flyers from the booths about putting up an internet café, which I am interested to do again after the three years when WebPlus (a café I was investing in several years ago) closed down.  I also found a anime dvd booth, and picked up a copy of Mobile Suit Gundam 0079, even though it was the Hong Kong version with the bad English subtitling (Amuro is called Yaoba, Gundam is Gaoda, Frau Bo is Meimei!). 

 

The TG boys were doing their interesting bit of posing as paparazzi, hounding cosplayers for pictures, and making forumers who dropped by looked like stars being hunted down by the entertainment tabloids.  Every time we walked by they started asking for pics, and while I’m generally a shy guy when I comes to that, I agreed to a little fun.  Too bad nobody got a shot of SE giving little old me a kiss in the cheek (the only public kiss between Lacus Clyne and Kira Yamato) or zeroaima’s failed attempt to take SE’s stolen picture.  Tomiko and I ribbed SE a little – Tomiko was wearing a black T-shirt with a Fllay Allster airbrush on the back, and I joked about going down to the car and changing into the Kira shirt and getting a pic with him showing our backs, and making a HEROTV siggy out of it.  But again my adoration for SE, (and fear of her inner Lacus) made me think otherwise.

 

Later in the afternoon we decided to rest our feet and get some java, and found the Mocha Blends kiosk a floor down and stayed there for a few minutes.  SE downed on a mocha frap (I can’t remember what Mocha Blends calls it, so Starbucks, don’t sue me), while I just enjoyed the seat. We ended up taking pictures of each other, and I got a nice pic of SE doing the pacutey look, which I’ll keep.

 

Finally we went back to the ICC to watch the cosplay show at 4 PM.  It was SRO as usual, people being packed in a crowded place.  Good thing the show started soon after we got there, and I watched as the cosplayers comically strutted their stuff.  Yuuki_setsu, who we were rooting for, was the fifth, but for some reason she stepped on the floor before the third cosplayer was called, to the happy howl of the TG boys.  She calmly went back, and when she was called, she did well to the good applause of the crowd.  Too bad she didn’t win.  The rest of the show was generally boring – there were too much of a character from Death Note (“L”); I wanted to strangle the Kira Yamato wannabee, and not too many seats. Like I said, ICC is not really a event meant for cosplay, because it was obvious the convention staff doesn’t know how to handle it.  SE and I decided to take off about three-fourths of the show and head on home.

 

Overall it was an interesting day, and a lot of fun.  It would have been better if the event was more anime and cosplay oriented, and it would have been better if I DIDN’T FORGET MY DIGICAM AGAIN!  I have some pics on my cam-phone, and maybe I’ll post them in the future if I like their quality.  But like I said, I had a relaxing and fun time, and with SE being there, it was magnified a hundred times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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