Saturdays are meant for me and my husband's "gala" time, we can go to wherever we would like to go to, it maybe in a mall, in anywhere near to nature, in a mountain, in the beach. What ever we would like to do. Last week we went home for my birthday celebration and since my mom was also going to Dubai for vacation, we decided to visit her too.
Yesterday's "gala" day was really cool because my husband, me and one of our college friend had enjoyed a day experiencing how it felt like to be in the world of the deaf and the mute. We came to witness the international event called MATA Expo.
What is "MATA EXPO"?
MATA Expo - photo taken during the announcement of raffle winners. Nope we didn't win.
MATA is actually a Japanese terminology for "See you again". In Tagalog, it means Eyes and it is a symbolic word for "visual and small world" in the deaf-related community.
The college friend who had invited us in this even informed us while on our way out of the event that the specific event was created because of the reason that the coordinators want to showcase this as a great opportunity for corporations and organizations to promote their services and or products of multicultural aspects. They aim to expand the public society's multicutural awareness.
It was great that they had decided to hold the event here in Cebu. In fact, that was the first time to be here in Cebu and they'll be coming back on 2018 only which makes this a great opportunity to open up to these kinds of events. I like the fact that it is very accessible to everyone since the event was held in a mall.
It was my bad when I almost forgot that the event was for the hearing and speaking less fortunate ones because the moment my husband and I came inside the specific area in JCenter Mall in Mandaue City, I noticed the numerous number of people communicating through sign languages. The people at the welcome area where wearing blue tshirts with the words "MATA Expo" and I was wondering where to see my college friend so I just sent her a text message and asked where to get our tickets since I can't communicate with these guys. Then as soon as my college friend went out to see us, I then realized that this was for the beneficiaries, the deaf-related community.
My husband and I were already late by the time we arrived so the event had already started, however, we were able to catch the cosplay competition so we went directly near to the stage area to take pictures of course.
There were two batches of cosplay ramp and act but we were only able to witness the second batch but we were fine with it since we were able to find a good spot and the audience were really polite and courteous. The event was really cool since the audience are mostly the deaf-related ones so clapping and other reactions include only the waving of hands and those sign languages only so there was not much noise.
One of the highlights of the event was their Cosplay contest. Cosplay by the way means costume play where the individuals are wearing costumes and accessories which mostly to portray a character. Most of the cosplayers portray anime characters and movie characters as well.
MATA Expo - shots during the presentation of all the cosplayers who had joined the second batch of Cosplay Runway.
Aside from just simply dressing up, they were also acting like they are the character. They walk and pose like the character and would try to even animate their facial expressions just like how these characters do in those tv series or movies.
Since the venue was a huge place, moving from here and there was not a problem and so we were able to take photos of these characters from away. I had my 50 mm lens with me which would only crop the facial view of the characters. My husband had only brought 35 mm lens as well and does the same thing. So most of our photos are just cropped ones on the facial part.
It was cool that these cosplayers would immediately pose and do their thing when someone with a camera approaches them. Like these guys down here.
MATA Expo - These are my favorite cosplayers in the event. They got the looks and the costumes plus they act well!
These were my favorites during the competition and although I was not sure who had won the specific contest, I guess these guys had done their roles well and had given justice to their character. I can't imagine the effort they had exerted just so they can present their characters well. And that martial artist girl's make up was fantastic!
Well the dance contest was something which I didn't expect because I thought it was only Cosplay event and other expo display but then I was surprised when the host called in some contestants of the dance section of the event. The cool thing about this was that they had all taken dancing Korean or Japanese dances very seriously. Like everyone was in there get up outfits, those cute Japanese uniforms which I normally see in most of the anime series.
The dance groups who had presented were not limited to all girls only, there were even boy groups who had joined the competition. It was really cool to see them dance and lip synced with the song they were dancing in the tune with.
MATA Expo - there were guys who had joined the contest too!
Yes these guys were really grooving and were taken away from the real world into the world of the dance which they were performing. They all felt like they were in the K-Pop world of dance and had forgotten about the Philippines or Cebu specifically. I like the fact that these kinds of visual arts were present even though most of the audience were not able to really hear the music, yet they were able to see the dance moves of these guys who had exerted their effort to practice and bring together each of their presentations.
And I would like to also note that there costumes or outfits are not that easy to find. I believe they had really made or sewn those costumes one by one or had also done some mix and match type of thing to come up with those artful costumes which I believe were also inspired from those original K-pop groups.
I was able to capture some of the dances but here's one of the firsts who had presented. I couldn't get all of the presentations together in one single video because that would mean a heavy file for upload.
Since the videos on bitLanders are not being uploaded and are still encoding until this point, I had instead uploaded the dance coverage on my Youtube account. Here's a clip instead of the dance.
Aside from the Cosplay competition and the Dance contest, there was also one more thing which makes this event extra special and that was the Tattoo Competition. The event caters visual arts since the community's audience is more of the deaf and mute ones.
MATA Expo - a model trying to keep the feelings while artist was doing the tattoo
This was in partnership with the Redeemed Tattoo where in a number of newbies and veteran tattoo artists would come and do their best tattoo arts showcased and will be judged according to the specified criteria.
I was lucky enough to be able to take pictures of these people being tattooed and the artists too. It was a nice experience getting my lenses into the back of the artists and see how these tattoos are done directly to the skins.
MATA Expo - Tattoo photos taken personally where tattoo artists were on doing each of their jobs in finishing their tattoo designs.
These guys looked like not feeling the pain at all. They are just sitting there, some had closed their eyes while feeling the stingy feeling of the needles getting in touch into their skins. Some were courageous enough to look at the needles while they are pinching into their pores with the guidance of the tattoo artists.
What's more surprising was the number of colors being applied to these guys. I thought it was mainly a black tattoo but then when I started roaming around, most of these guys are getting multi colored tattoos which I guess are really painful since the tattoo artist has to go back and forth to cover the skin with color.
MATA Expo - captured on video a Tattoo artist applying different colors on model's entire leg.
I also wonder what kind of inks they were using but I was seeing something which looked like watercolors but I was not really sure if those were watercolors at all but what I saw were colored containers which really looked like the ones from those art stores I had visited before. I was not courageous enough to ask the artists what kinds of paints are those stuffs but then what I knew was that they were hitting the models with different colors.
As an Expo, there were also stuff displayed for sale and of which had brought the crowd coming into and buying them. One of the stuffs I have seen were the kawaii items. Kawaii is a Korean term which means "cute". Well whenever I think of Korean stuffs, I would always think of something cute because they are indeed cute.
Look at these stuffs I saw being displayed just a few meters away from the stage.
MATA Expo - kawaii or cute items being sold during the event.
So they had cute anime character pins which can be placed in the bags or wherever one would like it to be displayed. I remember when I was in college, I was like buying pins like these to decorate my bag. They looked really cute and etsy. Aside from that there were also cute stuff toys which I guess were inspired from anime movies or other shows. And oh! Keychains can't be absent. They are also good as souvenirs for the loved ones who were left at home. I was thinking of buying one actually but then later on I forgot about it.
Another stuff which had really attracted me was the eye covers for sleeping and those masks which were really super "in" to the Japanese culture and fashion. If you had checked some Japanese random photos, you'll see those fashionable masks they have on. They are really cute!
I was surprised to see that in the other side of the hall were action figures being displayed by a specific guy enthusiast who was about to get these stuffs back into their bags. I was able to capture some of them before they were dismantled. I had my eyes on these Gunpla or Gundams. They are amazing because these ones are being assembled from just tiny pieces of plastics into a good figured robots or figures.
There are already lots of people collecting these kinds of items and I have also some friends who are doing customized gundam figures. Customized in a sense that they are assembling them but will be painting the bodies differently compared to its original form.
MATA Expo - Gundams displayed for your eyes only or for sale as well for the enthusiasts.
I am not really sure if the Gundams on the above photos were customized and I was not able to ask the owner if they were since he was already busy getting these kits into their containers. At that moment, I was thinking of just being able to take photographs before all of these stuffs are kept.
MATA Expo - This character figure is really astonishing because of the details.
Obviously, it was not just Gundams and gunplas around, there were also other anime action characters which I am not sure who and whichever anime were they featured but I was just amazed at how these ones are created. I believe these are really expensive ones since they are collector items.
But on the side note, these guys who are really enthusiasts on this kind of collections have not just expressed their love for anime but also for art.
Farewell Part : Silent Fun!
I myself was personally thankful that my colleague friend had invited me in this event. In this way, I was able to appreciate a lot of visual art and even opened my mind to how the mute and deaf are communicating to each other, how they are able to appreciate the things that they can't hear or say but can express it through their own way of expression, through the sign language.
After the event, I am more enthusiastic on attending cosplay events and other visual arts competition to capture these amazing art works and appreciate the efforts of the cosplayers in preparing their costumes for the event.
But more importantly, my husband and I are both glad we were able to help the beneficiaries of the event who are the ones with the deaf community. I have now also this eager feeling inside of me to learn the sign language. In this way, I can open up to those people who have the disability of speaking or hearing normally.
By the way, the shirts on the photo were sign languages prints so I was really interested on those but my husband told me we can get those from the web so we just let them go.
The event of course ended up with everyone saying (in sign language) :
SEE YOU AGAIN!