“A furry con? Here in the Philippines?” that’s the first thought coming to mind when news of FurryPinas made waves. The events we generally experience arethe usual mainstream anime and comic conventions, which makes a furry con a significant deviation from the norm.
We’re caught unawares, but furries have been around in the Philippines for quite a while, being someone who was formerly in the fandom (early 2000’s). There really weren’t many furries back then, and if you did meet one, it was extremely rare. The lack of unison between fans back then was palpable. But with a more active furry community nowadays, and the organization of FurryPinas, it’s safe to say that the the furry community in the Philippines are slowly gaining traction again, with this event making quite an achievement.
In other countries, the furry fandom has its social stigmas. First impressions are usually negative, often considered social pariahs amongst the eccentrics. But these were totally dispelled upon seeing the event in person. A rare sight to behold, the furry community in the Philippines looks warm and close-knit. You would see groups of friends having fun as well as those in fursuits, and the fursuiters were really cool as well! More than just flaunting a fur suit, FurryPinas makes a valiant attempt at introducing the furry fandom to the general populace with what we think is little to no negative feedback. Perhaps the lack of a negative publicity towards the local furry community may have contributed to that, which makes their entry into the mainstream event leagues quite the advantage. FurryPinas became a platform of expression that was open, accepting, and endearing to everyone.
Fandom aside, we did have one nitpick for their improvement. The event needed a spacious area to allow fursuiters to strut around, which makes their chosen venue suitable for such situation. The layout in the event hall itself was also adequate, but some areas, especially in the artists alley, could use a bit of work. Some parts of the layout lead to dead ends, isolating some booths. There should be a more free-flowing layout to make things fairer for all artists and exhibitors.
Nevertheless, FurryPinas 2019 is a valiant attempt at positioning a niche (and oft-maligned) fandom into the mainstream. It attempts to create awareness of a sub-group of hobbyists while trying their best to keep the negative impact at bay. The event succeeds in doing so, and through its simple interactions with the general populace and the mainstream otaku community, is able to gradually be accepted as a noble group with noble pursuits.
Here’s hoping the local furry community, and the event organizers, keep up this standard for years to come.
FurryPinas 2019 happened on June 8-9, 2019 at the Bayanihan Center, Pasig City.
Event coverage and photos by Prawnt