Seriously Cute: Going "Kawaii" in Manila

Kawaii Girl finalist, Atascha Mercado
Not a lot of people can probably understand why I am interested in the Kawaii Culture. I imagine that a lot of people may find it to be too sweet and childish. Not surprising because while this is considered a Global Phenomenon, it is still growing in the Philippines.

What is Kawaii?

By definition, in Japanese it means, "cute", "pretty" or "adorable". Over the years, the meaning became more than that and is now for some a way of life. 

According to Kawaii Manila, "It is not just an appreciation for the all the cute and pretty things anymore, but it is also about looking at the world in a happy and positive light."

 Kawaii Manila 2

Kawaii in Manila Storyboard
On paper, going to Kawaii Manila 2 seemed fun for me. It will be full of 'Kawaii' influenced art, fashion, food and merchandise. A lot of preparation was done for this event and I am not saying this because they had this beautiful storyboard on display. 

Orderly entrance and exit; available necessities in bathrooms. It may sound easy, but it isn't if you remember that they are catering to 1500 participants. With this many people, so many things can easily go wrong. 


The Boy Who Drank Stars by Jin Joson 

The first thing I wanted to see had been the art exhibit. As an art-lover, I can't imagine starting anywhere else. 

The theme of the exhibit is, "My interpretation of kawaii, and how it influenced my art."

I was able to see works from artists like popular cosplayer, Jin Joson. 

Thanks to a friend, I managed to even meet one of these artists. Ayumi Miranda is just as cute and pretty as her own artwork called, "All My Heart." 
She isn't simply a pretty face though because she is also approachable and a little quirky.  
Artist, Ayumi Miranda with her artwork

Don't let the youthful smile and looks fool you. She might look like a girl still in Highschool, but she is actually already an illustrator and graphic designer. 


There are different types of Kawaii Fashion. If I were to talk about it here, I'd probably take too much of this already long entry. I think Lolita and Gyaru are the most common though. 

There was a fashion show in the itinerary. However, I was late for the first fashion show and I had to go home before the next show began. 

Casual Gyaru
In other words, I was quite unfortunate. All is not lost though, since I didn't need a fashion show to see all the different trends of Kawaii.  

Since I am a fan of Sweet Lolita, I admit that I was especially excited to see fashion from Angelic Pretty, DollDelight and La Princesse Tea Doll. 

I was surprised to see any Angelic Pretty at all. It is an authentic Japanese brand and each dress costs as much as P15,000. 
(L to R) Harajuku Fashion and Sweet Lolita

I really wish I had more space for pictures, because I would have loved to show pictures of the more creative side of Kawaii Fashion. Another surprise I found there was someone dressed in Deco-Kawaii fashion. The incredible part, was that she used paper for her hairpiece and the outfit was done by herself. If she did do it herself, Kudos for that!


Dream of Doll
What is a Kawaii Convention without dolls? 

While my favorite part of the whole convention was definitely meeting my bestfriend again, being able to see actually Dream of Dolls come a close second. I've read about these dolls before in passing and saw many photos of them during my Deviantart days. 

I never thought I could ever see one up close. 


Because one doll costs around $550 (P24,000). They are so beautiful though, so I can understand why they are so expensive and sought after. I honestly want one, but I think I can only afford one in my dreams.

It would make a lot of sense. I guess that may be how they got their name. 
Dream of Doll


Aki, Jin and pretty Miguel (Miguelita or Miguela?)
I was so sad to find out that Tricia Gosingtian (Fashion Blogger) arrived at the event just as I left.

Maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised. I've seen Aki cosplay Kuroko a few times with Jin and the others before. She is very pretty in person by the way. 

Despite being prepared to see the Tuxedo Team, if my friend hadn't pointed them out to me I would have froze completely. I am so glad that she remembered to take a picture of them while I was too busy trying to process what was going on. Embarrassingly, I had a 'what-just-happened' moment.

It's been many years now, they (Jin and Miguel) are still my favorite crossplay couple. The funny thing was that I didn't even recognize Miguel because I sincerely thought that Jin was walking beside another girl.

Competitions and Performances

Sadly, I wasn't able to finish watching the 'Ikemen' Competition. By the way, it means 'good-looking boy' in Japanese. So, it was a competition for good-looking boys. I am not particularly interested in Ikemen, but I can't help but notice the screaming girls around me when the contestants came on stage. 

However, one of the highlights of Kawaii in Manila for me was the 'Kawaii Girl' Competition. Out of more than a
Kawaii Girl finalist in Deco-Kawaii Fashion
dozen entries, only four girls made it as finalists. All of them dressed in different styles of Kawaii. 

There were a lot of acts there too of course. We had a group performing songs from many of my favorite childhood anime. 

It was really nostalgic! My friends and I enjoyed listening to them and play a game of 'NAME THAT ANIME SONG.' I didn't guess many though. 

However, I managed to guess all of the J-pop songs performed by Campus Royalties, It probably helped that most of the songs were from Morning Musume '14 and Perfume. Both bands are favorites of mine. 
Campus Royalties performing 'PonPonPon'
And of course Kyary's iconic, 'PonPonPon.' I screamed when the Kyary impersonator came on stage. It was unexpected, but in a good way. 

To many, Kyary brought  a different and unconventional Kawaii in the Jpop industry, so it made sense to see her songs performed. 


Mimi Claire's Stall 

Those who follow my Facebook probably already know that I am a proud owner of Sailor Moon keychains from Hodge Podge.

Aside from Hodge Podge, there are many cute shops to choose from. They have stalls that sell make up, snacks, fashion and so much more.
Knickknacks from Whimsicute
There was make up from Dolly Wink, Cherry Blossom flavored Kit Kat and Cat Ear Headbands just to name a few. 

... at the end of the day

I enjoyed the experience overall. If I didn't have to worry about the traffic in Manila, I would have stayed longer and probably met Tricia. There was a lot of things to try and look forward to. 

Maybe it is too early to say this, but I am already looking forward to next year. 

Kawaii in Manila 3, anyone?


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