Monday, December 8, 2014

Tuesday with Luke

[Warning: The opinions stated in this post does not necessarily reflect the author's own opinions, anyone else's. This post may contain harsh and sensitive topics. Reader discretion is advised.]

November 18, 2014
Approximately 2:30pm
Location: Forget-me-Not Cafe, Lilac Street, Marikina City

Our initial agenda was a shoot, but it seemed that the wind blew differently on that fateful noon. I was armed, or more like dolled up, dragging a friend with me to be my companion as I met with a good friend of mine for what may seem to be our last meeting before he left for the land of freedom.

Not everyone knows this man, who goes by the name of Luke Caayao. Some may recognize him as the Human Resources Assistant of Cosplay Network Philippines, a passionate and dedicated team of enthusiasts. Others recognize him as the administrator of the famed CNPH online markets, and some others recognize him as a talented photographer.

As his personal friend, I was graced with the chance of having a private interview with him, along with Louis of Infinity Studios. All the photos in this post are his.

We talked casually, going back and forth about the latest happenings in his life as he prepares to leave for the United States. He talked about his preparations, his plans as soon as he gets there, and a few anecdotes from his past shoots with popular figures in cosplay.

At some point of our conversation, we started to talk about cosplay and the community. An initial question that popped into my head was: Is the cosplay community in the Philippines going uphill or downhill?

Luke paused for a moment before giving a straight answer, saying that from what he sees, the community is going downhill. He mentioned that one of the main reasons for this is that some cosplayers lack respect towards each other, and that the cosplayers who are into the hobby for a longer period of time failed to pass down good morals and etiquette down to the new cosplayers.

Curiously, I asked if someone was to blame for the state of the cosplay community.

Luke: It's not just because of one person. If you're implying that maybe it's because of Alodia or Myrtle that's why it's going downhill, it's not. Why? First of all, they're actually the ones that put the cosplay scene on the map. The ones that are to blame, partially, I can put myself to blame. It could be CNPH, or Cosplay Mania. Why? We have all this code of conduct and cosplay etiquette, but... the problem is, no one is passing the knowledge to the younger guys. If there is a pathway to pass the knowledge on, do you think there's gonna be attitude problems with cosplayers around the community? It's simple.

Aki: You're leaving soon, and you're possibly looking for retirement from your position in CNPH. At this point, do you feel fulfilled with what you have achieved for your team and the community?

L: To be honest, I'm gonna be greedy here, I'm not satisfied. I think I can contribute more, but the problem is you can't achieve everything.

A: You mentioned that you're not satisfied with what you have achieved so far. In that case, what else do you want to achieve or see in the future?

L: I want to see, what I think I can contribute, is the improvement of the Fantasy Quest series. [Fantasy Quest] It's like the brainchild of Cosplay Network Philippines. I want to see it grow, I want to see it improve, I want to see it surpassing Cosplay Mania as the best event in the country.

I joked that I will not write about him saying that he wants to surpass Cosplay Mania, but he laughed and told me that it was all up to me. [Again, his opinions do not reflect my own.]

L: All I can say is that the best benchmark that I see in terms of an event I want to surpass is Cosplay Mania.

I said that Cosplay Mania is quite a benchmark, because it is one of the most awaited events of the year.

A: A lot of people were actually disappointed when CNPH announced that there would be no Fantasy Quest for 2014. A lot of people were anticipating the event. What kind of pressure does that put on you?

L: Good question. Pressure? There is none. Why? We are good at what we do. The past success of the last three events are a testament of what I and what we can do. People might think that I'm boasting, but we already did it three times.

A: What are the things to look forward to in the next Fantasy Quest? What can we expect from it, and what can we expect to see from you in the future?

L: First of all is making the team or making the organization at least be heard. That's what. Even if it's just to make a name or put ourselves on the map. Next, what to expect from Fantasy Quest 4? We'll bring together the East and the West, and all that we failed to bring in the past three events. There were a lot of ideas that didn't materialize. This will be off the record, but we're trying to push for a band. We're trying to push for the return of some special people, or some certain cosplayers and the debut of Western cosplayers here in the Philippines. That's all that I can say for now. The rest is a surprise.

We spent the rest of our time exchanging stories and other sentiments. Luke, or Kuya Luke as I call him, is off for greener pastures in California. I wish him the best in his future endeavors, and I hope that he hurries back soon because his dear friends (including me) will miss him dearly.

Thank you for reading. :)
*This is my first time to write about an interview, please be kind ;^; I will improve more in the future.
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