I’m always a latebloomer on a lot of things, ironically I was one of those teenagers who had their first taste of a nightclub at 14 years old – but there are things that I have never experienced until I reached my 30s.

Like example, I was already 30 years old when I first rode a plane to Boracay which was also the first time I visited the island. I was already 32 when I first went to Puerto Galera. I spent a significant time of my college life on school related stuff and after graduation, spent a significant portion of it establishing my career. While I may have an active nightlife, I’m very much green on a lot of stuff.

This past Komikon Grande 2018 last November 17-18, 2018 was my first. I don’t know how to make of it, I felt awkward at first but I remember back in the early 2000s I was representing my company for several conventions at malls and event places, so this should be something familiar to me.

I got to see several of my favorite local comic artists that have established themselves already. Guys like Pol Medina Jr. of Pugad Baboy and Lyndon Gregorio of Beerkada were the reasons why I always keep the entertainment section of the newspaper while the rest gets recycled. Then I got to see Gerry Alanguilan – whose naughty, maniac smile became a popular meme on social media, but is infact, one of the most popular and respected comic book artists in the Philippines today.

On every table, I got pitches by the artist/writer regarding their title. The event venue was rather noisy so I have a bit of a problem listening but I was able to know a lot from these comics. Eventually, I ended up buying many of these books and having them signed as well.

I also met the guys behind Kubori Kikiam and Pasig, who once graced the pages of Culture Crash – a comics magazine that circulated in the early 2000s; as well as Hulyen of UGH – a comic about an awkward girl growing up.

By the end of day 2, I realized I spent almost PhP 4,000 on these comics alone, it’s not even that much considering what others have hauled during the event. I’ve seen some posts where the comics they bought just covered an entire bed – a queen sized one also. Now I know that this industry is very much alive and people will spend that much to support our local artists.

This felt like a homecoming of sorts, there was an initial culture shock for the first 15 minutes but it easily sinked in. After spending 15+ years in the nightlife and events entertainment industry, I have found my way home.