The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons with autism spectrum disorder. The ASP has been in the forefront of providing services and training to families living with autism.

07 February 2014

An Inclusive Cosplay Community for Autism

by Gerard Joseph Atienza, autistic self-advocate and ASP Bacoor Chapter Secretary

The Autism Society Philippines Bacoor Chapter had the honor of hosting the Closing Ceremonies of the 18th National Autism Consciousness Week with CAUSEPLAY, a cosplay event organized by, for, and with people on the autism spectrum on 25 January 2014 at SM City Bacoor.

An event where enthusiasts gather for a competition and dress as their characters of choice, CAUSEPLAY aimed to reach out and promote autism awareness to a trifecta of communities, namely: the cosplay community (mainly composed of youth enthusiasts), families living with autism, and potential autistic self-advocates.

The Event Center of SM City Bacoor was jam packed as cosplayers from across all abilities converged to display their craft in a cosplay competition. CAUSEPLAY opened with a solemn invocation dance from the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry of Persons with Disabilities. Ushering in the happy atmosphere was a modern Japanese dance performance, featuring our partners from the Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyukai (Genshiken) student organization from De La Salle University – Dasmariñas.

The hosts, Kinstuart Ababa and John Paul Luaña, who were both students and volunteers, were highly enthusiastic as they brought fun and humor to the audience throughout the show. Other performances included an Angels Walk encore performance by Buboy Dolor and his classmates from Hopewell Integrated School, as well as song performances by Marie Bien Togonon, Jose Rafael Marquez, and fellow self-advocate Carl Veluz.


The NACW closed with Ms. Carmen Zubiaga, Executive Director of the National Council on Disability Affairs, recognizing the members of the 18th NACW Working Committee for their participation in planning and implementing the activities during the week.

But the highlight of CAUSEPLAY was, of course, the cosplay competition. The contestants, some of them with autism, graced the stage as they feature their costumes and performed their skits – much to the amazement of our panel of judges, who consisted of seasoned cosplayers Riyo Enriquez and Nagi Aborde, and our very own Chair Emeritus Dang Koe.

Three contestants emerged as winners: Alexia Sheridan (playing as Yuna from Final Fantasy X) won as Best Female Cosplayer; Christian Umali (War Machine from Iron Man) won as Best Male Cosplayer; and Gabriel Cruz (Chewbacca from Star Wars) emerged as People’s Choice.
  

The CAUSEPLAY organizing committees would like to thank the following for their unwavering support throughout the event: our partners, Genshiken and Naruto Cosplayers Philippines; our sponsors, Hon. Irwin Tieng of BUHAY Party List and Lea de Castro Music Studio; NCDA; the 18th NACW Working Committee; our host venue and long-standing partner in the Bacoor area, SM City Bacoor; and to the thousands who gathered on that day and helped promote an inclusive and friendly cosplay community for persons with autism and other disabilities.

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