Geeking around Manila

Posted in 40k, anime, board game, gaming lifestyle, geek, miniatures, rpg, travel by Jerall on 15 April 2010

Before 2008, I never really considered putting the Philippines on my list of places I must visit. However, since then, I’ve worked on several global projects, which relied on Manila-based support, I’ve worked with my Philippine colleagues in Europe and in Africa, and, of course, I read the Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer blog.

So, I guess it isn’t too surprising that my job has finally sent me to Manila. However, this time, I had less than a week(Tuesday till Friday) and little time to myself to explore the city as I would’ve liked. That’s why, unlike my other travel posts, this one’s a little sparse (I didn’t even have time to take any pictures).

When I first arrived in the Philippines, I noticed that the retail industry, at least certain elements of it, seems to be more mature than South Africa’s (they have Burger King and Starbucks!). I really didn’t expect that, as most of the people that tried to coach me, on what to expect in the Philippines, painted a rather grim image. The retail side of gaming, especially, seems unbelievably strong (at least when compared to ZA). For example, Neutral Grounds (a FLGS chain/franchise) stores seem to be as common as McDonalds, Starbucks and Burger King (again, at least when compared to the FLGS desert of ZA). I only had chance to visit one mall, Robinsons Galleria Mall, but found a South African city’s worth of geeky goods.

Neutral Grounds Galleria (image jacked from their FB page)

The Neutral Grounds Galleria branch sells trading card games, war gaming goods, and a small selection or RPG (I was most surprised to see a 3.5 copy of the Magic of Incarnum (nearly bought it)) and board games.  The prices, after conversion, are slightly better than the prices in ZA. Unfortunately, I was led to believe that this is one of their small branches and they didn’t have the things I was really looking for in stock.

There’s also a really big Toys ‘r Us in Robinsons Galleria Mall. This branch really impressed me, since its collection of collectible figurines and action figures completely outdid any offerings I saw in ZA (plus, in ZA, only the rarest of speciality stores will even carry this sort of stuff). I ended up buying some One Piece figurines.

And finally, I also stumbled across a small comic book store, literally stuffed with comics, graphic novels, manga and even more collectible figurines. Unfortunately, the name of the store evades me at the time of writing this. Perhaps somebody can fill me in?

I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to explore the gaming scene further (like roll some dice with @philgamer, though we did meet (very briefly) – first other RPG Blogger that I’ve met in person). But, with the way my role at work seems to be changing, I might be visitng the Asia Pacific region again in the near future, hopefully bringing PB with me.

- Jerall

I still have to eat a balut.

8 Responses

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  1. pointyman2000 said, on 15 April 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Hey Jerall!

    It’s too bad that work took up so much of our time. We usually game on Saturdays, and if you had been able to stay longer, I’d have run a quick one-shot or something.

    That said, I’m glad that you managed to get something to your liking. Next time you get a chance to drop by the Philippines, I’ll make sure to bring you to Virra Mall. That place has dozens of collectible stores with Anime goods and PC stores, in addition to another Neutral Grounds branch and Fortress Hobbies, which features a few RPGs, Monsterpocalypse, Warmachine and Hordes.

    I’ll even buy you balut if you really want one. :p

  2. trashcondor said, on 15 April 2010 at 3:55 pm

    What is a balut? :)

    …and will you be bringing me lots of fantasy figs? :D Yes please please please? :D

  3. pointyman2000 said, on 15 April 2010 at 4:09 pm

    For the curious, this is Balut: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balut_%28egg%29

    Warning: not for those easily grossed out. :p

    • Armitag3 said, on 16 April 2010 at 9:00 am

      Mmmmm Yammy……O_o

  4. jatori said, on 15 April 2010 at 4:15 pm

    @TC: Sorry, no minis this time. :(

    @PM2K: And if you’re ever in Durban, I can take you to, um… not too sure actually. :P

  5. jatori said, on 16 April 2010 at 5:24 am

    A discussion with one of my colleagues in Manila revealed a rather interesting insight, one that I missed in the original post: You are more likely to find American products rather than European products in Philippine stores. After thinking about it, I realised that most of the board games at NG Galleria were American (lots of FFG, for example).

    So, I guess the best place to buy European games would still be Europe.

    • Kurrel said, on 16 April 2010 at 9:44 am

      Funny, that…

    • jatori said, on 17 April 2010 at 8:17 am

      Shopping in Europe for European games isn’t that easy, actually. ‘Cos they print all their stuff in Europanese. How thoughtless can they be? :P

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