After two wildly successful adventures in scenic Capones Island and Mount Samat this year, the Extreme Moments Out-of-Town Cosplay Project Series continues to take Philippine cosplay and photography to the next level, being the first cosplay group to be granted the privilege to shoot at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, an open-air museum and heritage park in Bagac, Bataan. Set in a rustic locale of restored historic mansions and surrounded by mountains, forests and the sea, Extreme Moments 3, with its 60 intrepid participants, provided all the elements for a cosplay experience like no other.
Desiring to provide a more fulfilling, more exciting, more satisfying experience for cosplayers and photographers than what they get from the usual conventions, Extreme Moments’ creator, organizer and visionary Jeff Ricalde of Jeric Photography has brought together some of the most talented individuals in the community to collaborate on this unique endeavor and sought out amazing new locations all over the Philippines to bring out the wonder and creativity among the participants. He describes Extreme Moments as “The Rockstar Group of the Philippine Cosplay Community,” always striving to innovate, to motivate and to inspire people with what a concerted effort can do.
Assisted by fellow organizers Donnie of Chiisu Studio, Eric DC of Eyestrain Photoworks, Luis Jeff Encontro of Jenco Photography, and Joseph Michael Abas of Project Paperbrew, XM3 was a project months in the making, with the details carefully ironed out to ensure everything would work well and every contingency set up. After more and more people have read about the articles and seen the shots from the previous installments, interest for Extreme Moments has been overwhelming, with XM3 getting to include 60 cosplayers, photographers and supporters to fill the roster.
The day came for the trip, and that very early morning one by one the participants trickled in at the meeting place in Makati. Most would admit to having to little to no sleep because of work or preparations, but all still excited to be there. A number who were there were already veterans from the previous two trips and there were new faces. There were awkward moments at first but eventually people got to make new friends as the day went on.
A stopover in Lubao was a welcome opportunity to stretch weary body parts. It was also a chance for those who missed breakfast to get some (overpriced) food, with an organizer in disbelief how much a small cup of lugaw can cost so much. Some took the opportunity to catch up on each others lives as they shared a meal.
Within a couple of hours the team arrived at their destination in Bagac. As they got out of the bus they were welcomed by the waters and sands of West Philippine Sea. After unloading all their belongings, they rode jeeps that took them to their preparation room and home base.
They finally arrived at their room and set out immediately to prepare so as to make the most of their time there. Cosplayers went to work on their costumes and makeup while photographers readied their gear, making sure they will be ready for the long shoot ahead.
Photographers also took the time to scout the location. Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is an amazing 400-hectare open-air museum and heritage park in Bagac, Bataan. It has in its premises more than 27 Spanish Colonial buildings and stone houses which collectively resemble a settlement from the Spanish era. It is said that these houses were carefully dismantled brick by brick from all over the Philippines and rehabilitated in the park. The park, surrounded by nature on all sides, by mountains, forests and the sea, was an idyllic setting for the group’s efforts.
As the cosplayers finished their preparations late in the morning, the shoot began in earnest and everyone tried their best to make their shots. Again, for the third straight XM, someone prayed too hard for good weather and it was warm and sunny most of the day. Too warm and sunny. The heat was unbearable, and the team chose instead to shoot in the shade or in the buildings. Time to shoot was also limited as there were lots of photographers and cosplayers to do rotations with, with assistants helping them out. Seeing them at work has never failed to amaze me, putting all that effort for the best possible shot despite the heat and the fatigue is nothing short of incredible.
Despite those, the team was still in good spirits and there was always time to have some fun and chat with each other and take photos with the other guests at the park.
Tired and exhausted from going to and from the many interesting locations all over the park 400-hectare park in the searing heat, the team the team hardly realized that hours had gone by and it was getting dark already. After the last desperate shots were taken, everyone went back to base for the trip home. Everyone was spent but all had a sense of accomplishment from taking part in this very rare event. Everyone then trooped back to the bus and bid farewell to splendid Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar . Extreme Moments Out-of-Town Cosplay Project Series Part 3 drew to a close, with Jeff was already hinting about XM 4 very soon, so do watch out for it.
The Extreme Moments 3 Cast:
Cosplayers: Abu Tendencia, Angel Sayoc, Anjelica Vanessa Nechi, Ann Salas, Asuka Akasaka, Erie Ly, Erika Akasaka, Ian Cartalaba, Jeyel Tecson, Kach Phrase, Kristian Vibal, Kyo-suke Fukuzumi, Lily Tiu Guo, Louise Betita
Marren Chayne Morales, Mika Mikachu, Misaki Yukino, Mitchelle Doblada, Nico Nico, Nicole Ubando, Ralph Quiambao, Reika Amakura, Shinobi Markee, Vanessa Anolin, Vaynard Darkhearth, Yuu Knives.
Photographers: Arjay Abad, Biin Sanchez, Bryan Vivo, Chops Bardos, Christian Mack, Christopher Mortell, Dale Perias, Donnie Medina, Ej Ayalde, Elijah Alcantara, Emman Chris Es, Eric DC, Erving Go, Imel Aimeru, Japs Antido, Je Morera, Jeff Ricalde, Jhe Olaño, Joseph Michael Abas, Kaylze Aishien, Aldrin Kencey Sj, Leo Tagulao, Luis Jeff Encontro, Mae Ngo, Mark Anthony Agbayani, Meji Clintz, Neko Shie, Romeo Encisa Jr., Ron Naldo, Ruichi Realista, Sol Occiano, Stephen Advincula.
I didn’t have much time to do my own shoots though, so I apologize to the cosplayers I didn’t get to have shots of. We’ll be doing a follow-up article featuring the work of the photographers from XM3 coming very soon, so please stay tuned for that.
We also wish to share this great video by EJ Ayalde of Ayaldev. Do visit ayaldev.com for more of his work.
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