Having been dominated by cosplayers, anime fans, and anime game enthusiasts, the three-day Ikigai Central Festival (IkiFest) 2023 finally ended with a blast at the Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) Gymnasium on February 19, 2023.

Rooted from the Japanese word “Ikigai” which means “passion” or the “reason for being”, the festival was man-powered by the Synergy of Anime and Gaming Enthusiasts (SAGES) UNITE in partnership with the Institute’s Kataastaasang Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral (KASAMA) to urge people from all walks of life in appreciating cultural diversity and artistic expressionism through their artworks, handicrafts, music, and cosplay.

The said festival commenced on February 17 with the showcasing of Korean Pop culture as the Gymnasium got hyped by the K-Pop random play dance, K-Pop karaoke, dance battle, and Korean-themed cosplay.

In an interview, Ms. Janica Marie Morales, one of the chairpersons of SAGES UNITE, expressed how she got overwhelmed with how fast and fun the event had become, stating that it took them five months to prepare the said festival as she also hoped for the revival of the anime community in Iligan City in the future.

“We created unity amidst diversity. The fact that this is a cultural festival means that we allow everyone to express their beliefs because this is Ikigai—’Iki’ means living and ‘gai’ means purpose, so what is your purpose in living? You can express that here even if it’s just only three days of your life,” she stressed.

Moreover, the IkiFest was flooded with visitors on its second day as the people flocked for the karaoke sing-off and Japanese song appreciation, featuring a band performance of various Anime original soundtracks (OST).

Reverie, one of the cosplayers who cosplayed Xiao from the online game—Genshin Impact, shared her fun experience in the IkiFest while encouraging her fellow cosplayers to be perfectly confident in expressing themselves.

“You can be you in this event without anyone judging you. If I am in my cosplay, I can really express my ideals and feelings… Just enjoy and take your time. It doesn’t mean that you need to be popular or perfect to cosplay. You just need to enjoy the process,” she noted.
Meanwhile, the Ikigai Central Festival 2023 concluded with the spectacular display of cosplay Pop culture and the cosplay competition on Sunday afternoon.

Report by Roscel Kent Vios
Proofread by Lady Jay Diane Mino and Juvanie Ambayic
Photos by Kenn Christian Bernal and Francis Balsomo

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