AcadArena’s popular CONQuest Festival 2023, the summer gaming and pop-culture getaway, is just around the corner. The three-day convention will finally be taking place on June 2-4, 2023 (Friday-Sunday) at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay, Philippines. This year, the event is gearing up to be bigger and bolder than last time with a roster featuring over 70 local and international guests all celebrating gaming, tech, music, pop culture, and everything in between. It’s definitely a special weekend in Manila that you don’t want to miss!
Headlining the CONQuest 2023 international guest list are Valkyrae, Pokimane, Sykkuno, South Korean rock indie band The Rose, and Filipino singer-actor James Reid. Other notable internet personalities include Fuslie, Michael Reeves, and LilyPichu, and anime content creators JoeyTheAnimeMan and AkiDearest. In addition, a number of warmly-received guests from last year’s CONQuest are also set to return, including Genshin Impact voice actresses Anne Yatco and Ratana, Vtuber Bao, and content creators Atsu and BTMC.
Other activities are the anticipated Season 3 Alliance Games Finals, the rare Celebrity Showmatch, the open-themed Cosplay Competitions, the throwback Retro Arcade, the FREE Guest and Community Panels, Add-on Meet and Greets, the QuestMarket for your shopping needs, the Art Gallery, the Indiezone and Streamzone for games and live streams, the beloved Tabletop and TCG, the (instant favorite) Food Festival, and lastly, the exciting Music Rave and Band Night.
Before we dive into the more detailed guide of the CONQuest 2023 activities I just mentioned above, let me formally introduce to you the creator of the award-winning CONQuest Festival, AcadArena. AcadArena is a company dedicated to its mission of “building communities and creating everyday heroes through the power of technology, gaming, and storytelling. On top of running CONQuest, one of the largest pop culture conventions in Southeast Asia, AcadArena has supported over 250 student clubs and 1,100 scholars all over the Philippines and Brazil and brought the first academic esports laboratory to life.”
If you didn’t know, the CONQuest Festival traces its roots back to Iloilo City, where it started in 2017 as a high school project. “We always joked about eventually growing CONQuest in Iloilo to the point we’d get to Manila and have international guests,” said CONQuest founder and AcadArena Chief Growth Officer Justin Banusing. “We even had OfflineTV as an April Fools’ joke. But thanks to the community’s undying passion, our dreams are coming true.” These are the creators who have carefully prepared for the festival and are just as excited to share the Sky Island experience with you.
And so without further ado, here is a guide on everything to look forward to at CONQuest Festival 2023:
- In case you haven’t heard, CONQuest 2023 has leveled up its game to a total of five locations! Other than the SMX Convention Center, the event now expands to Conrad Manila, Seashell Lane, Mall of Asia (MoA), and the National University MoA. Yup — that’s a lot of space, but it’s only fitting because the long weekend convention is set to feature and host plenty of exciting activities in each venue. It’s a long walk so stay comfortable and safe, folks!
- The official hours of the day events are from 10 AM – 6 PM. No Entry/Re-entry into the venue after closing time. Everyone, including vendors and non-music night attendees must vacate by 7:30 PM (6:00 PM on June 4) to make time for packing up. Meanwhile, night events are 7:45 PM onwards.
- The official address is Seashell Lane, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City 1300, Philippines.
- As of writing, the CONQuest Festival 2023 floor plan/guide has not yet been released
Guest Lineups and Spotlight Stage Activities
- June 2 (Friday): Valkyrae, Michael Reeves, AntonyChenn, Fuslie.
- The Scamily Genshin Boss Rush, 2023 VCT Challengers PH, Cosplay Clash Day 1 Akidearest and The Anime Man Stage Segment, Music Rave Night
- June 3 (Saturday): Newt, Sykkuno, Shoto, The Rose
- VALORANT Celebrity Showmatch, ECHO PH Showmatch, Cosplay Clash Day 2, Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Challengers PH, Music Band Night
- June 4 (Sunday): Pokimane, Khoi Dao, Dish, The Anime Man, and more
- Alliance Games Finals, The Rose Q&A Panel, OTV & Friends Live, 2023 VCT Challengers PH Finals
- Update as of May 5: Kyedae will be taking a step back to this year’s CONQuest so she can take care of her health and recovery. In a Facebook post, she shared that “I had a blast last year, and was looking forward to meeting all of you again! But don’t worry, I know Conquest will be an amazing event, and I look forward to coming back in the future healthier and stronger than ever! Thank you for understanding and Mahal ko kayong lahat.” In response to the overwhelming warm support from fans, CONQuest organized a letter collection campaign called “Letters for Kyedae.”
CONQuest 2023 Guest Booths
- Visit your favorite voice actors, cosplayers, and streamers at CONQuest Festival 2023. The guest booth is free on all 3 days of the event. You can buy merchandise, request signatures, have photos, and more.
- Voice Actors: Adam McArthur, Anne Yatco, Corry Yee, Khoi Dao, Laura Stahl, Ratana, Sean Chiplock, Vanille Velasquez
- Cosplayers: Ashe Dream, Byoru, Charess, Dora Snow, Een Mercado, Hakao, Hikarin, Josette Swan, Kang Dupet, Kitz Cua, Kiyocosplay, Neokomaru, Ristelle, Rurusama, Yosuke
- Creators: BTMC, Bao, Aeonix, Hunghang Flashbacks, Libreng Komiks, Little Things PH, Sskait
- Gank, Boozt, and Riot will also feature content creators in their respective booths
Alliance Games Tournaments
- Watch talented teams and players in this epic gaming tournament in Valorant, CODM, MLBB, and League of Legends. In case you didn’t know, Alliance Games is a campus esports project by Acadarena with a mission of turning student gamers into clubs, varsities, and Philippine champions! It’s more than just “gaming.”
- June 2 (Friday): Quarterfinals (SMX Esports stage, PC Arena, and NU MOA Mobile Arena)
- June 3 (Saturday): Semifinals (SMX Esports stage, PC Arena, and NU MOA Mobile Arena)
- June 4 (Sunday): Finals and Awarding Ceremony (SMX Creator and Esports Stage)
- This is not a drill — the Celebrity Showmatch is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch local and international gamers compete for victory!
- June 3 (Saturday): Valorant Showmatch with Sykkuno, spicyuuu, JaeHyeong of The Rose, Xavi8K and KrisRey VS Newt, Razzie Binx, Een, JoshSeki and Demenishki. ECHO PH Showmatch
- June 2 (Friday) and 3 (Saturday) will have an open-themed cosplay competition
- Other awards to be given off stage include Best HoYoverse Cosplay, Best Riot Cosplay (To be awarded in Riot Games Booth), Best Quintella Cosplay, Best Prop, Best Low Costplay, Best Casual Cosplay
- Read the CONQuest Festival 2023 Cosplay Showdown guide for more information. The deadline for registration is on May 30, 12:00 PM
MeetZones and Meet & Greets
- MeetZone: A FREE opportunity to meet and interact with your favorite creators. These are usually 1:1 photo ops with 15 seconds per person. Meanwhile, Voice Actor MeetZones will be group photo-ops.
- 3 Ways to Join: 1) Apply for a Reserved Slot in the Lucky Draw, 2) First come, first served Stub Claim on the event day, 3) Get a Premium Pass
- This year at CONQuest Festival 2023, the meets are free but the slots are limited. Read the Meetzone Guidelines for more information on the Reserved Slot Mechanics (Submit by May 22 for the May 22 and 29 drawings) and the Stub Claiming on the day. Friendly reminder to follow Meetzone House Rules!
- Meanwhile, Meet and Greets are PAID add-on experiences with specific CONQuest guests. Each M&G will vary depending on the guest’s standard format at other cons so everyone can have a comfortable experience.
- Scamily M&G on June 3 (Saturday): Meet Dish, AntonyChenn, Atsu, Bao the Whale, BTMC, Tuonto, and Tsikyo. You’re allowed to have a group photo and a 1:1 photo with one favorite member as long as it’s within the 90-second interaction time.
- The Rose M&G on June 3 (Saturday): Have a group photo-op session with all the performing members of The Rose right after Music Night. The price of The Rose M&G is reduced from PHP1500 to PHP750.
- Shoto M&G June 3 (Saturday): Interact with Shoto’s VTuber model on a live video call set-up. (You’re allowed to record and take selfies with Shoto as long as it’s within the 100-second allotted interaction time!) Shoto’s M&G is priced at PHP 3,000.
- Update: Scamily M&G and The Rose M&Gs are now a Premium Pass bonus!
- For both MeetZone and the Meet & Greets, photos will be exclusively taken by an official CONQuest photographer to ensure timeliness. Attendees are allowed to have personal photography only “during the queuing process” but will be later asked to keep their devices after reaching a certain point in the queue.
- What’s a festival without some music? CONQuest 2023 is adding some spice by featuring Music Night, a back-to-back standing music festival featuring local and international artists.
- Recording Policies: Cameras are allowed, as long as they do not exceed the average medium-sized camera and there is no flash photography. Recording is also free as long you don’t block the experience of other music night attendees. Read more guidelines on the official FAQs.
- June 2 (Friday): FREE Rave Music Night with James Landino and Hyper Potions. It will be from 7:45 PM onward at SMX Hall 4.
- June 3 (Saturday): Paid Add-On Band Music Night with The Rose from Korea, James Reid, Oh Flamingo, Timmy Albert, Lesha, Autotelic, and Carousel Casualties. The event will be from 8:00 PM onwards, with sound check beginning at 6:00 PM.
- Update as of May 24: With Globe Telecom’s Sponsorship, the music night add-on is reduced from PHP 5,000 to PHP 2,500. Complimentary Music Night passes and refunds are available for those who purchased before the price cut.
- Another FREE activity at CONQuest 2023 is the panel of our special guests! A place of discussion of interests and other things. This year, the venues of the panels will be the Conrad Hotel and the MOA Atrium. Don’t forget to check the full schedule, FAQS, and house rules on the website.
- June 2 (Friday): Anne Yatco, Ratana, and Cory Yee Panel, Khoi Dao and Laura Stahl Panel, JoshSeki, Spicyuuu, Maggie, Kuri, and Amara Panel, Hakao, KitzCua, Kang Dupet Panel, Charess, Rurusama, DoraSnow, and Hikarin Panel
- June 3 (Saturday): Newt and AriaSaki Panel, Hyper Potions, James Landino, and Jom Ouano Panel, Sean Chiplock, Vanille Velasquez, and Adam McArthur Panel, Neokomaru, Yosuke, and Kiyo Panel, Artists Libreng Komiks, Hunghang, Aeonix, LTPH, Sskait Panel
- June 4 (Sunday): Seapeekay, BTMC, Cory Yee, and Sophy Panel, Voice Actors Panel with Laura, Vanille, Ratana, Anne, and Adam, The Roomies Panel, Scamily Panel, Voice Actors Panel with Khoi Dao and Sean Chiplock, Cosplay Panel with Le Josette, Ristelle, and Ashe Dream
- In addition to the guest panel, there is the community panel — an opportunity to see your favorites and, at the same time, learn a new skill in the realm of arts and esports.
- June 2 (Friday): You Can Make a Comic Too, Designing Toys of Art, Degenshin Panel: From Late Night Gamers to Content Creators
- June 3 (Saturday): Philippine Monsters: From past tales to pop culture. The Art of Building Mechanical Keyboards, Breaking Barriers, Achieving Gaming Inclusivity for People with Disabilities, Intro to Dungeons & Dragons
- June 4 (Sunday): Cosplay Prop Making: Modern Day Blacksmiths, Songwriting for the Heart and Soul, Fishing 101: The Best IRL Adventure Game, AcadArena
QuestMarket, IndieZone, and Expo Floor
- More convention experiences await you at the QuestMarket! In addition to the sponsor and international guest booths, the convention also provides a market for local vendors, artists, and other creators.
- Indiezone will be particularly dedicated to showcasing a ton of indie game titles and studios. You can play demos, watch live gameplay, and chat with developers about their games. Visit Indie Games Group Philippines and the official lineup to learn more about it.
- Expo Floor (Tech & Game Devs) is another area showcasing all the latest in gaming and tech.
- As of writing, the official compilation of the lineup of vendors and exhibitors has not yet been released. You can, however, search them on your own by following the official CONQuest 2023 hashtags.
Tabletop & TCG
- At CONQuest, it’s not all about video games — there’s the classic tabletop and TCG covered as well. Look forward to a free play of multiple different board games by BAECON, Sky Islands Themed D&D Oneshots by GreasySnitches, and the D&D Epic Event. Don’t worry, there will be newbie-friendly games!
Freeplay & Retro Arcade
- If you missed it last year (or were too shy to try it like me), you can visit this corner again because CONQuest 2023 is bringing back the ultimate throwback to all the nostalgic gamers out there.
- The Retro Arcade will be featuring classic and favorite games from various decades of gaming. Look forward to free playing retro games, Arcade style controllers, Light Gun games for the 90s-00s throwback, and lastly, your favorite rhythm games: Dance Dance Revolution and Project Diva. Take a sneak peek at Tito Steef‘s Facebook page to see what they’re bringing.
Art Gallery & Streamzone
- The Art Gallery is an exhibit of various artists from all over the field. It will also feature some of the lucky winners from the recent meme, art, and pet cosplay contests.
- Streamzone is an area at the convention where you can watch some live streams from your favorite streamers
- CONQuest 2023 is having a feast — Sky Islands style! The entire road adjacent to the SMX Convention Center, Seashell Lane, will be closed to make way for a variety of great food and drinks. Stay healthy and hydrated, everyone!
- The Food Festival will be open until 9:00 PM
Grab Your CONQUEST 2023 Tickets!
- Tickets can be purchased online on CONQuest’s official website. (No onsite selling.) The ticket prices are:
- 1-Day Pass: PHP800
- 3-Day Pass: PHP2,000
- Premium Pass: PHP20,000
- Add-ons include:
- Day 2 Music Night: PHP2500
- Shoto’s M&G: PHP3,000
- Scamily M&G: PHP5,000
- The Rose M&G: PHP750.
- Weekend and Premium Pass holders have freebies! Lootbags (while supplies last) and Premium Pass Merch Package will be at SMX 2nd Floor from June 2-4.
- Queuing System: The on-the-day claiming of wristbands will be held at different venues — namely Microtel MOA and the Mall of Asia Atrium. Meanwhile, attendees also have the option to pre-claim wristbands ahead of time if they want to. QR tickets will be exchanged into their respective wristbands and stubs (wristbands for each day, stubs for Meetzone and M&G) will be available from May 31, 2023 – Jun 1, 2023, from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the SMX Convention Center 1st floor lobby. This means that after you get your wristbands, you can easily enter/re-enter the CONQuest Festival event venues following a security check (on a capacity basis.) No Wristband, No Entry.
- Ticket selling will officially end on May 31, 2023, at 9:00 PM.
More Things To Check About CONQUEST 2023:
- City-Wide Perks and Discounts valid throughout the convention week
- Partnered Hotels with discounted rates for the convention week
- CONQuest Event Partners, including Globe, Riot Games, and Predator Gaming
- Get a chance to win FREE tickets by joining the contests, or follow the official hashtags to see personal content creator discount codes and ticket giveaways
- In regards to esports, check out scholarships such as Valkyrae’s Homecoming Scholarship (Up to PHP 180,000), Fuslie’s Scholarship For Women In Gaming (PHP 135,000), and Globe X Conquest Scholarship (Up to PHP 100,000)
- A live stream of the main stage will be available on the AcadArena Twitch and on CONQuest Facebook pages. That’s good news for the people at home! (AKA Team Labas & Team Bahay.)
- Advocacy and Charity Areas, Resting Areas, Photo Op Areas, and more will be at different event venues. As of writing, the CONQuest Festival 2023 floor guides has not yet been released.
- Safety Precautions: In general, facemasks are encouraged at the event. Stay Safe!
- Official Hashtags: #CONQuest2023! #SeeYouInTheSkies
And that’s the end of our CONQuest Festival 2023 guide. I understand how easy it is to feel both excited and overwhelmed by such a jam-packed event, so make sure to prepare beforehand by taking note of this guide and the official CONQuest Festival 2023 FAQs. These are here to ensure your best experience, as well as for the orderliness of the event. Follow the official CONQuest Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and website to stay updated.
See you in the skies!
Source: Press Release, Official CONQuest Website, Facebook, Twitter
© 2023 AcadArena
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