Chowking Celebrates Geek Culture

When Chowking wanted to celebrate its 25th anniversary last week, the Chinese fastfood chain decided to try something a little different. Sure, they could have gone with a stuffy old coporate suit party or an unremarkable generic street party. They could have just invited a whole bunch of silver-screen celebrities and TV news networks. Having just completed a $5 million modernization program, this four-hundred-branch international fastfood chain could certainly afford all the accoutrements of old reliable mass media. Instead, Chowking chose to do something a little more… geeky.

Niche media and geek culture are currently ascendant in Chowking’s home country of the Philippines, so Chowking decided to contact one of the most influential geeks in the Philippines: cosplayer and blogger Alodia Gosiengfiao. The result was a night of pure awesomeness.

Alodia promptly assembled some of the country’s biggest digital media geeks — bloggers, cosplayers, photographers — for a night of partying with Chowking. From Yahoo Philippines Social Media Editor Joey Alarilla to Philippine Blog Awards President Juned Sonido, the guests included some of the Philippines’ top digerati. Popular Filipino actor Jericho Rosales hosted the festivities, and gamely danced with the cosplayers.

Apparently, Tony Stark isn’t the only armored superhero who rubs shoulders with celebrities. That night, Jericho Rosales danced with War Machine. It doesn’t get much more awesome than that, folks.

Jericho Rosales

As Jericho held one of the cosplayers’ swords, he recalled his movie role as the sword-wielding Filipino hero Panday — eliciting a roar of cheers from the crowd. Once properly introduced, actors are fascinated with cosplayers due to the similarities between their arts. Through cosplay, stars and geeks can mix.

Alodia Gosiengfiao

Draped in red-and-black Asian regalia, Alodia held court with all the elegance and finesse of a Chinese empress. It was quite a sight to behold: this blogging, cosplaying, video-gaming, toy-collecting geek girl regally commanding the attention of celebrities, journalists, and all sorts of other influencers.

If anyone still doubts the rise of the geek culture in the Philippines, if anyone still denies the revenge of the nerds in the Pearl of the Orient, then the success of this party should put all such doubts to rest. Check out my party pictures on Facebook to get a feel for the kooky fun.

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One Comment on “Chowking Celebrates Geek Culture”
  1. Mike Abundo says:

    Filipina celebrity singers Nikki Gil, Toni Gonzaga, and Karylle Tatlonghari aren’t exactly known as cosplay geeks. That’s why I was surprised to see them perform in costume on ASAP XV, the noontime variety show of Philippine TV network ABS-CBN. Nikki dressed up as Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Toni dressed up as Cinderella, and Karylle dressed up as a ballerina.

    Multiple Parallels

    The parallels between that performance and the Chowking party aren’t limited to cosplay. The trio performed Tik Tok by Ke$ha, the same song cosplayers danced to at the Chowking party.

    Actors Sam Milby and Piolo Pascual also got in on the costumed fun. Sam dressed up in partial Iron Man armor, while Piolo wore Buzz Lightyear’s spacesuit. Singer Gary Valenciano topped it off in a partial Optimus Prime costume. Fortunately for Gary, he cosplayed the classic animated series version of Prime, not the hideous Bayformers version.

    Cultural Divides and Memetic Contagion

    Actor Jericho Rosales, who hosted the Chowking party, works for ABS-CBN. Perhaps he brought the cosplay meme back to his workplace.

    To casual observers, the divide between the mainstream culture of noontime shows and the geek culture of cosplay events may seem hopelessly uncrossable. Both cultures share one key commonality, however: they’re both fueled by a passion for performance arts. Perhaps that passion can unite the geeks and the stars.

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