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Manila Makes History: The First History Con Manila

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Last week, Manila indeed made history with the first ever History Con Manila 2016! This is the largest history convention of its kind. The event combined entertainment, sports and history. Thousands of fans of History Channel arrived at this four-day event (25-28 August 2016) to meet, greet and pose for a selfie with their favourite TV celebrity from History Channel. It was also an event that paid tribute to Philippine history since August is History Month. There were exhibits of rare World War II photos, actual memorabilia and weaponry from war and actors dressed in accurate uniforms and gear of WWII soldiers. Here’s a coverage report from Expatch.


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Groupie shot with the big crowd – (front) Simon Yin of “Hidden Cities Extreme” host for History Channel along with other stars (Photo courtesy of Jacque Ruby)


TV Celebrities Experienced Fun Philippines


TV celebrities from History Channel had a dose of warm and high-energy welcome from thousands of Filipino fans who lined up for hours just to get up-close for an autograph and picture taking. One of the most popular was Giorgio Tsoukalos of “Ancient Aliens”. Other celebrities present were Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz of “Storage Wars”, Ian Matthews and Damon Runyan of “Gangland Undercover”, and Justin Mott of “Photo Face Off”. Local celebrities present were model/VJ Joey Mead King, KC Montero, Marc Nelson and Filipina Formula Three champion Gabby Dela Merced.



Giorgio Tsoukalos of “Ancient Aliens” and local star, KC Montero (Photo courtesy of Jacque Ruby)


There’s Something For Everyone


Other than books, films, meet and greet sessions and stage events, the History Con Manila 2016 also had a room full of fun activities for all. In basketball, can you score 80+ points in 60 seconds? If you can then you could be a champion at the Black Mamba basketball challenge! This was just one of the many fun activities during the four-day event. There were a lot of interactive fun and games on and off stage, like one hosted by lovely models from Bumper To Bumper car show. Are you a modern-day warrior? There were tests of athletic skills like wall climbing activities, archery (by Archery Attack) and martial arts demos (boxing, blade demos and wrestling). There were lots of attractive displays of guns, swords, model airplanes (by Philippine Air Force), tanks, military vehicles, and military uniforms through the years. The history exhibit also presented priceless vintage items like old beverage bottles from the ‘60s and ‘70s, rare vinyl records, magazines, iconic commercial posters and more!


Cars and motorcycles are also essential in any history convention. There was a display of vintage cars owned by former Philippines presidents which are normally on display only in museums. Well, for this event, these presidential limos were parked at the venue (World Trade Center Manila). Restored vintage cars and motorcycles, modern luxury cars and rally bikes were also scene-stealers. There were other fun activities like the virtual reality (or VR) experience with Oculus Rift, a cosplay competition, history quiz bee and the “Longest TV-Watching Marathon!”.


A tour around History Con Manila by Bani Logroño, filmmaker and director of “Unsurrendered 2”

Historical Education Goes Further


Historical education is essential for the values formation of the young generation. Outside the classroom,  it is more effective to teach history through inspiring lectures, films, books and one-on-one interaction with historians, war veterans and their families.


“War Of Our Fathers Traveling Exhibit” by Philippine Veterans Bank tells the story of World War II in the Pacific through a display of many rare photos of war. The exhibit was like a labyrinth full of memories and photos that takes one back in time, to help us understand the lessons of war, and to know the heroes who fought for this country’s liberation.



“War Of Our Fathers Travelling Exhibit” by Philippine Veterans Bank


To bring the history roadshow to the youth, there were lectures about Philippine WWII history by two great history professors; namely, Dr. Ricardo Jose and Professor Bernard Karganilla. Also present during the lecture was the writer of the new history book, “Mindoro, The Stepping Stone”, Rodolfo Acebes. He is a paraplegic writer who, despite his condition was able to create a book that provided an accurate account on Mindoro’s role as the key to the liberation of the Philippines and MacArthur’s “stepping stone” to Tokyo. Students from University of the Philippines Manila were present during the lectures and had an open-forum with Rod Acebes. It was a great opportunity for them to learn more about history and Mindoro.



Spyron-AV Manila’s exhibit of WWII documentary films and books, with film screening and open forum | Bani Logroño (Film Director), Mai Guillermo (Film Producer), Lucky Guillermo (Managing Director of Spyron-AV Manila) | Neneng De Ocampo, David Ingles, and Rhett Daza (Sons and Daughters of The Hunters Inc.) |  Writers: Marcelle Villegas (Expatch) and Angelica Yang (Phil. Daily Inquirer)


Spyron-AV Manila is a film company that promotes historical education. On Day 1, they organised the free film showing of the award-winning film “Unsurrendered 2: The Hunters ROTC Guerrillas”. The movie tells the story of undergrad ROTC cadets who were sent home because they were too young to join the war as per Philippine law. Therefore, they formed their own guerrilla unit and operated in secrecy to defy the Japanese forces. The Hunters are known as one of the first and most efficient guerrilla units in the Philippines during WWII with various rescue operations of POWs. The film won four international awards from Indonesia, USA, Canada and New Zealand.


On Day 2 of the event, Spyron-AV Manila had a film screening of “Manila 1945: The Rest of the Story”, which is about the Battle of Manila, the final and major battle of the Philippine Campaign (3 Feb. 1945 – 3 March 1945). This battle is the worst urban fighting in the history of the war in the Pacific. In the film, the survivors relayed their story of fear, suffering, hope and victory.


A fun quiz game after the film screening took place, sponsored by Spyron-AV Manila. Managing Director, Lucky Guillermo treated the audience with prizes like their DVDs and coffee table books.


On Day 3, the cast of the local film “General Luna” were also present. Hundreds of fans lined up for hours just to meet them up-close and personal.


Overall, for an event of this magnitude that made its huge debut in the Philippines, we could say the event is indeed record-breaking. Here’s what the stars of History Channel has to say about the Philippines. They sure had fun here! #HistoryConManila (Video credits: Manila Bulletin)





1. Models from Bumper to Bumper Car Show
2.-4. Modern and vintage cars and motorcycles
5.-6. Presidential limousine of former presidents Emilio Aguinaldo and Jose P. Laurel
7.-8. History lectures by Dr. Ricardo Jose and Prof. Bernard Karganilla, University of the Philippines
9. Louise Linh Dalangin, Festival Officer of Australian Embassy in the Philippines
10. Paraplegic writer of the history book “Mindoro: The Stepping Stone”, Rodolfo Acebes with Expatch writer Marcelle Villegas
11. Neneng De Ocampo (daughter of war veteran Col. Emmanuel De Ocampo, Hunters ROTC Guerrillas) and Ms. Cynthia C. Lazo, Director, Market Development Group, Department of Tourism, Philippines
12. Embassy of Israel in the Philippines exhibit
13.-15 Yakult mascots (one of the sponsors of History Con), the stage at the activity center and display by Phil. Air Force



Author: Marcelle Villegas
Photo source:
Top photos – courtesy of Ms. Jacque Ruby
All other photos – courtesy of the author for Expatch


Video Reference:
Bani Logroño – https:/ /
Manila Bulletin – https:/ /


☆ Lucky Guillermo of Spyron-AV Manila for providing Expatch a 4-day pass
☆ Jacque Ruby for the amazing photos from the stage






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