by Kathy Cunanan and Inez Vasquez
It began over their usual early morning coffee in 2012. Engineer Randy Protacio and Project Manager Stanley Lao, friends who have been playing with LEGO since childhood, realized that there was no accredited LEGO hobby group in the Philippines under the LUG (LEGO User Group) program of the LEGO Group in Denmark.
"Back then, there were a only few "brick toy" groups and none that focused on LEGO. We felt there was a need to have one." With no time to waste, on December 12 that same year, Randy and Stan created the Philippine LEGO Users Group or PhLUG.
The group's first ever breakfast members meet-up of twenty at a donut cafe in Bonifacio High Street, was a surprising success. And from that small gathering, PhLUG now has more than six thousand members, mostly Filipinos, from all around the world. Since early coffee and breakfast donuts proved "lucky" for the toy group, PhLUG has been regularly organizing monthly meet-ups called “Brickfast” on Saturday mornings.
In 2015, Randy and Stan felt that the PhLUG community was big enough to mount a public display. On April 18, 2015, together with Resorts World Manila and many generous sponsors, PhLUG hosted the country's first and only LEGO convention called "ABRICKADABRA".
The convention (or a "brickcon" in the LEGO community) is a venue for LEGO-loving individuals to share anything and everything about the toy. As such, ABRICKADABRA features dioramas built by PhLUG's varying sub-interest groups: Force Legion (Star Wars), Kingdoms (medieval), Sci-Fi (space, mechs), Technicle (bionicle), Urban (cityscapes), Versus (superheroes), Vehicles (transportation).
Throughout the event, there are games, building contests, short instructional talks, trading, and a lot more. Held in the summer, this one-day event offers a fun and engaging alternative not only for children but for their parents as well.
Time spent with LEGO does not only mean a gaggle of bricks that you can mix and match to create different things. It also means time spent with family and friends, as you share your passion and creativity. Where else can you and your family escape to this imagined world where mechs and pirates can coexist alongside superheroes and princesses?
PhLUG's ABRICKADABRA will be on May 27, 2017 at the Promenade Hall, Greenhills Shopping Center from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.