The stage was set at SMX Convention Center Manila last August 14, 2022, for the cycle 1 Philippine Open. Just like many, it’s been a while since the country hosted an event as big as this.

13 Judges answered the call and were part of so far the biggest event in the country since the pandemic. We were able to interview one of the four new judges.

Allow me to introduce you folks to currently the youngest member of the PH Judge community, he is 18 years old.

Name: Joshua Isaac Español
Local Game Store: Tapped Games / Contemporary Nook
L1 Certification Date: May 2021

Joshua takes a selfie before things get really busy.

What motivates you as a certified judge?
The things that motivate me as a certified judge are simple, one is the players smiles of gratitude after recieving assistance, or after a judge call. Another thing that motivates me are young players I see on competitive tournaments, not only do i see myself in them, but I also see their passion for the game, knowing that they have practiced again and again for that certain event, and getting to play on that event is enough for me, as I have gone through the same stage as well.

PH Open was your first big event as a certified MTG Judge, how was the overall experience?
PH open was a very exciting event for me, but at the same time, it was the most tiring event I have been to as well. It was a great experience since I was able to work with other judges who are very nice, and very understanding to each one of us.

Main Event Staff Photo – Photo Credit Ace Herrera Photography

Any memorable personal experience from the event you can share?
A personal experience I could share is that there are times in which you would find yourself involuntarily taking a break due to how tiring walking around the event was, and it’s perfectly okay to do so since everyone needs to rest to prevent yourself from crashing in the event.

A Learning Experience, being exposed to multiple tasks.
– Photo Credit: Ace Herrera Photography

A major takeaway from the event?
My personal takeaway from the event is that if judges work together well, the workload on each judge would be lessened equally, which would prevent stress at most times.

Your message for aspiring judges/ inactive judges?
For aspiring judges, it’s never easy, but it would feel easy as long as you love what you do. And for inactive judges, if it is in your interest to come back to judging, please do so as more and more events are popping up as face-to-face play comes back.

Surrounded by players from his community, Joshua proudly holds Tapped Games Banner

Note: To see more photos from the event. Please click Ace Herrera Photography

It’s been awhile since we published anything here. With organized play active again, we will do our best to produce articles( i.e. tournament report, judge highlight, judge stories, rules and policy related) for you folks.

Do you have any suggestions, comments and ideas? Feel free to contact us via

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