Thursday, April 13, 2017

Japan Toy Hunt at Nakano Broadway

- Toy Hunting. It can be a rewarding adventure as long as you have the patience, the eagle eyes and the money.

- This post details about my recent Toy Hunt at Japan.

- I'm not going to go much into details of where all the Toy shops are located and how to get the best deals, there are blogs who offer a lot more information of that ( try THIS and THIS.)

- Before, Akihabara is the place to be if you wanted your Japan Toy fix.

so techie 
- I can say it right now to just forget about Akihabara and high-tail it to Nakano Broadway instead.

- Don't get me wrong, Akihabara has a lot of toy shops, it's just that Akihabara has already become too "mainstream" for most die-hard toy collectors. Akihabara is just for glorified "Otakus" (Animé fans) or for people wanting to buy some reasonably-priced electronic gadgets. Or take a Selfie with a Cosplay chick. 

- Nakano Broadway is located near Nakano station. Unlike in Akihabara where most toy shops are far apart or require entering a building and taking an elevator, Nakano Broadway offers rows upon rows of Toy shops near each other. Just when you thought that you've looked at every shop, there is another one right around the corner. 

- While I'm not going to go much about directions on how to get there, (because memorizing of where to go to using the Japan train is confusing as Hell and would take a lifetime to master) what I can provide you is that it is located at the North Exit at Nakano station of the Japan Railways (JR) Yamanote line. When you are already out of the train station of the North Exit just go straight to the covered walkway and you should see the Nakano Broadway sign.

- Most of the toy shops are located at the 3rd and 4th floor and is also the Main branch of one of the famous Japanese toy shop, Mandarake.

- Mandarake is a combination of the words "Manga", meaning comics, and "Darake", meaning "a load of". Mandarake started out in 1987 as a shop for buying and selling second-hand Mangas. Then a few years later blossomed into a toy store that has several branches around Japan and a trustworthy online store.

- Mandarake has several stores in Nakano Broadway (26, based on their website) that is categorized by the items that they carry. One Mandarake shop has all the Vintage toys, the other Mandarake store has Japanese vinyl monsters, and so forth.

- Even though it appears that Mandarake is monopolizing the toy business there, Nakano Broadway is not all about Mandarake. There are a couple of independent toy shops there that are also worth a visit.

- I was able to visit Japan at the last week of March with my older sister and my toy-collecting soul cheered when I saw Nakano Broadway. I was about to faint when I actually checked out the place as there toys upon toys upon toys.

- The good thing about Nakano Broadway is that it has something for every collector. Like Mangas? Check.Gashapons? Check. Godzilla? Check. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Check. Wolverine? Check. Sanrio merchandises? Check. Gravure photobook? Check.Check. Check.

- I would like to point out that most of the toys that are being sold in Nakano Broadway are second-hand. Although you can ask the staff if it is still new or not. There are usually tags on the boxes that are in English that indicates if it has already been unopened or if an accessory is missing, etc.

- Trying my luck, I tried to take pictures of the toy shops and quickly realized that some stores do not want their toys being pictured (but, that never stopped me from taking pictures secretly) and that haggling is out of the question. You pay what the tag says. (although I only tried haggling once)

- Another thing to point out, Japan charges an 8% additional tax besides the price of the item, Nakano Broadway shops inlcuded (although there are some shops there that do not have "inconvenience": you pay what the price says) It only becomes tax-free if you have bought an item(s) that has a total of 5000 yen or more, you just have to present your passport and sign a form.

- I was very happy with what I saw and what I bought. There are a lot of toys there that are not available here in my country (Philippines). I could literally stay there the whole day and replenish at the nearby restaurants and check out more toys and not have a care in the world.

- One of the best "toy hauls" that I got there is a 1999 Marusan Wonderfest exclusive Godzilla vinyl toy that is a based on the 1966 Godzilla toy, (one of the first Godzilla toys) that I got for 5000 yen (tax-free!!!)

happy kid!!!

- So if ever you are in Japan and only have a day to toy-hunt, Nakano Broadway is the place. Just remember the train stations or you might end up somewhere else and end up asking for directions to a Japanese local that knows little English. Good luck with that.

i just had to take a picture, hehe

- " the king"

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Toy Collecting in the Philippines


-          In this post I’m trying to be a Representative of sorts, a personal tour guide of the what’s what of Toy Collecting in the Philippines.  And I’m writing this in a bullet type as it is easier to read.

-          Many collectors here  grew up on Tokusatsu shows of the 70’s-90’s.


-           Tokusatsu means “Special Effects” and refers to any Japanese Live-Action TV series or Movies that live explosions, stunt work, wire-fu and many, many costumed actors.

-          There are a couple of categories of Toakusatsu shows. But without giving too much info, the popular ones are the Super Sentai shows.

-          Sentai means “task force” or “fighting squadron” and shares the qualities of a normal Tokusatsu show, but features at least 5 different-colored costumed heroes all fighting as one. The stories are pretty formulaic: the big boss baddie creates the baddie of the week, baddie of the week fights the 5 sentai heroes with the help of baddie’s henchman. Then baddie of the week gets an upgrade in the form of him growing to gigantic proportions, the senati heroes call their big robot and kill the baddie of the week. Rinse. Repeat.

-          Pretty formulaic, but it works. Kids (myself included) love the Tokusatsu series.

-          The famous ones are Ultraman, Godzilla, Gamera,  Bioman, Maskman, Fiveman, Shaider, Machineman and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.


-          Toys of these series fetch big bucks on the Collector Market. Biorobot is currently selling for 13,000php, Fiveman robot for 7,000php and a Vavilos (from Shaider) goes around 11,000php.

-          But I would say the Super-Duper Holy Grail of every Toy Collector in the Philippines is a certain Blue-Red Robot named Voltes V.


-          Voltes V is an Anime released in the 70’s that also uses the Super Sentai formula but is an Animated series. It is one of the 3 Robot Drama series during the 70’s. The other 2 is Daimos and Combattler V. Another famous cartoon was also Mazinger Z.

-          Voltes V became part of the Philippine History of sorts as at the time it was shown here it was the Twilight of President Ferdinand Marcos’ dictator regime. He ordered the cartoon to be removed from Philippine airwaves as it showed physical violence and symbols of rebellion to an Authoritative figure. It was removed just when it was already 3-4 episodes shy from the series finale.

-          Because of this, Voltes V  gained a large fanbase here in the Philippines. In the U.S. or Japan, on the other hand, Combattler V is a lot popular.

-          A First release Popy Godaikin Voltes V robot that was released in the 70’s fetch at least 150,000php, depending on condition. The recent ones, like the Soul of Chogokin 40th Anniversary Voltes V is now selling for at least 13,000php-15,000php. Even a Gashapon-sized Voltes V that is no taller than 5 inches tall sells for 5,000-8,000php.


-          For some kids who grew up in the 90's  and their parents not having much of a budget, there are also cheap toys in the form of Bootleg toys or “Palengke Toys”.  “Palengke” means wet market here in the Philippines, where you buy fresh meat,  fish,  vegetables and other items,  toys included. These toys look like little plastic non-moving figures that is painted in one color or a rainbow of colors even. Upon checking some of these are actually rip-off of original designs from real toy manufacturers. Sometimes they are also called “Tau-tauhan.” These are usually included on corn snacks or sold on little stores that can be bought in pieces that are wrapped in clear plastic and stapled on a big cardboard. Normally kids would play “Tatsing” with these Palengke Toys, a game where you and other kids would place all their palengke toys inside a drawn circle (or a square) and a player would hit the toys from a distance using a Tau-tauhan and if all the toys has been removed from the circle then all the toys will be claimed by the player. Some kids would also wrap the toys with metal objects, like a nail or a bottle cap, to make it heavier and have a bigger chance of hitting many toys. These kind of toys are also collectible.

-          Starting a toy collection is pretty easy here. While the concept of a flea market is very rarely done here, there are online merchants that have physical stores here, like Great Toys Online or Big Boys Toy Store. Most Toy Collectors  go to Greenhills Shopping Center as there are lines and lines of Toy shops there. You can also join Facebook Toy Groups and buy or sell toys and either meet-up to get the item or have it shipped by local couriers like Xend, LBC or JRS Express and pay via the seller’s bank account or money transfer services like Palawan Express or Western Union.

-          There also “Toy Pickers” here as well, finding toys in Surplus shops and clean or fix them and sell them for a bigger price. Majority of toys that are sold in these Surplus shops came from Japan. Vinyl figures, blind-box little figure, Power Rangers robots and stuffed toys are the usual stuff “Picked” by these people in Surplus shops.

-          Since the Philippines is also close to China, bootleg toys are aplenty and come cheap. There are also instances where Toy Companies would reject some toys from the manufacturer, either by a bad paint job or excessive plastic on some body parts, request to have it be recycled instead, but get shipped to sellers here in the Philippines. These are called Overruns.

lol wot? 

-          There are also Swapmeets done by specific toy groups  that is done quarterly or every month, groups like PinoyLUG  (Pinoy Lego User Group)  or DCPH (Diecast Car Collectors of the Philippines) or RCH (Robot Collectors Haven). These groups  gather around to do trade, sell stuff, do giveaways, auction toys for charity and just hang out with like-minded collectors and compare collections  or tell stories.

M.A.T.C.H.Fest  2016

-           Toy Customizing, Toy Photography and Video Toy Reviews also abound here and gains a lot of potential clients and fans. 


-          There are also conventions organized by large and trusted  groups like Hobbiworx that is held on Shopping Malls, conventions  like TAGCOM (Toys and Hobbies Convention) , M.A.T.CH.  Fest (Manila Action-Figures Toys, Collectibles and Hobbies Festival, AsiaPOPComicon Manila and the longest and famous one named TOYCON that is held every June. TOYCON is the “Big Leagues” here. If you can set up your Collection Exhibit there or sell your custom toy, you got it made! (A friend that I am close to was able to showcase his custom President Duterte (our recent President) figure in TOYCON last year and he was featured in newspapers, websites radio programs and TV News stations a few months later. He was even able to meet President Duterte up close)

the place to be for Pinoy Toy Collectors

creator meets his creation

-          Just like any hobby, there are also negative aspects as well. There would be sellers who would hoard multiple figures of the same type and sell them for a large price, people who would set up preorder slots for a toy that is not released yet and demand a small deposit to ensure a preorder slot, and then the seller would vanish all of a sudden, taking along your money. There are also sellers that brand their toys as original whereas it is a bootleg also happens as well. But you just have to remember to be street-smart to avoid being scammed. Anyway, the Toy-Collecting Community are very vigilant with these things.

-        In closing, Toy Collecting here in the Philippines  is  a very friendly venue. If you want to get that suntanned body and also start a collection or hoping to find that piece that you consider as a "Holy Grail" of sorts, come visit us here.

yours truly
-    "the king" 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

An Annual Congregation of Toy Connoisseurs and Popular Culture (A Toycon 2016 Day 2 Coverage)

Toycon was on it's 15th year. The Biggest Toy Convention in the Philippines started out small and gradually became bigger and bigger in terms of Exhibitors, dealers, sponsors and attendees. It became so big that the organizers behind Toycon announced last year that the 2016 Toycon would be held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay on June 10-12 from its usual SM Megatrade Hall in Ortigas. Many became happy with the news while others became low-spirited due to its distance from some enthusiast's home and a potential spike in ticket price.

Fast forward to 2016. Toycon reported in early 2016 that they have teamed up with Pop Life Entertainment Ltd. to deliver a one-of-a-kind Convention experience. Dubbed Toycon Philippines 2016 + PopLife FanXperience, the organizers "aims to boost pop culture further in the Philippines" by providing a bigger venue, rare exhibits like an exhibit featuring collections from Legendary Comic Book writer Stan Lee, partnerships with large Toy Companies like Funko and Celebrity guests like Kristian Nairn as Hodor from Game Of Thrones and Dean Cain as Superman on the Adventures SupermanTV series. Woop!! That's some amazing news. But how much will the ticket be? The organizers have kept mum on the subject and rumors are circulating that the ticket price will be 500php from its usual 150php price. Basically a 250% increase. A few weeks after Toycon they announced that a One-Day pass for Toycon 2016 will be indeed 500php. Many were furious and expressed their distaste on social media. The organizers seemed to notice it and appeased the people by offering "Discount Packages". For 1000php you get 3 days, so you get 500php off. For a VIP pass worth 3000php you get a 3-day pass and a lot of freebies. For a whopping 10kphp Legendary Pass you get a ton of freebies, including a Limited Edition 22-inch tall Voltes V vinyl figure as well as an early access to the convention. So you're like a Toycon God, in a way. But when you look at it, 500php would be the lowest amount for a Toycon ticket.

Now complain as much as we would want, the organizers will not lower the price. We just have to accept it, it'll just be a hard pill to swallow. I bought the tickets and plan to attend the second day with my girlfriend. On the first day news came out on social media about the organizer's lack of coordination and late opening of the event. The line queued far from the entrance leaving some attendees tired and wet from the rain. One of the main attractions on Toycon is a 3-story tall statue of Voltes V, one of the granddaddy of Japanese Super Robots and one of the "Ultimate Trophy Toy" for Toy Collectors (due in part to being a slight contributor to Philippine History). Attendees on the first day who wanted to see the giant robot up close were disappointed, as only the feet and legs were assembled during that time. Truck ban and customs were believed to be the cause of the delay.

Nonetheless, many attendees were excited with the numerous photo-op sessions from the large statues and main celebrity Kristian Nairn and Dean Cain being courteous to the crowd. Thanks to social media, I have a clear mental picture of what to expect from Day 2 of Toycon.

My girlfriend and I went to SMX Convention Center at 12pm. There was no line so we were able to get inside quickly and bask in the air of the Toycon Experience. A large part of the floor was devoted to the dealers and merchants. There were a lot of Toys to choose from, ranging from Funko Pops to Die-Cast cars. There are also ones who are selling cosplay gear, geek-related t-shirts and the usual solicitors offering Credit Card applications and Charity work. Now, despite the large floor size of the dealers, it was not enough. Traffic of people would still form on the back of you when a guy in front of you would stop and check out what the dealers are selling. I joked to myself that previous Toycons you would collide with a person when checking out Toys. Now you would just get brushed on a body part when checking out Toys.
There were also numerous glass cabinets displayed as well on a specific floor, showcasing a specific Toyline from various Toy Groups or a Toy Collector. Honestly, I have never thought a Toyline with a Cult following, like say, Zoids, for instance would garner a Toy Group. But hey, that's what Toycon should be. A meeting of like-minded individuals celebrating their passion.

Now, a really, really REALLY large part of the floor was provided to the PopLife FanXperience. Large statues were there, like the 3-story tall Voltes V (now complete) Funko Pop versions of boxer Manny Pacquaio, UFC Fighter Conor Mcgregor, Minions and Groot were there to greet you and to take a selfie. You can run around there and not bump into anyone. The stage was there as well, offering live music from J-Pop group Electric Ribbon and DJ Kazu as well as Q&A from the celebrity guests. I was not really into the celebrity guests, but to each his own.

I got some good Toy hauls. I got a lot of Godzilla items ( I'm in a Kaiju fix now) a Marvel Legends figure and a hardcover comic book for a steal. I also got some freebies like posters and stickers as well. It was a good Toyhunt.

my toy hauls
Now, after personally experiencing Toycon 2016, I felt that the floor was not utilized well. The dealer's floor should have been a little bigger. Toys should have been given more spotlight. More well-known celebrities (Robert Downey, Jr. or Akira Toriyama, perhaps?) More lighting on some statues and exhibits. And for heaven's sake, the ticket price man!!! Call me a cheap bastard, but thinking about the Philippine Economy, with 500php I could buy a decent action figure or a full meal for 3. Toy Collectors like myself rely on haggling and prices of Toys not being too expensive so the money we save will be placed on more Toys or a cab home. And helping a fellow collector out, "Toy Karma" as they say.

There's always room for improvement, I guess, and the organizers just gotta remember, at the end of the day, you would remember your Toycon experience not from a selfie from a Large statue but when you finally got that toy that you've been looking for a very long time.

Toy Karma.

- "the king"

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Broken Bones, Reborn Spirit...

2015 was a doozy.

Man, what a year. That was the year where my Faith, Patience, Health and Relationship with a number of people was tested. That was the year that I broke my right leg from a freak accident and needed an operation to be able to walk properly again.

I really cannot say that 2015 was a bad year for me. Far from it. I was able to visit Hanoi, Vietnam and Tokyo, Japan in the early parts of 2015. Shopping for things that I really wanted could have been better, but still, those are great places to visit when you want to unwind. I guess you could say that 2015 was a lot different from what I would usually go through.

The Journey

It was May 17, 2015, Sunday. A few days earlier my girlfriend invited me to go to Majayjay Falls in Taytay, Laguna along with her officemates. I said yes, I was always a nature kind of guy and wanted a change in the scenery. We plan to stay there overnight and come back home Monday morning, just enough time to rest to go back to work at night. We chipped in some money for food to be bought by one of my girlfriend’s officemates. We plan to go there by renting a Van, but it was too expensive. So we decided to commute instead. A few of them already travelled after their shift, while I went with the batch that were on Rest Day and waited for the others near the bus terminal in Mandaluyong, Manila.

Going there, I was surprised on how far Majayjay Falls was from Manila. We went through at least 4 towns in Laguna and rode 4 public transportation. It took us about 3-4 hours going there. And the place where most of the transportation would drop you off and you would walk by foot to the actual Falls is pretty far. When you actually get there and see the Falls… It’s pretty Majestic. Not as Majestic as Pagsanjan Falls (based on a picture that I saw online.) but it is still a sight to behold. Water gushing and flowing endlessly Large Rock formations and the large trees covering the sunlight from above. It’s too bad that it’s already too “Commercialized”. When we went there there were a lot of people enjoying the Falls. Majayjay Falls is a pretty well-known tourist spot, so there were stalls on the Transportation Drop-Off point where you can rent a tent, buy some firewood for the night, a hot meal, alcohol and sing a song on a Videoke machine. We were already there at around 4pm-ish and saw a lot of people taking a dip, taking Selfies and Group shots and some are already packing up and ready to leave.

Observing  the Falls, there were some structures that was Man-Made. Besides a Grotto near the side and some steps and railings to help you get to the Falls with ease, the Barangay built a type of platform where you can sit there instead on the jagged rocks and still let the water from the Falls flow freely up to the end of the place. Think of it like a small Dam or Dike. Or even an Infinity Pool. From the part where the water flowed freely, they’ve slanted a part of the structure to a 45-degree angle. One can slide there, but under it are some large jagged rocks so it’s probably not a good idea.

We took a dip and the water from the Falls is pretty cold. We took some pictures of the Falls and I also brought some of my Toys to take pictures of them for my Facebook Page and Instagram profile. We spent the night there and had a little drink and told some stories and laughed until the wee hours of the night. I already gave in to my weary body and slept in the tent while some of my girlfriend’s officemates finished a bottle by 4am or so.

The Accident 

Come Monday morning, May 18, 2015,  I was a little refreshed from my sleep, although I have a hard time sleeping due to the rocks under the tent. We had a little breakfast and I decided to take some more Toy Photography shots and another dip before going back home. So there I was, I positioned myself on the 30-degree angled slide-like structure, resting my elbows on the platform to secure myself and letting the water hit my back. After a while, I decided to slide myself a little and check out the water hitting the rocks under the Falls. Yesterday I saw some of the people doing that, so I thought I’d try it myself. I did count for the way my body was positioned and factor in the algae forming from the 45-degree angled-formation, I slid down to the rocks.

I heard a Thump and landed on the rocks under the Falls. Next thing I saw was my whole right foot facing to the right. I got my right foot dislocated. You can practically see my ankle bone protruding from my skin.


I got myself up and my companions asked if I’m okay. I showed my right leg and they freaked out. Some already went to the Barangay to ask for help and my girlfriend went to my side, comforting me and almost crying. I kept thinking “Sh*t. How am I going to say this to my folks?”, "How can I be so Stupid?" and “Why me?” to myself. After a couple of minutes the Barangay officials already came and bought a stretcher for easier transport. I was surprised there were cuts from my big toe on my right foot as well, I never felt it probably because of the adrenaline flowing from my body. It took a couple of Barangay officials and companions to get me to the Transportation Drop-Off point because I am rather heavy. They placed me on a Multicab jeep and took me to a nearby Therapist, or Manghihilot to try to fix my right foot. My girlfriend also came with me along with one of our companions and when she held my hand, I became teary-eyed. I guess during that time, I really needed comfort. It was a long ride, and we were shocked that the Therapist went away to Tagaytay and will be back by late afternoon. I was frustrated but kept my cool.

We decided instead to go a nearby hospital and after a few more minutes we arrived to a public hospital in Santa Cruz, Laguna. My girlfriend filled up the paperwork and a nurse administered Anti-Tetanus shots because of the cuts that I got from my big toe.  The Emergency Room doctor gave a prescription to have my right foot X-Rayed and then go to the resident Orthopedist. I have a hard time moving just to get it X-Rayed. The Orthopedist saw my right foot and said that we need to go back to have it X-rayed again since it should be the ankle and not the foot that should have been X-Rayed. We have to pay again for the X-Ray, much to our dismay and disapproval. When we went back to the orthodontist, he was on a lunch break. We had to wait again, and it was already noon and my leg is already starting to hurt. It was so long I remember my bladder was full and I wanted to pee, so I peed from the gurney and had to suffer the smell of urine on my swimwear. When the Orthopedist came back and checked the X-Ray, I suffered a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula. He advised us that he’ll get it back and place a cast on it and have myself checked in Manila, since Hospital regulations would indicate that if I would be operated in Laguna then I can only be checked up again in Laguna.

first X-Ray

The Orthopedist prepared the materials needed to cast my foot, then all of a sudden, without any warning, he pulled my foot back to its normal position. I screamed so loud from the pain. It was the worst pain in the world. I think the whole hospital heard that. From a medical perspective, if he had to tell me what he had to do, I would have tighten my muscles and that would make the “fix” difficult. When he is already placing the cast on my foot, I remember that I want to lay down on my back. I was in so much pain with the “Fix” that I became dizzy afterwards.

We asked for a Medical Certificate for documentation purposes. We thanked the Barangay Officials and I have to get dressed and go back home to Manila. I have to cut my Swimming trunks with a Scissor and had my girlfriend help me get dressed. We asked to be transported to the bus terminal via an Ambulance and paid the 3 seats at the back of the bus for me to rest my foot on. We even bought a wooden crutch for me to use temporarily. From the bus I already texted my friends and my boss about what happened to me, except my parents. I’m still too scared to say what happened to me.

When we already arrived in Manila, I asked for help getting down on the bus. The employees from the bus company helped me get down and me and my girlfriend got a taxi and went home to my condo in Makati. It was already early evening at that time. I took a bath and asked my girlfriend to buy some food and better crutches from a drugstore. I remember when I took a nap I woke up abruptly and involuntarily jerked my bad foot. I had a Post-Trauma Attack Episode, I suppose. But it would not be my last.

After I had a full meal, I mustered enough courage and texted my dad saying "Call me". My dad called immediately and told him the bad news. He was shocked and asked how I'm doing. During that time my mother is taking a nap, so my father planned to tell her the news after she had dinner. A few years ago my mother slipped on a marble floor and broke her left ankle, incapacitating her for less than a year. She called back a couple of minutes later, asked how I'm doing and recounting her accident and recovery process as well. I planned to go to Makati Medical Center and use my healthcard from my office to have myself checked up. But my mother suggested instead that they pick me up tomorrow and be checked up instead by her Orthopedist in University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. I remember after that I cried and kept asking to my girlfriend why it happened to me. She comforted me and said that everything will be alright. 

The Operation 

They picked me up and had myself X-rayed by the Orthopedist a day after. He concluded from the X-Ray that I would need to undergo an operation and place metal screws inside to realign my ankle and fibula bone. I was scheduled to be going under the knife by Thursday, May 21, 2015. The thought about the operation did not sink in with me even after we went home. I remember my father comforting me, saying that Medical technology has advanced so much that I don't need to worry one bit. Honestly, I was not afraid at all. All I was thinking about was if I can walk normally again. 

May 21, 2015, Thursday. As preparation for my surgery, I had a heavy breakfast at home because at least 8 hours before the surgery you must not have drunk or ate anything to avoid any chemical reactions from the anesthesia that will be administered in your bloodstream. I was calm before the operation. I recall even watching and enjoying a Tagalized Ip Man movie on cable before travelling to the hospital. On the hospital, I was briefed about what the doctors would be doing to me. I was even visited by my college friend before I was wheeled to the operation. His presence gave me the extra boost and comfort that I needed. 

It was near noontime when I was already at the operating room. They injected the anesthesia to my middle back and I got a little groggy. I was about to drift away to Dreamland but the nurses inside the operating room were talking too loud that I lost my grogginess and I instead just closed my eyes and kept on repeating "The Lord is my Shepherd" as my mantra. Then I started to shake uncontrollably. It was one of the side effects of the anesthesia so they blanketed me with some plastic tubes with some warm air running on the tubes. That stopped the shaking. I was awake from the whole operation. I heard drilling and light hammering on a metallic surface. You'd think that I was on a shop class. After the noise, I even saw on a reflected mirror of an unused Operating light  that the doctors were already stitching up my leg. It's finished. The operation was a success. Waiting on the Recovery room was a drag. I was constantly monitored for any complications that I might experience after the operation. I was there for almost 2 hours before I was wheeled back to my room. I was glad I was not on a strict diet so I got to eat whatever I want. My Orthopedist showed me the X-Ray of how the 5 screws and 1 metal plate was placed on my leg. At first I was horrified, but after that it got easier to look at and I accepted my "Bionic Man" peg. 

The Recovery 

I was discharged from the hospital on May 23, 2015 and stayed in my parent’s house in Malabon. Now I face the stage of recovery. It was really difficult at first, I recounted I had to check Google and a Youtube video just to know how to properly use crutches and on how to go up and down the stairs. My day would start by waking up and going down from my bedroom, eating breakfast, take a bath while covering my bad foot and either watch television or sit outside the house with my cellphone and a urinal jug in tow until it’s noontime and I would eat lunch and take a nap and watch television again. Other times I would make myself useful in the house by folding laundry. Other days I would tag along with my folks to go to Pateros and help with our family business.

I kept having those sudden Post-Trauma Attack Episodes in the middle of the night for a couple of weeks. With Facebook and Instagram, I was able to amuse myself. In time, I accepted what happened to me and thought to myself that I can overcome this. This is a trial that God gave me, and I can win over it. My music idols Chester Bennington of Linkin Park fame and Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters fame also got into the same predicament that I have, also on the same year, and they got by just fine. So I thought to myself “If they can do it, so can I”. After a few weeks, the Post-Trauma Attack Episodes just stopped. I also kept on doing some therapy exercises that is advised by my Orthodontist, where I would apply weight to my bad foot using the upper portion of my crutches or tap my heel to lessen the stiffness of my bad foot whenever I would remember it. I really depended on my crutches. I even made a mantra because of it: “I have Faith in God, and Trust in my Crutches.” Every step would be challenge. I would always fear for my self-being whenever I would see an uneven or slippery floor. I often thought to myself that I would not wish this on anyone, not even on my enemies.

There were the bi-weekly visits to my Orthopedist, where it would be X-Rayed, he would check up on my bad foot, saying that it is recovering well, change the dressing on the stitched part, and wrap it with bandages again. Other times with the help of my mother, I would change the dressing myself. I remember seeing the stitched part up close for the first time and be so horrified by the appearance of it. It looks like a decaying flesh, like a Zombie took a bite at it. For almost 3 months it was a cycle: Get Up, Eat, Sleep, Watch TV, Facebook, Help around in Pateros and Doctor Check-Up. Repeat. There were the occasional visits from officemates and friends and my girlfriend to check up on me to break the cycle, but that’s it.

the zombie bite look
the zombie bite look

Gradually my bad foot would get better, physically (although I miss the “Zombie-bite” look. It looks cool) and performance-wise. By the middle of August 2015 I can finally walk, although I was limping and needed a cane. I remember that I depended on crutches for so long that I forgot how to walk using my 2 feet. By September 2015 I got back from work and used a wooden cane. I often rode a taxi going to work and a Hybrid bus going home for my safety and convenience. I was like lifting my whole right leg for a couple of weeks until I got used to walking again (cue the music “Walk” by Foo Fighters) that I ditched my wooden cane by October. Now by then my movement on my right leg is still limited due to the screws and plates. I could only move my leg up and down, not side-to-side. But as someone that used crutches for 3 months, I’ll take this any day, limited as it may be. After a few months I was walking normally despite a few limitations. My fears of not being able to walk again were put to rest. 

The Operation Part 2

My Orthopedist advised me to get back to him by the end of January 2016, and schedule another operation to have the screws and plates be removed by February 2016 since by that time the broken fibula has already been calcified enough to not needing the support from the screws anymore. I had my bad foot X-Rayed again, and one of the screws on the lower part of my ankle was cut in two. My orthodontist told me that removing the screws and plates would be an easy operation, however, the end part of the cut screw would be left out as it would be difficult to remove without breaking the bone. He said that it will not really hinder any bodily movements.
The X-Ray with the broken scre

I was admitted to the hospital in February 1, 2016 and was on the operating table again in February 2, 2016 by late morning. There I was, on an operation to be able to walk fully normal again. For 8 months the screws and plates were there, aiding my bones to be healed and realigned properly. And they would be removed. Finally. I recounted I got a little teary-eyed while waiting for my Orthopedist to come in the Operating room. I have waited for this moment. As usual, I was administered anesthesia again and this time, I fell asleep. By the time I woke up, they were already stitching up my leg again.  I requested to give to me the screws and plates as I have something special in mind for them. I had to wait in the recovery room again and was wheeled back to my room after 2 hours. By February 3, 2016 I was discharged from the hospital and went back to my folks to recover.
My "Souvenir"

Fears of the recovery process plagued my mind after the operation. Can I walk immediatelyWill it take 3 months again to recover? I’d like to say that I was really, really surprised that by the third day after the operation that I was walking like normal again. It took just two weeks for me to maneuver my right foot side-to-side and apply my weight evenly.  We just came back from my Orthodontist a week after to have the stitches be removed. Finally. It’s done.

The Victory 

Except for the scar on my right foot and a small screw left inside my ankle bone, I’m doing fine. I asked a friend to encase the screws and plate in a crystal-like substance to immortalize my challenge and triumph. It’s been a long road, but I finally got through it thanks to God, my friends and family.

Now, looking back, I thank God for every step that I take and I promised to myself not to complain on every distance I would cover, no matter how short or long it may be.

- "the king"

“Getting good at starting over/ Every time that I return/ Learning to Walk again/ I believe I've waited long enough/ Where do I begin?” – Foo Fighters, “Walk”

Dave Grohl