- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
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- 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.