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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Child's Play

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One of the most memorable moments of my life was when school's over and my sister and I would rush home to play dolls.

In the early 90s, this city wasn't that progressive yet. There's limited supply of toys that you could buy in stores and back then this city doesn't even have a decent mall just small department stores like Gaisano Center and JS Gaisano. It was only in the mid 90's when Davao City actually started to boom with the construction of big malls like Victoria Plaza and JS Gaisano. Toys we had were actually toys that were bought from Manila. So with limited toys, my sister and I had to use our imagination and creativity to actually enjoy playing back then. A shoe rack was converted into a doll house, a box tied to a ribbon had been the elevator, boxes have been converted to cabinets for doll's clothes and old socks were made into dresses.


When big malls came to the city, my mother bought us more dolls and accessories and it had been part of a big collection that I had on display in my room.

Miniatures mixed with Barbie furniture

One day, as I was inspecting my Barbie dolls, to my horror, I saw one of my favorite barbie's hand fell off. I quickly inspected the others and  found out that a lot of them were on the brink of losing their arms. I couldn't believe my eyes-my treasured dolls are slowly deteriorating.

One of my favorite Barbies. This Barbie is really pretty in real life. I got her from my grandmother when
she got home from the US in 1997 after my grandfather died. It got the worst damage from everything else-both of her arms are cracking.
Originally, it looks like this:

I was wrong to think that if I just had them displayed inside a glass cabinet would somehow preserve them.

I had to place dehumidifier inside the cabinet as well as silica  on each Barbie after
So I got busy and started to clean them up. I sought help from various doll collectors online (I was surprised how there were a lot of doll collectors in the Philippines).I bought Zonrox color safe bleach. In a basin with water and liquid soap, I poured enough amount and soaked my Barbie Dolls for an hour. I then took an old toothbrush and brushed the dirt that accumulated on the arms that probably been the cause why the hands fell off ( I guess they were molds or mildew). For the hair, I washed them with water and shampoo and then soaked it with Cream Silk for an hour and blow-dryed it. I also put some Panoxyl on the some of the spots and had it covered with paper, peeling it off the next day but sadly didn't do much for some of the arms that turned dark.
Freshly baked bathed Barbie Dolls

Doing this all, I had earned an appreciation for my dolls. You see, a lot of them were collector's item. Before my mother asked me not to them off from their boxes but I used to say what's the point of having dolls if you can't play with it. To add more, a lot of these dolls are sold at Ebay in high prices.

My very first Barbie- Super Hair Barbie 1986.
We cut off the white thingy on top of her head a long time ago.
Surprisingly, she's the oldest Barbie I have but yet she didn't have any damages whatsoever.
It's also made in the Philippines.

originally it looks like this:
Image Source: Ioffer

I guess it's true that you can only appreciate something when it's gone-in this case it was only when I discovered that they were slowly deteriorating that I began to give much appreciation to these dolls- after all they are keepsakes of my happy childhood.


To date, I started collecting again. But I limit my collection to certain Barbie dolls, like the Legend of Ireland Barbie Dolls- I saw this Princess of Ireland Barbie that reminded me of my favorite Arthurian/Celtic Legend Tristan and Isolde which I bought to later find out that there is in fact a Barbie doll made for the specific character. I have yet to find one that's within my budget though.

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Painting by Artist: Kinuko Craft

Another one I recently bought was a Barbie Doll that reminded me of the character of Tatiana from Juliet Marillier's book "Wildwood Dancing" which had become one for my favorite fairytale retellings. The box's a bit bruised here and there but that's okay.

Thrifted Barbie Doll House that I got for only PHP500.00

Lastly, there is a warehouse that sells surplus stuff in the city and I was able to  buy a Barbie House. Believe it or not I'm now 27 and this is the first time I actually had a "real" (really intended for a Barbie Doll) house. It was really dirty and muddy. Nonetheless, the doors, elevator, windows were intact. They were initially selling it for PHP1500  but  I haggled and got it at PHP500-what a bargain. I spent time cleaning it up and was really happy that my Zonrox was able to take a way a lot of the grime away and now it's very clean.

The City of Spires- Fairytale Land- Czech Republic
What's on Top of My Bucket List

It is not coinicedental that one of the places I just want to visit is The Czech Republic for it is in this place that has a doll museum.

Picture credit:

Picture Credit:


PS, was wondering if anyone knows any good Barbie Collectors Forum or if you happened to pass by and have good recommendations on Barbie Collecting- do let me know and comment below :-)