In the sPOPlight: Meet These 7 Funko POP Collectors from Funko Funatic Philippines

From its bent knees era to today’s extraordinary innovations of “flocked”, “Chase”, and 10-inch Super Sized variants, Funko’s pop culture toys have ultimately become pop culture itself. Comic book movies premiere along with Funko merchandise. ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘La Casa de Papel’ (‘Money Heist’) Pops! have been as bankable as the Netflix TV series. Animé Month was celebrated with a seemingly endless release of animé lines. Australian firemen of the “Black Summer” and the COVID-19 frontline workers were honored with Pops! for a cause.

As for me, I only found out about Funko Pops when the ‘Game of Thrones’ cast members were captured alongside their Pop! counterparts during red carpet events, but I only started giving in to the temptation this year after watching ‘Birds of Prey’. When I left college in 2013, little did I know that Filipino “Funatics”, as fans are called, were starting to take root.

In 2012, Nikko Lim joined his first online forum of fellow Filipino collectors, but most of them were based in the US. That’s when he decided to bring the fun to the local scene. A year later, Funko Funatic Philippines (FFP) was born. FFP is the only fan base in the country that has been recognized by Funko, and is greatly supported at events. Mike Becker, the founder of Funko himself, actually flew to Manila for the group’s 2018 Christmas party.

I was able to talk to the founder of FFP about his experiences at big international conventions with Funko booths and about his personal aspiration for Filipino Funatics.

Nikko Lim on stage at the Funko Funatic Philippines’ 2019 Christmas Party

Nikko shares that FFP regularly has both online and offline activities and events, as well as weekly Funko Friday raffles in the group. Many of the members are also very knowledgeable with Funko and very helpful at assisting new members with their collections. Their biggest and most awaited event for the year is their annual Christmas Party.

In case you haven’t noticed, some of the Jollibee Pops in the market have FFP stickers. Nikko shares that FFPH actually helped Jollibee make the Jollibee Pop possible. “As a reward/gift, we were given a chance to have our very own FFP-exclusive,” he says. As for his personal aspiration for all Filipino Funatics, Nikko says he hopes for them to experience SDCC and Fundays at least once in their lives.

As of June 2020, FFP is 32,000 strong with Funatics coming from all walks of life. Even celebrities like Louise delos Reyes, Marlo Mortel, Jed Madela (one of the biggest and most active Funkollectors in the group!), and Ben&Ben’s keyboardist Patricia Lasaten are part of the group. Here are a few members who are also strong in numbers (in terms of their collection) who filled in my Pop! quiz.

Disclaimer: I am fully aware that there are bigger collectors in the group, but these are the guys I was able to and am grateful to reach.

Meet These 7 Funko POP Collectors from Funko Funatic Philippines

7. Nikko Plata

From one Nikko to another, this one aspires for his next kin to experience his generation through a massive collection of 90s icons. Ranging from video games to the music scene to the old-school Cartoon Network, all figures approximately totaling 300. Some he has in sets are the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Yu Yu Hakusho, Rugrats, CatDog, Crash Bandicoot, Tekken, Backstreet Boys, and *NSYNC. I can feel the 90s kid in me Macarena-ing now! And besides, isn’t this the point of Mike Becker’s original vision–the nostalgic reaction?

6. Jerome Delos Reyes

Just like the show, Jerome has wrapped up the Game of Thrones line (or at least 90% of it–seven hells!) all the way from its first ever Pop! (Tyrion Lannister #01) to last year’s Ser Brienne of Tarth and 6-inch The Mountain–both Unmasked and the regular masked! Being a fan of Jon Snow, he has completed all regular-sized Pops! of the character. As a fellow collector and a GoT fan: Lord Jerome, I bend the knee.

5. Henry Bodesto

Started collecting in 2018. Pop Count: around 500

Team OOB (Out of the Box) or NOOB (Never Out of the Box): NOOB. It won’t be easy to maintain OOB especially that I don’t have display cabs.
Favorite Pop: Miguel (from Coco) #303: GITD, Chase, and Hot Topic Exclusive
Favorite line: I’m not really into Marvel but Groot is the only exception.
Why he collects: They are my stress relievers.
Other toy lines: Enterbay, McFarlane NBA, Gunpla, etc.

4. Hannah Elisha Giron

Started collecting in 2012. Pop Count: over 500

First Pop!: Star Wars #05 Stormtrooper
Team OOB or NOOB: I would love to go OOB, but I don’t have more space; so NOOB for now.
Favorite Pop: Star Wars #05 Stormtrooper
Favorite line: Star Wars
Dream Pop!: Cardcaptor Sakura
Why she collects: It connects people from many trades and it gives me joy seeing my collection grow.
Other toy lines: Tokidoki, LEGO, Bimtoy, Unbox, POP MART, Toyzero, Kurobokan, MUPA Toy, etc.

3. Alyssa Santiago

Started collecting in 2018. Pop Count: almost 900

First Pop!: Family Guy #31-34
Team OOB or NOOB: NOOB
Favorite Pop: 2011 SDCC Limited Edition Freddy Funko (as Buzz Lightyear) #03 Vinyl Bobble-Head
Favorite line: Freddy Funko
Dream Pop!: Freddy Funko as Jollibee
Why she collects: It’s something that gives me joy and serves as a stress reliever from school.
Other toy lines: Quiccs, Unox & Friends, and LuLu The Piggy

2. Francis James Ponteras

Started collecting in 2015. Pop Count: almost 900

First Pop!: Dragon Ball Z Season 1 Set
Team OOB or NOOB: OOB
Favorite Pop: The Hot Topic Exclusive Supernatural #95 Castiel (with Wings)
Favorite line: Dragon Ball Z and Batman
Dream Pop!: House MD
Why he collects: For the nostalgia. All the characters I collect have influenced me to become who I am now.
Other toy lines: I was collecting LEGOs, Star Wars, and Dragon Ball Z toys before I became a Funatic.

1. Renard Chua

Started collecting in 2012. Pop Count: at least 2,500

First Pop!: Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and Nick Fury from the first Avengers movie
Team OOB or NOOB: OOB. I believe Funko products are created so that we can appreciate the artists’ intricate details.
Favorite Pop: 2011 SDCC Limited Edition Freddy Funko (as Buzz Lightyear) #03 Vinyl Bobble-Head
Favorite Line: A toss-up between NBA, Batman and Pixar
Dream Pop!: My all-time wish since I started was a Dexter Pop! and it was finally released last April, but I hope to see more from the show, like Mandark and Dee-Dee, as well as ones from Ed, Edd n Eddy, Cow and Chicken, and I Am Weasel.
Why he collects: I’m a big fan of pop culture and sports, in general. Unlike my other toys, though, I’ve found a community here, where I gained new friends from all walks of life.

Last year’s Christmas party attended by a thousand Funatics

“Everyone is a fan of something,” states the Funko tagline. That’s why the fandom keeps on expanding to all ages. If you’re a collector, too, then meet your fellow collectors in the biggest and only Funko-recognized fanbase in the country (if you haven’t yet).

Funko Funatic Philippines

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FunkoFunaticPH

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