Collecting Ball-Jointed Dolls, or BJDs, is not an easy hobby. The exquisitely-crafted resin dolls are incredibly expensive, rare and hard-to-get. The few shops that offer them are in Japan and Korea, and the lack of a Paypal facility in the Philippines makes acquiring them even more difficult. While the hobby for traditional doll collectors ends when the doll is safe in its display case, for BJDs, the hobby only begins when the doll is taken out of its box. BJDs, to be enjoyed fully, must be played with – and not in the conventional manner, too. The true beauty of a BJD is most expressed when customized lovingly, photographed in various poses and dressed in different outfits. The clothes and accessories for the dolls, however, do not come cheap, because most of them are handmade and sold in very few quantities. But properly presented and photographed, a doll may become a character all his own, like Uno and the cast of Mistula.
While these dolls demand a lot of money (an understatement, really) and talent, they also give endless enjoyment and fulfillment to those who see their true potential. BJDs are stoic photography subjects, uncomplaining fashion models, outlets for creativity or quiet therapy, and constant companions, as in the case of yapipie. Some owners also see their dolls as status symbols or tickets into an elite, secret community, but this is an attitude that this group, hopefully, will not subscribe to.
To date, there is an increasing awareness for BJDs in the Philippines. From one doll in 2003, there are already 11 dolls in the country at the end of 2005, with more expected to arrive next year. This community exists for all the Filipino doll owners to keep each other updated on the latest BJD news, share useful tips on customization and photography, plan meet-ups and have fun in the company of people who share a love for these beautiful, unique creations.
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