By: Matthew Escosia
Funko Pops are undeniably (and inevitably) the go-to line most toy collectors would prefer these days. On average, they cost cheaper than your premium doll or medium-scale figurine, only 3.75” tall, and are simply designed to look appealing for both kids and adults.
As a toy line that is dedicated to showcasing various pop culture IPs (Intellectual Property) around the world, from Star Wars to characters from fast-food giant Jollibee, it’s becoming more impossible to see a Funko Pop figure that’s specifically catered for your interest.
Then there’s its availability. Physical and online toy stores would have a designated section specifically for Funko Pops in long multi-row shelves, which to no surprise, gets sold out especially for new releases.
With this, the landscape of Funko Pop collectors globally is immensely huge in number. In the Philippines alone, the local Funko collectors’ chapter known as Funko Funatic Philippines has over 37k members. This doesn’t include the thousands more non-members who are passionately collecting Funko Pops.
Today, we dive deep into what made these cute bobble-headed-like toys such a charmer for collectors through the eyes of someone who treats his Pops as one of his proudest possessions.
Meet Cholo Sediaren, a Funko Pop collector from Quezon City, Philippines. In his Funko journey, Cholo has done more than just simply collecting the universally loved toys.
SEA Wave was able to chat with Cholo to talk about his growing passion for toy collecting and more. Here’s the conversation.
When did you start collecting Funko Pops?
I started collecting back in 2014 – buying two pieces early on in the year just as room decoration, and eventually pursuing a bigger collection by the last half of the year.
Is toy collecting already a thing for you even before purchasing Funko Pops?
Yes, before Funko, I’ve been exposed to collecting many different things since I was a kid. May it be those Happy Meals, collectible movie merch, books, among many others. But Funko Pops are my first ‘full-time’ collection.
Do you remember your very first Funko pop purchase?
My first Funko Pops were Lotso Huggins Bear and Alien from Toy Story 3 – Funko Pops weren’t as popular then so they were on the sale bin. Now they’re worth so much more than what I originally paid for.
At what point did you decide that you will embark on an adventure to collect these?
It was around the height of the first Guardians of the Galaxy and Frozen back in 2014, and I thought it would be cool to start collecting characters from certain films that I loved and enjoyed. It was thrilling to collect those first set of pops, especially since I was a student then — part of that set was the iconic Baby Groot from the end credits of GotG.
How large has your Funko pop collection become through the years?
I currently have nearing 650 pcs (633 to be exact)
Wow! 600+ must be an achievement already.
It is personal since I started when I was a student, and now, I can pay for it with hard-earned money. It’s not the biggest collection for the number of years I’ve been collecting, but I’m proud of the pieces I have collected so far.
Is there a specific Pop figure that you think is your most prized possession?
Every pop has a special story to me, some more than others. Of course, my first two pops are special; I also still really like the Wicked Witch Pop I have which a friend from Australia gave to me, it’s now also a rare piece. It was also nice trying to fill up my Marvel Cinematic Universe collection – with at least one of each hero, with my most recent display being inspired and mostly consisting of pops from Endgame. Aside from those, there are a lot of great designs and lines that I like having in general.
For you, what makes Funko Pops so appealing? Or what’s the charm of collecting it?
In general, I’m a huge fan of pop culture – so having my favorite shows, movies, and characters in some sort of physical form makes me so excited. I’d like to believe my collection is a representation of my tastes in pop culture which is very wide, kind of showing my personality and who I am in that sense. It’s in the thrill of hunting for pieces you’re lacking, finding new friends, and being part of a community of collectors as well.
Maybe if you can share your experiences of being part of the group. Have you joined their past events?
Yes, the group is still very active even during the pandemic. Based on some of my retailer friends, their sales for Funko Pops were even at an all-time high at the height of online shopping during the pandemic.
I’ve joined the annual Christmas party a couple of times – a great way to engage with other collectors, chances to get freebies through “prize patrol” and even exclusive items given only through the events. Aside from these, there are different launch events for exclusive products (through retailers or annual events like ToyCon), where items such as Jollibee, Darna, and the upcoming Voltes V are released — all of which are only exclusive to the Philippines.
And now we ask everyone. Why do you think Funko Pops is such a revelation in the toy collecting landscape? Share your reactions in the comments section below.