I’m sure all Barbie Collectors would want to have even at least one vintage Barbie, the ones that came out in late 1950’s, unfortunately, I don’t own one.  Mine is just a reproduction.  I wasn’t aware that the Barbie I knew from the 80’s is not her original face.  So after seeing photos of vintage Barbies, I started wishing for one.

For weeks my thoughts were filled with the doll in a Zebra Bathing Suit!  I don’t want to buy online because they are too expensive.  But I have these strong feeling that I will have one.

Then one lazy Sunday afternoon, I just felt like going to American Depot in Scout Borromeo.  It wasn’t even my schedule to go thrifting because I was at the mall.  I often go there in the morning because it’s far from my place.  It’s a weird feeling, go there at 3pm?  I must be crazy (in 2 hours it will be dark soon) but I kept seeing the picture of a vintage Barbie in my head!  So I did go out on a hunch!

When I arrived at the store, there are already a lot of customers with their kids playing all over the place and a few collectors I believe, I could only sigh, what chances do I have now?  I went straight to that glass table where they piled up all the dolls, I can see in total disarray now.  An indication that a lot of buyers have already been there.  Anyway, I usually try to clear one side of the table and then pile them up back neatly one by one, yes, as if I’m one of the storekeeper!  I do these everytime so I leave no stones unturned he he he and besides, I feel pity for these nude dolls!

Lo and behold!  I just can’t believe it!  Oh my, so I have ESP now?!  My first vintage Barbie!  Never mind if she’s a reproduction.  Talk about the power of the mind, I was really so surprised!  All limbs are intact, however, she has stains all over her face, dent marks on some parts of her body, and the face paint, well check out her pictures here.  Now comes the hard part, how much will they give this to me?  Sometimes I sense they jack up the price at the counter, so I talked to Barbie (yes I’m crazy I talk to my dolls sometimes) “I traveled far, if you want to come with me, you have to convince them to give me an affordable price, otherwise, I will have to leave without you”….how weird can anyone get?

At the counter I asked the sales clerk if the stains would come off or not?  And if ever, can I return it?  That is my opening spiel (it usually work) and the clerk gave me a positive smile.  She said that the doll is a “returned item” and I can’t do anything about the stain just like the first buyer.  Then she gave me an offer I can’t refuse, Php65.00 for the doll!  No return, you buy it as is.  And we went home together, enjoying the view while riding the MRT!

To this day, I admit not having enough time to do something about the stains.  Not yet.


Remembering Mattel…Philippines

It was in the 80’s after I graduated from college that I decided to give it a try working in a factory since it was much easier to get hired than looking for a white collared job that usually requires experience and…a backer (a somebody inside a company who can back you up.)

Anyway, Mattel Philippines, Inc. or MPI as how we call it then used to have its factory in Barrio Ugong, Pasig City which is just a short distance ride from our place.  I can’t help but reminisce the days I spent working there each time I happen to pass by on my way to Tiendesita’s (shopping center) or taking my shortcut going to Cubao.  A college friend encouraged me to try, she works as a face painter.



I was assigned at the Injection Section, the armature area, then  transferred as a deflasher (trimmer of excess plastic material) where I became one of the fastest deflasher of accessories in our shift during that time. Me and my operator partner always reach our daily quota & most times, we even go beyond that. Our teamwork pays off.  Mattel never fails to give credit to employees who works hard, we were given free meals at the canteen, gift checks, and a Top Performer Doll as our trophy which is a Barbie doll dressed up in our very own uniform, or whatever is the latest edition that year.



Anyway, later on, I became an operator too (Injection Molding Machine) and was good at it.  Months before Mattel closed its operations in the Philippines, I was personally chosen by the Head of Quality Control in our shift to be trained as a QC, but of course, it didn’t take off.  There’s a looming labor dispute.  And the rest is history, I was heartbroken.  I enjoyed working in Mattel, but I belong to the batch of neophytes having worked for 2 years only.  Surely most of my batch mate would rather accept whatever reconciliation was being offered to us during that time just to keep our (my first) job.  But the voice of the old timers have more weight (majority wins) who are we to oppose?  So we have no other recourse but to join the picket line.


I was wondering, now where did all those weekly deduction of “union dues” went to?  I don’t remember being given any notice or refund, neither being given free meals at the picket line, or maybe I’ve missed it…darn!!

86 TOP PERFORMERTo follow, 3 more dolls 😉