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Sep 3, 2017
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KING OF OLD TIME RADIO

Boyet Guillermo

WHAT HE COLLECTS, SPECIFICALLY: Vintage tube radios

CRAZIEST COLLECTOR MOMENT:Tuwing umaga at tuwing tanghali, pinapalinis ko sa aming househelp ‘yung bawat piece sa collection ko.

Perhaps unlike many of our wives or girlfriends, 48-year-old picker Boyet Guillermo’s spouse supports her husband’s obsession with vintage tube radios. In fact, it was she who sparked the start of Guillermo’s mad collection. One day in 2010, while they were in Cubao Expo, they passed by a shop where several vintage tube radios were displayed. “Nakita niya ‘yung radios and told me, ‘In love ako sa mga ganoong radio,’ sabi niya. ‘Gusto ko may mga ganoon tayo.’” And what do you do to please your girl? You follow and do what she wants. “That’s why ‘yung isang naka-display doon, binili namin even though it was too expensive.”

But that radio looked very lonely when they displayed it at home. And so the alpha Guillermo went on to buy a second one, and then a third one... until the number of tube radios in his possession reached roughly 60 to 70 pieces. “Kung hindi ako nagkakamali, base sa participation ko sa groups of pickers and collectors, ito na nga yata ang pinakamalaking collection of tube radios [dito sa Pilipinas].”

An average non-working tube radio can cost you P2,000 to P3,000. But if you are a serious collector like our Guillermo, of course you would want to buy working tube radios of older models because not only is there more soul to the sound it produces, they are also very rare nowadays, making them highly collectible. But it comes at a price: tube radios from the early 1900s to 1920s can cost between P50,000 to P80,000.

Just like many other collectors, Guillermo takes pride owning a particular item, specifically the 1930s RCA Radiola 17, which he bought for P55,000. It’s a rare piece because it had a short run in the market from 1923 to 1928, so very few of it still exist. “Having this specific piece in my house, make me happy. I really treasure it,” he says, beaming with pride.

“This collection just makes me really, really happy kaya inaalagaan ko talaga sila. Ang saya umuwi sa bahay tapos nakikita ko ang tube radios ko. It gives me a different feeling na rito [sa collection] ko lang nakukuha.”

THE PINOY MAN OF STEEL

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Alan Ebora

WHAT HE COLLECTS, SPECIFICALLY: Filipino regional blades

CRAZIEST COLLECTOR MOMENT:Kapag kunwari day-off ko, imbis na magpahinga sa bahay, I can spend an entire day in antique shops in Ermita just looking at blades.


“Functional piece of art siya. Useful and at the same time beautiful. Tapos in itself, parang mayroon na siyang dangerous charm, kumbaga,” says Ebora. Today, he already has around a hundred blades, 60 to 70 of which are regional blades coming from different provinces from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Ebora started this hobby in August 2015 with the “palengke knives,” as he called it—those that cost P300 to P500. Later on, he started digging deeper and deeper into a particular blade’s back story. He can talk to a blade smith all day long, discussing about a particular knife or sword.

His favorite and most prized blade is his 26-inch Moro Kris from Mindanao. “May mga wave siya ‘di ba. May ibig sabihin pa kung ilang waves, how long, ‘yung carvings niya… lahat may meaning na mas maiintindihan mo pa sa pagtagal ng panahon. ‘Yun ‘yung parang spirit niya.”

While he has blades from Luzon and Visayas, he highly prefers blades from Mindanao. “Ang gawa sa Mindanao from the 1800s to 1900s, bakal siya, may crisscross pattern. Ang ganda na matigas ‘yung cutting edge niya tapos medyo matigas but softer ‘yung loob, which enables it to flex, kumbaga panglaban talaga siya,” he shares.

While Ebora may be new to his obsession, he delves into it with full focus. “Kapag kunwari day-off ko, imbis na magpahinga sa bahay, I can spend an entire day in antique shops in Ermita just looking at blades,” he shares. “Tsaka kapag gabi, minsan hindi ako nakakatulog kasi hooked ako sa Internet, nagbabasa ako about blades lang.”

THE LORD OF TWO WHEELS

Anthony Balaguer

WHAT HE COLLECTS, SPECIFICALLY: Handmade steel bikes

CRAZIEST COLLECTOR MOMENT: “Well, I transformed this barn into a personal bike gallery for my personal viewing leisure.”

Former pro cyclist Anthony Balaguer has a barn on his property that he has transformed into his personal bike gallery, all steel and handmade.

There is an Eddy Merckx MX Leader from Belgium; Vitus 979 and Look KG 196 from France; and Colnago Elegant and Colnago Master Piu from Italy. There are Balaguer’s favorite Japanese handmade steel bikes, including the Makino NJS Track, Yamaguchi Aero Road, and the Cherubim Custom Order Touring bike, among others. Overall, he has 95 steel bikes in his collection.

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Each bike has a framed brief description, as though it were really in a museum. To offset the decorum of the barn, he set up a coffee bar, a wooden table, and chairs. Hip-hop music plays in the background. Nice!

The bike that Balaguer, 40, considers probably the rarest and one of his most special is the Richard Sachs Team Time Trial model. Sachs, a famed racing cyclist and framebuilder, built 10 of the bikes, all for his entire team of 10. And the price is no joke—Balaguer had to shell out $5,400 (about P273,000 at current exchange rates) for this prized possession.

Balaguer collects handmade steel bikes, an obsession he began in 2006, specifically because he believes it is how “real bikes” were originally made, unlike most of today’s bikes that are of lighter materials such as aluminium or carbon fiber. “For me kasi, I collect bikes not for speed or things like that. I buy a bike because it’s made by hand, by one person only. Ganoon ka-special ang bawat handmade steel bike that I collect.

THE ELECTRIC STRING MASTER

Iman Leonardo

WHAT HE COLLECTS, SPECIFICALLY: Japanese electric guitars

CRAZIEST COLLECTOR MOMENT:Umabot na sa 500 ‘yung collection ko. Crazy ‘yun! Grabe, kahit hanggang ngayon nagtataka pa rin ako paano umabot sa limang daan ‘yan eh.”

There is a three-story apartment unit somewhere in Project 2, Quezon City where the “residents”

are not humans. Not animals. Not aliens. Not any other living species. Here “lives” more than 500 electric guitars, each is stored in its own leather case. And nope, this is not a guitar shop. Not even a guitar museum or some sort—this is rented by singer and songwriter Iman Leonardo specifically as storage for his prized guitars, a collection he began in 2007.

Dati, doon sa apartment na ‘yun kami nakatira ng family ko dati,” Leonardo of psychedelic pop band Prank Sinatra shares. “Tapos later on, nadadagdagan ‘yung guitars ko, napapansin ko na ‘yung mga anak ko ay gumigilid na sa paglalakad. Tapos ‘yung TV namin, medyo malaki ‘yun eh pero later on ay lumiliit na ‘yung nakikita naming screen kasi natatakpan na pala ng guitars.” So when the unit beside that particular pad was vacated, the Leonardo family was quick to evacuate there, leaving the guitars in the first unit.

His entire collection costs—wait for it—almost P15 million.

In his more than 500 guitars, 75 percent of which are Japanese models, two stand out: the Yamaha SG-7 and the Mosrite Dobro 12-String Columbia 1968, both from the 1960s.

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“Huge Yamaha guitar fan ako eh, yung vintage ones. Like ‘tong Yamaha SG-7 ko, for me sobrang ibang klase ‘to man,” Leonardo says with great admiration. “Gustong-gusto ko ‘yung shape niya, walang kamukha. Gitara naman siya gaya ng ibang gitara pero iba talaga ang sound din nito eh…It’s too difficult to describe ‘yung sound niya. Basta sa tingin ko, sa isip ko, sa puso ko, alam ko may something different sa sound niya.”

Does he have any plans to get more guitars? “Although gusto ko pa sanang bumili nang bumili ng marami pang malulupit na model, I need to be practical [and] realistic, too. The reality is wala  na talagang space ditto eh.”

“Why not rent a second apartment unit for your guitars if space is an issue?,” we suggested.

Leonardo’s face lit up, “Oo nga noh!”

And the lesson is: Obsession trumps logic.

This story was originally published in the August 2017 issue of FHM Philippines.
Minor edits were made by the FHM.com.ph editors.

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