• Dad Makes His Toys Come to Life and 'Watch Over' His Daughter

    This dad makes parenting fun and enjoyable with his toy photography.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Dad Makes His Toys Come to Life and 'Watch Over' His Daughter
PHOTO BY courtesy of Mark and Corine Villanueva
  • Your whole life is turned upside down with the arrival of a new baby. There's a lot of things you put under "pag may pera na" or "pag malaki na si baby." Some of you (mom or dad) put your career on hold and stay at home to care of your tiny human being. 

    We have to hand it to the dads though. They somehow find a way to combine their treasured hobbies and, er, parenting. A Filipino survey has shown that dads see themselves as directors of fun, and we’ve seen it in action  when dads are left in charge of the little ones. Now we’ve even found one dad merge his parenting duties with his toy photography hobby.

    Mark Villanueva, 30, has been interested in toys and photography even before he became a dad. He started collecting Lego Minifigures, Gundam model kits, and action figures in 2015.

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    Mark with his wife, Corine, and daughter, Lyanna.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Mark Villanueva

    "I really liked photography so I invested in a DSLR and then I got my first Star Wars Stormtrooper Lego Minifigure. I brought him everywhere, even during dates with my wife,” he tells SmartParenting.com.ph in an interview via Facebook Messenger. “I saw photos from a French toy photographer named Samsofy, and I guess my inner child just burst out. I started to think, ‘if toys were alive, what will they do?’”

    Admittedly, collecting toys can become an expensive hobby, but luckily his wife, Corine, has always been supportive. In fact, she sent us Mark's photos because she was so proud of her husband’s work.

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    “Every time I post my pictures with the toys, she will say ‘naglalaro ka na naman!’ and that I am her first child,” Mark shares.

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    When thinking of "poses" for his toys, Mark says he just makes them do the typical things a guy does every day. Hmmm.
    PHOTO BY Mark Villanueva

    Mark adds he saves up for each toy with his wife’s permission. “I guess I’ve already spent around Php15,000 to Php20,000. But I actually collect bootlegs or imitation toys because original brands are really expensive,” he admits. “I only have a few originals. Corine lets me buy them as long as the money I use are from my own savings. She supports what I do because I think it’s a good vice.”

    When Corine became pregnant with their first child, Lyanna, she shares that Mark had already planned his photos even before they came to the hospital. And they are endearing!

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    "Oh, look, our boss is having a baby!"
    PHOTO BY Mark Villanueva
    Mark and his Gundam waited patiently for his daughter's birth.
    PHOTO BY Mark Villanueva
    "There she is!"
    PHOTO BY Mark Villanueva

    As Lyanna grows, Mark doing his best to make every day with her special through his photos. Of course, his toys are ever present while he watches over or have playtime with his daughter. “When my daughter arrived, an idea popped into my head. What if my toys can help me look after my daughter? They’ll prepare her milk or put her to sleep,” he shares. “It’s really funny how the photos came out.”

    He hopes to buy new toys that they can build and play together. “Paglaki ni baby gusto niya ‘yun ang playtime nila,” Corine shares.

    Mark’s photos are adorable, so we’ll let him tell the story of how he takes care of his daughter through these photos:

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    "We're here to watch over and protect you."
    PHOTO BY Mark Villanueva
    Gundam making sure Lyanna is swaddled correctly.
    PHOTO BY Mark Villanueva
    Spidey selfie with baby!
    PHOTO BY Mark Villanueva
    Spidey is making sure baby is fast asleep!
    PHOTO BY Mark Villanueva
    "Help! I'm trapped!"
    PHOTO BY Mark Villanueva
    Congrats on making it to three months, Lyanna! Now let the Gundams have cake!
    PHOTO BY Mark Villanueva
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