|Kimmy dolls from Japan|
By the time we left Hinatuan, my friend and I had decided to visit the International Doll House in Bislig City before heading back to our accommodation in Casa de Babano. This is actually not a part of our original itinerary. I just happened to read the doll house’s signage when we were heading back to our inn the day we visited Tinuy-an Falls, and it looked intriguing.
|Yes, it's 273 steps, but fairly easy to climb|
The International Doll House is located inside the compound of Ocean View Park, a restaurant that’s famous in Bislig because it offers affordable food choices and beautiful views of the sea and the city from its view deck.
|Few more steps left|
As I was mentioning a while back, I was a bit intrigued of what I would see inside the doll house. We had to climb 273 steps to get to the small structure where the dolls are housed. At the small veranda in front of the doll house, we saw shoes and slippers which apparently belonged to guests who were inside. Footwear is not allowed inside the doll house because the owner wanted to minimize the dirt and dust getting in.
|And we're finally here|
As I opened the door, a woman wearing a smile greeted us and asked us if we’ve already paid the entrance fee. We told her we didn’t know where to pay. She offered to get our payment of 20 pesos each so that we won’t have to climb up the restaurant where the payment was supposed to be made.
|The 3D garden|
Upon entering the small room, we didn’t see a single doll. What we saw was a large wall print occupying one whole side of the room. The woman then told us that it was their famous 3D garden. You read it right, a 3D garden. The wall print actually looked like a typical tarpaulin showing an indoor garden with lots of blooms and white furniture. What’s amazing, the woman narrates, was that the wall print comes to life and transforms into a real garden in photos. She immediately took our cameras, started directing us to do some poses, and took shots. She proudly showed the pictures to us, and I must say she was partly right. The wall print looked a little 3D in the photos, especially when a pose was executed properly.
|Inside the doll house|
A few minutes passed and the guests inside the doll house started to come out. It was our turn to check out what’s inside. The woman ushered us inside, and we were welcomed by a huge collection of dolls of all assortments—from Barbie dolls to stuffed toys to wooden and metal dolls.
|Barbie dolls in Philippine costumes|
|Musician doll from Korea|
I interviewed the woman a bit, and found out that she owns the collection. Her name is Ruelaine Willimann, married to a foreigner named Werner. As she showed us her collection, she recounts the dolls were accumulated from the couple’s travels around the world. She wanted to share her collection with everyone, and this gave birth to the International Doll House. The dolls are grouped accordingly. There’s the Barbie collection, clown and stuffed toy collection, European collection, a separate Russian and Bulgarian collection, Asian collection, classical and vintage collection, fairytale collection and even an African collection.
|Babushka nesting dolls from Russia|
|Indonesian dolls. Pretty scary :)|
Ms. Ruelaine had to go to the restaurant kitchen and left us inside the doll house. I took pictures of some of the dolls, particularly the ones that caught my interest. To some tourists, the doll house may not be too interesting or appealing to visit. But if you happen to be in Bislig, try visiting the place if ever you have free time. And do drop by the nearby Ocean View Park Restaurant (read post here), also owned by the Willimanns. It’s a good venue to cap off your Surigao del Sur trip.
|Reminds me of Corazon from Marimar|
|[Healthy] Japanese baby doll|
HOW TO GET TO THE INTERNATIONAL DOLL HOUSE:
The International Doll House is located in Brgy. Cumawas, Bislig City. To get there from Davao, ride a bus bound for Bislig at Ecoland terminal. Travel time is 5-6 hours. If you are fortunate enough and the bus stops at the integrated transport terminal, you can alight at the road across the International Doll House. If the bus stops at the Bachelor Express terminal in Mangagoy, take a jeep or trike going to the doll house. Minimum fare applies.
|Do I look like sitting in a real chair? haha. Taken by my friend Xian|