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OFW builds Super Mario-themed dream house in Batangas

Anyone born in the 80’s can agree that Super Mario has been part of their childhood. Mario, who remains as a console game mainstay, is considered to be the most famous character in the video game industry.

One of Mario’s super fan is Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Joel Dimaculangan from Lipa Batangas. He has been collecting Mario collectible items for more than 10 years. So much so that he has more than 5,000 Mario-themed pieces in his collection and has built a home based on the video game.


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Joel’s Super Mario collection

Joel said that he enjoys the nostalgia that his Super Mario collection brings.

“Super Mario is undeniably iconic. Almost everyone knows who Super Mario is. Whether you are a video game player or not, you can instantly recognize the Italian plumber from the Mushroom Kingdom. Nostalgia is a major part of toy collecting. We all love to connect to our childhood and recall the simple joys we had when we were young,” said Joel in an exclusive interview with The Filipino Times.

A few items of the 5,000 pieces collection of Joel Dimaculangan

‘No longer a surprise’

Every time someone asks Joel why he collects Super Mario items, he said he always answers that “it brings [him] pure joy to simply take a seat and stare at [his] precious Super Mario collection.”

“The feeling is just priceless,” said Joel.

So choosing it as the theme of his dream house was no longer a surprise to his friends and family.

“Masarap alalahanin noong mga panahong excited tayong makilaro sa kapitbahay natin ng kanilang family computer.  At Super Mario for sure ang isa sa pinakatumatak na game sa mga batang 80’s tulad ko. Given Super Mario’s extreme popularity, there is no limit as to what item you can actually collect. There is always this thrill to find new Super Mario stuff.  And having accumulated a ton in over 10 years of collecting, I bet my family and close friends were no longer surprised on me investing in a Super Mario-themed home,” shared Joel.

He started building his Super Mario dream house back in 2017.

At that time, he was still working as an OFW in Dubai in an oilfield services company. Joel said it took less than a year to complete building his dream house project.

He recently got reassigned in the United States and said that collecting Mario items became his solace.

“I transferred dito sa US at the time na nagsisimula pa lang ang pandemic. Super hirap. And ‘yung Super Mario collection ko ang naging outlet ko to relieve my stress,” shared Joel.

He has been an OFW for 15 years.

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A picture of Joel during the construction of his Mario home
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Work in progress: A huge Super Mario face that was installed in front of Joel’s house.

Joel said that one of his favorite parts of his Super Mario house is its facade where a human-sized jolly Mario statue welcomes you.

Day and night photo of the Super Mario house facade

Inside the Super Mario house

The 2-story house has several Mario game-based furnishing such as the Piranha Plants on the ceiling and the warp pipes as decor. 

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The living room which has Super Mario details
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The interior of Joel’s house with Super Mario colors
The kitchen area with Mario-themed colors 

The detail of the house goes even into the toilet which has an embedded tile that forms the image of Mario.

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Embedded tile forming an image of Super Mario

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Joel said that he loves the second floor as he personally designed the high ceiling.

high ceiling

One of the bedrooms inside the Super Mario house

When asked if he ever plans to open his home to the public as a museum, Joel said that he built the Super Mario house purely for his personal pleasure.

“It does technically look like a museum now. Pero it is purely for my personal pleasure (and for my family also),” said Joel.

‘Go for it’

Owning a home is an ultimate dream of majority of Filipinos. And building one, according to Joel, takes a lot of patience. ‘Number one dapat mo paghandaan: patience,” he said.

Joel said that building a house while abroad is not easy.

“Hindi biro mgpagawa ng bahay. Super stressful, especially wala tayo dun sa Pinas,” said Joel.

Yet, he still encourages OFWs to ‘go for it.’

“If you have plans, go for it! I can tell you na iba ang feeling na makita mo ‘yung pupuntahan ng pinagpaguran mo abroad,” shared Joel.

If you are to build your dream house, what would be its main theme?

Got a similarly unique home? Share your story with us at [email protected]/ [email protected]

Justin Aguilar

Justin is a former TV News Reporter for ABS-CBN News in the Philippines where she covered news stories at Northern Luzon for their nationwide audience. Her news reports were featured in their TV and radio programs such as ANC, TV Patrol World, Umagang Kay Ganda, Bandila and DZMM Teleradyo. She moved to Dubai three years ago and served as an online host, Brand and Marketing Manager and Communications Executive before finding her way back to her passion which is writing stories that matters. She enjoys capturing people’s hearts by highlighting the excellence of Filipinos in her stories and bringing the latest updates to both OFWs and global readers of The Filipino Times. Want to share your story? Reach Justin on Facebook: www.facebook.com/justinlico.aguilar or send your story at: [email protected]

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