THERE are a lot of ways BTS ARMYs show love and support to their “idol” Korean boy band BTS, but what stands out the most is their willingness to spend any amount of money “in the name of loyalty.”

BTS fans, more commonly known as BTS ARMYs, usually don’t mind purchasing BTS’ albums, merchandise, and even the brands the band is endorsing, which is a very effective way in showing their loyalty as these help the artists earn more revenue and boost their publicity.

An expensive interest of collecting BTS merch is one of every ARMY’s dreams. Etang Reyes from Luzon and Memay from Davao City are one of the friends I know on Tiktok who have a designated ARMY room filled with BTS merchandise. They are among those who are living the dream of any ARMYs.

Hallyu Newsmaker (HN): How long have you been collecting BTS merch?

“Honestly, I wasn’t collecting during my first year as an ARMY. I don’t call it collecting, I just buy what can be bought, if it’s affordable, especially if the merch is beautiful and not necessarily official. Merch sellers and merch during those times aren’t as abundant as today so it was hard to buy. I encountered deceitful sellers too during my early years of buying albums/merch,” Etang narrated.

As for Memay, “Funny back story, I got a BlackPink ‘The Album’ album last December 25, 2020 as a gift. I scanned it and I was like ‘ahhh, ito pala laman ng album’. Following days, I looked for on hand BTS Love Yourself unsealed albums. My goal is to complete the discography Season Greetings, Memories, Winter Package and Summer Package only. I have a checklist. Then I didn't know meron ding Army Kit, Musters and a lot more merch. Haha. I decided not to collect photocards, but surprise! Be Deluxe comes with seven photocards. It was fun collecting, but as time goes by, I feel pressured. To collect everything, to go OT7 in Photocards. So, I decided to stop collecting (them) all and just focus on merch that brings sparks.”

HN: How much have you spent collecting BTS merch?

Mommy Etang has been known in the Philippines to have already spent more than a million pesos on BTS Merch and concert and events. The last time she was asked about the amount it was roughly P2.2 million. Last year, she already lost count how much she had spent on BTS merch and recently, she said she doesn't mind anymore the cost but the genuine happiness the merchandise gave her. “Happiness has no price,” she said.

Meanwhile, Memay had already spent around half a million pesos on BTS’s Albums, DVDs, Photocards, and fans-made merchandise collections.

HN: What’s the impact of collecting BTS merch on you?

For Mommy Etang, she said it is her way of replicating the inspiration the BTS has given her and to others. It is her way of continuing her beautiful journey as an ARMY and her way of expressing her love to them and by always supporting their message through music which is all about Loving Yourself.

Meanwhile, for Memay, it somehow gave her the pressure because she wanted to collect more, but above all it is the happiness that the merch brings to her that matters the most.

HN: What will you do with these collections in the future?

“My collection might appreciate in value or otherwise, but the happiness I get will always remain. A part of me is in every BTS stuff I have, each has a special memory to it. It is hard to part with items you hold, but if it can help others and if I have to, I am open to part with my collection for the memory I have of these stuffs lives in my heart,” Mommy Etang Said.

Memay also reiterated that she will sell, declutter, or will be having a quitting sale soon and just keep the merch that are close to her heart.

HN: What is your message to new ARMYs who wish to start collecting merch?

“Hmm... enjoy and make sure of that spark of joy every time you acquire a merch! Don’t get yourself into debt for impulsive buying or keeping up with the Joneses. What else? Don’t pressure yourself in acquiring everything, and be careful in transacting with sellers of course. Remember, not having a single merch doesn’t make you less of an Army or diminish your love for BTS,” Mommy Etang said.

For her part, Memay said to take it slow, no need to buy everything and just look for the merch that brings you “the spark.” Even if it’s just an unsealed album, just appreciate what you have.