Feet Factor

Liliw Travel Blog

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Socialite Footwear
No one in the group had ever been to this part of Laguna and it was through a number of stops on the road to ask for directions that we found our way through various towns to Liliw. I had done some research on the place prior to the trip and found other points of interest, I just wished that the others would find them appealing as well and that we'd have enough time to see them.

We reached an uphill road lined with shops on either side. I marvelled at the giant slippers that marked the entrances of a couple of stores as we slowly drove past looking for a place to park. Walking towards the particular shop where previous arrangements had been made for my interview, I was amazed at how there was almost nothing else to buy around here but slippers.
Kuchos


Socialite Footwear, one of the pioneers in the business, is a modest sized shop typical of the area, occupying the ground floor of a three-story building. We surveyed the racks, scrutinizing the varying types of flip flops that packed the display. There were the typical thongs, slip-ons, heeled sandals - all made with native materials embellished with beads and all sorts of other trimmings. My favorite, however, would have to be the kucho (or cocho), the fuzzy beaded bedroom mules that were all the rage back in the day of my grandmothers' time.

After the interview, we were taken to their factory - an old converted garage where all but 10 employees can churn out 400 pairs in a single day! With a vast and steady stream of clientele, it takes even less time for them to dispose of their goods.
Colorful abaca beaded thongs


While Marikina may be the shoe capital of the Philippines, the little town of Liliw in Laguna has gained recognition as being the country's slipper or tsinelas central. The baby steps were taken over 50 years ago when the Japanese introduced the rubber slipper during their occupation. From the kuchos to the hipper flip-flops of the modern day, Liliw has created a heritage unique to this town. Tsinelas stores and factories are concentrated right off the church, which made it easy for people to discover them during their holy week pilgrimages. Everyone from your average Inday to Imee Marcos (clearly following in her mother's footsteps) flock over quite regularly as you can thoughtlessly horde 10 pairs without spending more that P1.
Badong Footwear celebrates the Tsinelas Festival all year round
5K (U$35). I know I did! That said, Liliw has become a mecca for retailers in Manila. So if you're not willing enough to make the trip, just be prepared to pay up at least double what they cost in Liliw.

The slipper industry has stepped up over time so much so that a Tsinelas Festival has been deemed necessary in 2001. Like most festivals around the country, this too, is a week-long celebration of merry-making, pageantry, and of course, the requisite shopping.

As expected, there wasn't enough time to scour the rest of the place and I therefore missed the chance to check out the church. There are, however, a number of charming old houses and the ever-popular Arabela's Italian restaurant where we had an excellent provincial Italian lunch.

marix_sublime says:
your entry is like down memory lane for me. i had a lot of good memories of liliw....which i'd like to think as the tsinelas capital ...of laguna....hahhaha...bka me mag claim pa na iba kasi, philippines sana sasabihin ko. i tried arabela as well...ok ang place, me ambiance diba? :) i forgot if jan sa liliw un undergound cemetery o sa kalapit na bayan ng nagcarlan. i used to go there a lot during university days, eons ago. thanks to your blog, somehow, my mind revisited liliw through your words...thanks!
Posted on: Jun 13, 2009
Isabetlog says:
M'dear, maraming salamat. nagugulat ako sa mga compliment mo :)
Posted on: Oct 02, 2008
blurbmoi says:
nice blog friendship! hay galing mo talaga magsulat:-)
Posted on: Oct 02, 2008
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Socialite Footwear
Socialite Footwear
Kuchos
Kuchos
Colorful abaca beaded thongs
Colorful abaca beaded thongs
Badong Footwear celebrates the Tsi…
Badong Footwear celebrates the Ts…
More beaded flip-flops
More beaded flip-flops
Socialite factory
Socialite factory
Socialite factory
Socialite factory
Socialite factory
Socialite factory
Old ancestral home
Old ancestral home
My companions
My companions
Liliw Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
City Dining in a Provincial Town
Arabela's is probably the only place of its kind in Liliw. It's a tiny air conditioned restaurant that seats no more than 30 people. The ceiling is lo… read entire review
98 km (61 miles) traveled
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Liliw
photo by: planisphere