Fashion and Beauty

VIRAL: Duterte wears gift of 68-year-old Marikina shoemaker

Alixandra Caole Vila - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Marikina is known as the Philippine shoe capital and is home to many talented and hardworking artisans.

One of them is Rolando de Guzman Santos, a shoemaker who gifted President Rodrigo Duterte a pair of shoes, which the president proudly wore in his meeting with United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday.

President Rodrigo Duterte proudly shows a pair of custom-made leather shoes from Marikina to his Cabinet members few hours after his lunch meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

In an exclusive interview with Philstar.com last June 29, Boni Adaza of Davao City's Chardin fashion house, which designs barongs for Duterte, shared the touching story behind the brogue-style boots.

According to Adaza, Rosemarie, the daughter of Rolando sent the shoes to Chardin after learning that their design house would be tailoring one of the barongs for the president's inauguration.

“Meron ngang nag-message sa akin. She's a daughter of a shoemaker from Marikina. She PMd me through Facebook. Sabi niya sir, kabayan yung tawag niya, she was telling kung puwede ba daw ipadala niya yung gawa na sapatos ng tatay niya for President Duterte,” Adaza said.

Rosemarie also took to Facebook to share the efforts of his father who has been working in the Philippine footwear industry for 54 years.

"[G]agawin ko lahat ng mkakaya ko para matupad yung pangarap kong karangalan para sayo.. na isang araw maisusuot ng isang presidente ang sapatos na ginawa mo ng buong puso," the caption said.

The shoes arrived on June 28, two days before the inauguration, and they immediately forwarded them to the president. At the time of the interview last June 29, Adaza said Duterte already saw the shoes but it was still uncertain if he would wear them as the caramel color of the shoe does not complement the black pants they made for the president. The shoes also needed a stopper as they were slipping, Richard Pulatche, another designer of Chardin, said.

On the day of his oath taking, Duterte wore beige pants. Unfortunately, the president did not pair them with the shoes made by Rolando. 

Few weeks before Duterte's first State of the Nation Address, Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro urged congressmen to shun designer shoes and dresses and wear local products.

Rolando is just one of the many craftsmen in the Philippines who are appealing to the president to help restore the Marikina shoe industry to its former glory. — with Levi A. So and AJ Bolando

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