whims & palaces

Philippines, like most tropical islands, uses flip-flops as its most common footwear. As a paradox, Metropolitan Manila houses today the “shoe capital of Asia” Marikina City, where 200,000 people are said to work on the shoe manufacturing industry along its Sandal Street or Slipper Street.

But this suburb is also the site where flip-flops pay tribute to a woman who had not enough time in her life to wear all the shoes she owned. After a popular revolt in 1986, former Dictator’s wife Imelda Marcos had to leave her collection of 2,700 pairs of shoes in the Presidential Palace, before fleeing the country. Imelda stock-piled 5,400 luxury brand shoes in the same way as other kings gathered over 3,000 women in their harems. Palaces, contrary to common dwellings, have this virtue of housing any possible paradox whim inside their walls. 18th century French merchant Beaujean was too fat to walk along his amazing gardens and suffered from insomnia inside a palace full of splendid bedrooms…

At least Imelda can show off her collection; some years ago she turned her precious treasure into a populist Shoe Museum, maybe as a tool to win Manila’s Major Elections. She was wearing a pair of locally made silver high-heels the day of the extravagant opening.

[image1> Malakañang Palace in Manila with Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection via indecorous taste] [image2> shoe manufacturers distribution in Marikina City, Manila by Allen J. Scott]

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