The Popular Tsinelas of Liliw, Laguna

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Just a few blocks away from Liliw Church is a series of shops selling the town’s most popular product – the “tsinelas”. While Marikina remains to be the Shoe Capital of the Philippines, the town of Liliw in Laguna is currently dubbed as the “Tsinelas Capital” of the country. Today, there are more than 200 shops in Liliw selling a large variety of sandals and slippers. Most of which can be found in the busy street of Gat Tayaw.

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Little is known about the history of the town’s shoe-making industry but the first footwear shop in the town is the Dimasira Footwear which was established in 1931. It was owned by Mr Casiano Pasueña who is dubbed as the “Father of Tsinelas” in Liliw. He made his first pair of Tsinelas using materials like the interior of a rubber tire and tistis or coconut spathe. The tsinelas of Liliw is known for its unique style and durability and the demand for these high-quality slippers drastically increased over the years. Since then, the locals followed Pasueña’s legacy and established their own footwear-making businesses in town.

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Most of these footwear are 100% handmade showcasing Liliweños’ impressive craftsmanship. While Liliw is also known for their Nipa hut cottages, almost 20% of its economy is comprised of the footwear-making industry. What really separates the town’s slippers from other well-established brands is the affordability of their slippers. Each pair can be bought for as low as Php180. They are selling these tsinelas for such affordable price without compromising its quality.

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The physical shops in Liliw, especially those in Gat Tayaw Street have become tourist magnets. Your trip in Liliw will not be completed without dropping by in Gat Tayaw to check their huge collection of slippers, sandals, and shoes. To save this booming industry in Liliw and to pass this almost a century old practice to newer generation of Liliweños, there’s a local ordinance suggesting to incorporate Tsinelas-making into the K-12 Curriculum.

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When visiting Liliw, also don’t forget to try their Ube Halaya and Kesong Puti

Places to visit in Laguna

This post is part of my Laguna Pilgrimage series 2022: Feel free to check the rest of my entries here:

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