The sleepy little town of Liliw, Laguna is known for its historical church, mountain springs, and handmade footwear. All up and down P. Burgos Street and Gat Tayaw Street, you can find shops selling strappy sandals, boots, kids’ school shoes, leather shoes for formal occasions, beaded house slippers, stylish slip-on shoes, and of course, tsinelas.
The shoes in Liliw are priced much lower than those in malls and specialty stores in the city, especially considered their good quality. One of the best deals you can avail of there is the three-for-100 slippers. Many visitors buy dozens for pasalubong or Christmas gifts for loved ones. They come in a variety of colors and styles. My favorite are the funky, colorful tsinelas with squared-off edges.
Progressive Footwear has been selling shoes in Liliw since 1963. I spent Php350 for two pairs – but the temptation to hoard was great. They offer all kinds of shoes in colors for every taste and every outfit.
A few months ago, I bought a pair of sandals at a bazaar for Php300. They were cute but unfortunately didn’t last long, so I was in the market for a replacement. I wanted something easy to slip on and easy to clean that I could wear to not-too-formal gigs or regular nights out with friends.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that these were only Php250. I got them in navy blue. They have a tiny heel — high enough to give me a little extra height, but not so high that I feel like I’m going to fall over. I also love a shoe that I can wear with either a cocktail dress or jeans, and I think these fit the bill.
The other Php100 went to this plain but practical pair of sandals, complete with an ankle strap secured by a small strip of velcro. In total, I spent Php450 for five pairs of shoes. Even on a sale day, that might not even buy one pair of shoes at a department store.
Bonus: After shopping, head to Arabela restaurant on Plaza Rizal Street for a cozy, intimate dining experience. They serve Italian food and an impressive array of cakes and other desserts. They also sell snacks and tea and coffee that you can bring home and prepare yourself.
To get to Liliw, take a bus to Sta. Cruz, Laguna from Cubao. Get off the bus at the bus station and flag down a jeep to Liliw. You can also take a Lucena-bound bus and get off in San Pablo and catch a jeep there instead.