Friday, February 12, 2010

Tatay Momoy and his Marikina Shoes

I’ve met people who consider their nice-looking cars or thoroughbred horses as their prized possessions. Not my Tatay Momoy. For a simple man like him, his Marikina-made leather shoes are his well-kept treasure.

Tatay came here in Manila from Agoo, La Union in the late 60’s as an innocent just-got-20-years-old man armed only with a few pesos in his pocket and a bag full of courage.

Good thing he easily got a job as a carpenter in Paco where he also met our future Nanay Conchit. Tatay has told us a lot of times how he charmed our mother with his good looks and porma with special mention to his shiny leather shoes. He would also tell us how he walked for miles from Pasig to Marikina just to buy his very first pair of shoes with his first paycheck. He considered it as his lucky pair since he was wearing it when nanay gave her sweet “yes” to him.

To make the story short, they got married and had six children. I am the eldest and have witnessed how Tatay raised this family for more than three decades and counting, though thick and thin. He loves shoes but he never had a huge collection of it. He just makes sure that when he buys a pair, they are durable and will last for years. He took care of them--- rub and shine every week. He would only get a new one when the shoes are already smiling from ear to ear.

I still remember during my grade school years, he always bring me to Marikina to get a pair of school shoes a month before classes start. And these shoes would really last until the next school year. Tatay really knows a thing about footwear and their life span. That’s why every time I need to get a pair for myself; going to Marikina is one of my first options.

But of all the memorable shoes stories of my father, the one which happened a month before my graduation was the most unforgettable and touching of all. I just came home from school when Tatay approached me. He gave me a box inside wrapped in a generic plastic bag.

He was scratching his head and sounded apologetic when he said, “Pasensiya na anak ha? ‘Yan lang ang nakayanan ng Tatay. Pwede mong gamitin sa graduation.”

It was a pair of black leather shoes with markings inside: Made in Marikina. I remembered wiping tears from my eyes that time but I did not show it to him because I felt it was kinda corny.

Today, I can’t help but smile every time I look at the black leather shoes I’m wearing in the office. It looks like the pair given to me by Tatay… the lucky shoes I was wearing when I got my first job, took a plane for my first overseas trip and visited the house of my then-girlfriend Leah to ask her hand in marriage.

Hmmm… I think I have my own shoe stories to tell my son Charles.

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