Get to know Lolo Rolando, who made ‘shoes from the heart’ for Duterte

Images from Rosemarie Santos
  • A grandpa crafted a pair of hand-made shoes for President Duterte as a token of admiration
  • 68-year-old Marikina shoemaker was very happy to know that the President liked his gift
  • He sends his appeal to the president to help the shoe-making industry rise again
  • Daughter pledged to give honor to her father by asking the president to use her father’s ‘made from the heart’ shoes

Sixty-eight-year-old shoemaker Rolando de Guzman Santos from Marikina City crafted a pair of handmade shoes made of 100-percent leather and sent it as a gift to ‘his idol’; the new President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

As narrated to Kicker Daily by his daughter Rosemarie Santos, it was around 2PM of July 2 when Bonnie Adaza of Chardin Davao, the fashion designing team of the president, messaged them; confirming that the shoes fitted the president’s feet perfectly and that he liked it.

Hearing those, the shoemaker felt very happy as narrated by his daughter.

The shoes, as disclosed by Lolo Rolando, is his gift to the president as a token of admiration to Duterte for his boldness, authenticity and humility.

Rosemarie then added that: “He is the only politician whom my father made shoes for out of admiration for him.

However, with the gift is an appeal to the president  to make a way for the shoe industry in Marikina to rise up and shine again; especially that it was known before as the shoe capital of the Philippines.

Also, he is hoping that Duterte could bring real change as he promised. Following Digong’s campaign trail, the shoemaker finds hope in the new president.

“Makikita at mararamdaman mo ang sinseridad,” [You can feel the sincerity], he said; referring to Duterte’s inauguration speech.

THE SHOE FOR DUTERTE

Rosemarie contacted various people who could help her get in touch  with the President; until Adaza responded positively.

Through Adaza’s help, the shoes were able to reach the president and it would have been used by the President during his inauguration but it did not push through due to some changes in his wardrobe. Earlier, ABS-CBN News and Expat Media reported that they will be used by Duterte for the grand event.

“Ang akin lang naman sana ay maisuot niya ang sapatos na naibigay ko. Pasensya na siya kung ‘yun lamang ang kaya kong ibigay na regalo. Iyon (lang) ang aking kakayahan.” [My wish is that he will get to wear the shoes that I have given him. I’m sorry that is the only thing that I could give to him as a gift. That’s all I can manage], said Lolo Rolando.

But despite not being used at the inauguration, Rosemarie and Lolo Rolando are optimistic that the President would use it some other day.

Kicker Daily asked how long it took him to make the pair, and he said it took him two days to finish it! A real labor of love!

 

 

Images from Rosemarie Santos
Images from Rosemarie Santos

THE LOVING DAUGHTER’S PLEDGE

Rosemarie, on a Facebook post, pledged to do her best in bringing honor to his father as her dream for him: “na isang araw maisusuot ng isang presidente ang sapatos na ginawa mo nang buong puso”. […that one day a president will be wearing the shoes you made with all your heart.]

She also mentioned that shoe-making is her father’s legacy of 54 years; noting that Lolo Rolando started learning the craft at age 11 but professionally began at age 14.

“Para sa iyong 54 years legacy sa paggawa ng handmade shoes, baka kahit mag-hunger strike ako sa labas ng Malakanyang gagawin ko. Love you ‘tay.” [For your 54-year legacy of making handmade shoes, I might even go on a hunger strike to Malacañang if I need to. Love you, Dad.] she wrote.

Images from Rosemarie Santos
Images from Rosemarie Santos

THE SHOEMAKER’S CAREER

Lolo Rolando’s career in the shoe-designing and shoe-making industry informally began at the age of 11 when he started helping his father, a shoemaker.

He had been in the industry for 54 years and was able to design shoes for Bandolina, Lowie Shoes, Cebu Detasie, among almost all other shoe-making businesses in Marikina.

“Halos lahat dito kilala akong designer,” he said. [Almost everyone around here knows me as a designer.]

He also mentioned that he was offered to work in other countries but he refused; more out of fear as he could not communicate in English.

At the age of 68, the old man still maintains a good physique and can still manage to make shoes. His secret: no vices, proper diet, and his job serves as his exercise.

Lolo Rolando is a father to eight and a grandfather to 19.

Together with his wife, Perla, and their whole clan, he is waiting for that day when he gets to see President Duterte sporting his shoes “made from the heart.”

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