Saturday, October 25, 2008

Shoe Repair Row

This is the other great find as I roamed Dumaguete. Mr. Quickie, eat your heart out hehe!

Across from the public market just after the ‘terminal’ of Dauin-bound “esrides” was a row of commercial establishments that I thought was a great vantage to take photos of the market buildings. So I went there to do just what I wanted, take pictures of the public market across the street.

I was in for a surprise!

This row of stores across the fruit and vegetable markets (Colon St.) are mostly “general merchandise” stores that sell everything from drinking glasses to fishnets. And yes, at this side, some of them are displaying some of their wares beyond the confines of their stores (meaning by the sidewalk) but not so that no one can already pass. However, those wares do not at all take much space of the sidewalks. The stores are fronted (on the sidewalk) by a row of an interesting group of craftsmen – shoe repairers! Yep, they’re silently professing their trade in this area and they surely caught my attention as there are a lot of them.

It was interesting to watch them do their craft without any formal location like you would expect Mr. Quickie in all of SM’s Malls. Here, these folks just position themselves on the sidewalks (I would suppose permanently or perennially) and you go to them to have your footwear repaired. Hmm, if ever they transferred or moved to new locations you’d be in for a complicated search to find the manong that you entrusted your Nike or Adidas for repair hehe!

They are just there silently and painstakingly repairing footwear as crowds pass by. I observed them for a while and there is not much of a talking between them. They would from time-to-time engage in a light banter (like when I was obviously watching them), but generally, they’re on their own armed with big needles, threads and glues trying to mend footwear of all kinds – seated on very low stools w/ the footwear being repaired generally piled just beside or in front of them.

Watched one manong try to re-attach the sole of one shoe. Step number one was he ripped the sole totally apart with all his mighty strength that it made me gasp and say, OMG he’s actually destroying that footwear! In fact he was, and he succeeded! Next he dipped two fingers in a little jar of glue (yep, rugby, that solvent that street urchins in Manila inhale) then started wiping it on the exposed parts of the sole and the shoe that he just ripped apart. Then he placed it on the ground as if to let it dry, got the other shoe, examined it to “check for defects” and also ripped the sole away.

When the manong was done wiping glue on the other shoe, he also placed it on the ground but picked the first shoe that he had wiped glue on. He inserted it upside down on what seemed like an inverted wooden foot, got a kind of hammer and started pounding on virtually ever space of the sole. There were no nails but I watched him whack the hammer with all his strength on all parts of that show sole. Oh now I realized he was ensuring the glue would do the trick of attaching the sole back to the shoe. When he seemed to be happily examining if it was a success, I thought that was it… but there was a next step! The manong got an already threaded big needle and starting sewing the sole into the shoe! I just stood there watching him for what seemed like half an hour.

When manong finished sewing, he tossed the shoe to the ground and smiling at me exclaimed (in English): “good as new”!

For a chronology of stories on this trip, click the following article numbers:

01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18
19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35


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