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THE ONE-MAN SHOEMAKER OF MARIKINA LIVES IN A SIMPLE LIFE I dont need a lot of money.

Simplicity is the answer for me. This is a famous quotation by Linda McCartney, whom Mariano Casimiro Acua of simply, Tatay Naning believes in. Tatay Naning is already resting in peace but when he is still alive, he is one of the few corrective shoemakers who make shoes for special ones like knock-kneed, bow-legged and flat-footed people, in Marikina City. He is not rich, smart, popular or even good-looking but he is simple enough and has desire to help the people in need of him which led him to what he treated as his simple success in life.

Tatay Naning came from a well-off family but at an early age, he applied as a shoemaker in Gregg Shoes, a popular shoes factory in Marikina, to learn how to make shoes since Marikina is known for this industry, Working as a shoemaker was not easy but with his desire to learn, he was able to enjoy the thing he was doing.

As time passed by, he learned more things about shoemaking not until, Gregg Shoes was bankrupt and its owner decided to close it down. The customers of the bankrupted factory, being satisfied with the quality of shoes they had bought there, became problematic where they can buy better shoes. Eventually, the owner of the Gregg Shoes referred them to Tatay Naning whom at that time was already skilled corrective shoemaker. At first, he was doubtful since he was not sure whether he could make it independently and in addition, he was not financially in need. But he realized that he had the talent, he could not see any hindrance to accept the offer so later on, he started his own shoe store.

Beginnings were always not easy just like in Tatay Nanings experience when he was starting his own business, he encountered some problems. First, he had a hard time in finding a place to put up his store. Marikina was his target place since it is known for shoemaking industry but because if this fact, it also means he had a lot of competitors. Second, he featured that he would be bankrupt too just like his past

employer especially that only few people go to corrective shoemakers. Third, at that time, he was already old and feared that he would be too busy and he would have not enough time for his family. But these problems were too small to stop him not until the destiny interfered with his life as a shoemaker and as a husband. Avelina Espinosa, his wife got an Alzheimers disease. She frequently forgot the things she was doing but the worst of all: she sometimes forgets him and other members of their family. During those times, he almost gave up and thought of closing his store which was starting to gain customers. But again, he thought that if he would close his store, many people would be affected just like what happened when Gregg Shoes got closed so he decided to continue his business but just transfer it to their house so he could still take care of his wife. He continued this routine until she died.

But his journey being a shoemaker was not always down. There were more good things that happened in his life as a shoemaker. First, being the only shoemaker in their family was a great advantage. According to his grandson Mr. Ariel Diccion who was closest to him, Lagi kaming may black shoes na pamasok. Halos araw-araw, tsini-check niya ang sapatos namin at kapag nakitang manipis na ang suwelas ay pinapalitan o tinatapalan ng bago (We would always have black shoes to wear. Almost every day, he was checking our shoes whether the sole of it is already thin and if it was, he would fix it). Lagi rin siyang may oras sa amin dahil sa bahay nga lang siya gumagawa ng sapatos. At kung gagawa siya ng sapatos ay pinapanunuod namin siya habang nagkukuwento ng kaniyang buhay noong kabataan niya (He always had time for us since he does the shoes [of his client] in [our] house only. And if he was making a pair of shoes, we would watch him as he told us stories about his childhood), he added.

Second, according to Mr. Diccion also that having Tatay Naning as a shoemaker let them [he and his cousins] learn not to be materialistic which for him is the most advantage they had. He said, Si Tatay Nano [or Tatay Naning] ay hindi itinuturing na mapagkakakitaan ang pagiging sapatero. Simple lang ang pananaw niya rito. Para sa kanya, ito ay isang personal na gawain. Corrective shoes kasi ang ginagawa niya at hindi tulad ng ibang sapatos na mabibili sa malls at iba pang

pamilihan. Bawat parte ng sapatos, siya ang gumagawa mag-isa at walang tulong ng makina sapagkat sa paggawa nito, may specific na tao na agad na gagamit nito at hindi maaari ang iba. Kaya sa paggawa niya ng sapatos, buong pagmamahal, panahon at lakas ang ibinubuhos niya rito (Tatay Nano did not treat his being a shoemaker as a form of business. He has a simple perspective of this. For him, it was a personal thing. The shoes he was doing were corrective shoes which were different from other shoes that can be bought in malls or in any store. Every part of each shoe, he did it without any help from anyone and without help of machines. In making shoes, he put his love, time and effort). Thats the reason why he is called the one-man shoemaker. Hindi niya iniinda, kung magkano ang ibinabayad sa kaniya, ang mahalaga ay nakatutulong siya sa ibang tao at masaya siya rito (He did not mind how much his clients was paying him, what is important to him was that he helped many people and he was happy with this), he added. Mr.Diccion also said that he did not wonder why every Christmas and New Year, the customers if his grandfather gave them a lot of food like ham, cheese, fruits, wine; it is because of his accommodation to people.

But maybe, that was not only the best advantage of being a shoemaker but also, he was able to uplift the name of Marikina City. Since he had a lot of customers inside and outside the Marikina, it helped the city be known around the country with its good shoes.

With all the good things Tatay Naning had done, time ended his story. Last April 29, 2001, he died peacefully at the age of 79. But wherever he is today, he is happy because he was able to achieve what he called simple successes --- to live in a simple life, to teach his family about life and to give self-confidence to knockkneed, bow-legged and flat-footed people. Up to now, although he is more than 10 years dead, his simplicity is still remembered by his clients and his family. They will never forget what he always says that every pair of shoes is masterpiece of him and every client is a trophy. He will always be the One-man Shoemaker of the Marikina.