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Friday, 16 February, 2001, 15:22 GMT
Homage to Imelda's shoes
Imelda Marcos with her shoes
Mrs Marcos shows off shoes she wore while first lady
The world's best-known shoe collector, former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos, has opened a museum in which most of the exhibits are her own footwear.

Filipinos don't wallow in what is miserable and ugly. They recycle the bad into things of beauty

Imelda Marcos

The Marikina City Footwear Museum in Manila contains hundreds of pairs of shoes, many of them found in the presidential palace when Imelda and her husband, President Ferdinand Marcos, fled the Philippines in 1986.

Imelda Marcos
An emotional moment for Mrs Marcos
"This museum is making a subject of notoriety into an object of beauty," Mrs Marcos told reporters.

The museum management hopes it will help attract tourism to Marikina, a district known as the shoe capital of the Philippines.

"They went into my closets looking for skeletons, but thank God, all they found were shoes, beautiful shoes," a smiling Mrs Marcos said, wearing a pair of locally made silver shoes for the day.

"More than anything, this museum will symbolise the spirit and culture of the Filipino people.

"Filipinos don't wallow in what is miserable and ugly. They recycle the bad into things of beauty," she said.

Symbol of extravagance

The exhibits include shoes made by such world-famous names as Ferragamo, Givenchy, Chanel and Christian Dior, all size eight-and-a-half.

There are also shoes belonging to former President Fidel Ramos and other well-known figures.

Imelda Marcos
The espadrilles she wore when she fled the presidential palace
During her time as first lady, Mrs Marcos was famed for travelling the world to buy new shoes at a time when millions of Filipinos were living in extreme poverty.

President Marcos' successor, Corazon Aquino, ordered many of Mrs Marcos' shoes to be put on display as a demonstration of her extravagance.

While Ferdinand Marcos died in exile, never seeing his country again after his fall from grace in a popular uprising, his widow has reintegrated herself into Philippines life.

She has twice run for president and analysts say she may run for mayor of Manila next May.

Last December Mrs Marcos underwent surgery to remove a blood clot close to her brain, which doctors say could have killed her.

Some 200,000 people work in the Marikina district making shoes, with roads carrying names such as Sandal Street and Slipper Street.

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See also:

31 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
The day I met Imelda Marcos
08 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
Philippines cult idolises Marcos
06 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific
Imelda Marcos acquitted
04 Jul 99 | Asia-Pacific
Imelda Marcos turns 70 in style
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