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Monday, August 9, 1999 Published at 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Imelda's shoes on show

Imelda Marcos: The Steel Butterfly of the Philippines

Some of the shoes belonging to the former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos are to be put on display in a museum in the Manila area.

John Mclean: "The shoes became a symbol of the Marcos's extravagence "
The Philippines' shoemaking capital of Marikina has acquired 200 pairs of shoes from her famed collection for a new shoe museum.

They had hoped to obtain all 1,220 pairs of shoes abandoned at the presidential palace after President and Mrs Marcos fled the country in 1986 during the people power revolution.

New President Corazon Aquino, accused Ferdinand Marcos of stealing billions of dollars during his 20-year rule and ordered many of his assets seized.

She had Mrs Marcos' shoes displayed in the palace as a symbol of the former first lady's extravagance.

However, they were removed from display and placed in a basement storeroom when Fidel Ramos took power in 1992.

Gathering dust

Since then they have been left to gather dust and were largely forgotten.

[ image: Part of the famed collection rumoured to be 3,000 pairs]
Part of the famed collection rumoured to be 3,000 pairs
The transfer of some of the shoes to the museum was approved by current President Joseph Estrada on condition they could be returned if the government needs them as evidence in pending cases against the Marcoses.

Most of Mrs Marcos' shoes are expensive foreign-made brands and less than 10 pairs were actually made in Marikina.

Pairs of her size 8 1/2 shoes obtained by the museum include one with gold trim, another studded with rhinestones and two pairs of knee-high boots.

The museum has been unable to obtain a famous battery-operated pair that blinked when Mrs Marcos danced.

The former First Lady, who says she still has thousands of pairs of shoes, has acknowledged she was hurt when her collection became the subject of jokes.

She said she once saw a New York shoe shop poster saying: "There is a little Imelda in all of us."

Marikina officials hope the shoe museum will lure tourists and buyers and boost its shoe industry, which has been hurt in recent years by rising prices of imported leather and competition from foreign brands.

As for Mrs Marcos, she still walks around Manila a free woman and is reported to have no shortage of eye-catching pairs of shoes.

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