For Davao folk, Havaianas are not just fashionista flip-flops

May. 19, 2008

DAVAO CITY — A favorite anecdote of those in the business of selling Havaianas was the story of how a fisherman fell in love with these Brazilian flip-flops when it officially arrived in Mindanao, wearing his first pair while hauling fish at the Cagayan de Oro public market.

Margarita Montemayor-Nograles, Havaiana’s subdistributor for southeastern Mindanao, said the fisherman had heard somewhere that these flip-flops were comfortable and very durable and so decided to buy.

Perfect fit! ( photo by Jonald Mahinay)

He wore the flip-flops hauling and selling fish at the Cagayan de Oro public market. Word spread around and other fisherfolk were also lining up for a pair.

What was remarkable about the fisherman’s story was not that Havaianas were imported flip-flops or that these were preferred by fashionistas, but that the cheapest pair of Havaianas cost more than 600 pesos then.

Students strike a pose with their Havaianas buds. ( photo by Jonald Mahinay)

Nograles said that the fisherman was among the earliest customer of Havaianas when the Brazilian flip-flops opened its first Mindanao outlet in Cagayan de Oro city.

At the three-day “Make Your Own Havaianas” event in Davao in March, over 6,000 people came to see the displays at the Gaisano Mall on the first day alone, Nograles said. Those who came to buy were not only the fashionistas but also some salesladies from Gaisano department store and other boutiques, clerks, employees and homemakers, as shown in the forms the customers filled up upon buying a pair.

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