MANILA, Philippines?The wooden clogs called ?bakya? is the national footwear in the Philippines and the most popular footwear in the 50?s till ?70?s that is until the introduction of rubber slippers. So popular even, that there is a folk song and movie inspired by it ?Bakya Mo Neneng.?
Today, this open airy casual sandals makes a comeback as it gives a new twist to fashion, comfort and health.
?Bakya? as we know it is simple wooden clogs with plastic strap. Mostly remembered as the traditional footwear worn with our national costume the baro?t saya. But the other connotation of the word refer to poor taste and eventually to a more general term of ?pang-masa.? But come to think of it, the word ?bakya? is simply a fond reference to humble beginnings.
Through the years, the ?bakya? has evolved thanks to the ingenuity of a company called Happy Feet -which since the 70?s have continually given new twist to this classic, traditional and very ?Pinoy? footwear.
Owned and managed by the Fausto family, Happy Feet not only transformed but also elevated the basic, functional look of the ?bakya? to conform to the market. Says, VP for Marketing Oogie Fausto, ?We wanted our company Happy Feet to make a classic footwear like ?bakya? a hot, stylish fashion item whilst incorporating one?s health and well-being into making it. We take prime importance in proper foot support, hygiene and walking right.?
To make ?bakya? stylish the wood base was not just shaven it was painted, varnished and at times carved. The strap was changed to leather, a softer and more hygienic material. The footbeds with heel gel cup and triple-layer sole features are also made orthopedic and breathable for utmost comfort and wellness. Oogie even adds that the toe grip design enables foot exercise which helps strengthen the feet and used properly will give wearer shapely legs!
And because of its wood material the ?Bakya? is very sturdy, does not get deform and can be worn for all seasons.
The product lines of Happy Feet have broadened to cater to the needs of the market. The thong slippers that help center the foot to help the wearer walk properly; For those with health considerations Happy Feet offers the Orthopedic footbed series:Regina sandals (replaceable straps) Glide Sandals (unisex models) Fixed Strap models (Marizza, Abby, Betsy, Gabby, etc.); for casual sporty it offer the sneakers line available for toddlers, kids, ladies and men?s; and its premium HF Collections; for ladies ?the high heeled models- ballet flats; for Men -casual leather shoes with gel heel cup for extra comfort and support; for Kids -wooden sandals with orthopedic footbeds-kids school shoes Sole-lites.
But more than anything, Oogie says his family finds success in bannering a Philippine footwear and Pinoy brand internationally. ?Happy Feet are proudly made in the Philippines. The raw materials, craftsmanship and manufacturing are all sourced and done here. We are specially proud too of our very talented pool of Filipino craftsmen who have made making, carving and painting this traditional footwear ?bakya? an art.?
Happy Feet is exported to many countries in Europe and Oogie hopes that they can expand and find distributorship in Asia and the US in the future.
There are a few instances when both tradition and fashion are mixed together and for a country which values culture and style?revisiting ?bakya? is a testament of how customary footwear can evolve with changing times and yet remain endearing to what is very Filipino.
Happy Feet are available in all SM outlets, Glorietta 1, Robinsons Galleria, Wilson, San Juan, and Pavillion Mall, Binan.