By Raïssa Robles
It contained a piece of country music on “Imelda’s Shoes” by the rising comedy duo James “Sandy” Pinkard and Richard Bowden.
A friend of Mrs Belmonte had taped it in the US then brought the tape to Manila.
Mrs. Belmonte was my boss in Philippine Star newspaper where I was the lone investigative reporter. I reported directly to her.
I thought I had lost the tape forever until recently, when my hubby Alan found it in a box of old tapes containing my interviews with various sources.
Alan decided to make a YouTube video of the song, using many of the photographs of Imelda Marcos’ shoes which I had personally taken while covering the inauguration of a small part of her shoe collection in Marikina City. On that occasion, I asked Mrs Marcos what kind of shoe she was wearing and she readily pulled up her terno and showed me she had on flat heels. I quickly snapped a photo of that and it is in this slide show-video which Alan put together.
The racks of shoes you see were the actual racks that contained her shoes. The racks were in the basement beneath her huge bedroom inside Malacanañg Palace. I saw the racks myself the day after the Marcoses fled. My tour guide was Bea Zobel who had asked me – “Do you want to see Rustan’s?”. She was referring to the basement where Imelda Marcos’ shoes as well as her bras and underwear were all stored, unused with their price tags on.
When she was First Lady, Mrs Marcos was famous for wearing very high heels.
Mrs Marcos’ shoes have become an iconic symbol of the excesses of the Marcos dictatorship. She has tried to erase that by saying she only had 200 pairs. Fortunately, the country’s largest auditing firm SGV – which later partnered with Ernst & Young – had audited the shoes she had left in Malacañang Palace. SGV auditors counted 3,000 pairs.
You can read about that more in my earlier piece entitled:
Meanwhile, here is Pinkard and Bowden’s song that was inspired by her excess: