I grew up near the beach in California. I grew up wearing flip flops.
But it wasn’t a cultural thing like it is in the Philippines.
Filipinos really love their flip-flops. My OFS, Julia, explains why.
Like other Asian countries, we take off our shoes here in the Philippines before going inside the house. Once we’re inside, we use slippers, aka tsinelas. And we love, love, LOVE our tsinelas.
This is the tsinelas. They’re also called sandals, flip-flops, or thongs in other countries.
Most Filipinos have at least two pairs of tsinelas, one for indoor use and another for outdoors. But it’s not unusual to see Filipinos have more than two pairs. In my house, we have slippers exclusively for the toilet and bathrooms. I also keep extra pairs for guests to use when they visit. Not to mention the “going out” pair we use if we want to wear something “dressier.”
And even though it’s safer to drive using shoes, some people keep a pair of driving tsinelas in the car.
We love our tsinelas because it’s so comfortable. They keep our feet cool in this tropical climate. It’s easy to clean and dry off when it gets wet. We’re so used to tsinelas we can hike for hours through rough terrain and not develop any blisters. We can bike and swim in them.
We even have uses for tsinelas when they wear out. We use worn tsinelas for art and crafts, as cockroach killers, toys (our version of NERF toys), doorstops, makeshift swimming paddles, pool and bath floaties, or DIY bike brakes.
When we travel, we always make sure to pack a pair. In offices, people will slip off their shoes and wear slippers under their desks. When I was in college, my go-to outfit was a t-shirt, jeans, and a pair of tsinelas.
Tsinelas, though, are really informal. Most schools and offices with dress codes ban them (but allow under-the-table slippers for comfort).
And you know how fancy restaurants have a “no shoes, no shirt, no service” policy? Here in the Philippines, the sign often includes “no slippers” because of the loophole that slippers are technically shoes.
And I love the culture.