In Manila, or the Philippines in general, we don’t have Spring, Winter or Fall. We only have the sweltering heat of summer or the pounding rainy season. And in between those two, we have a momentary pleasant weather around the Christmas season. I’m like a human barometer. I can tell if it will rain because I’m usually very uncomfortable and will refuse to budge from one corner. Unlike the most adventurous folks here, I’m not the one to dress up looking like I’m up for a tundra experience. My layering is limited to two – just a shirt and a light jacket/cardigan, if the weather really permits.
However, I have started a growing fondness for wearing Doc Martens. I don’t usually love these types of shoes because it used to remind me of the combat boots I vehemently loathed when I was still in high school for that compulsory military training. Each Friday, I would drag myself out of bed and force myself to clean and shine that stupid pair. Fast forward to a decade after and I’ve already sworn my allegiance to these boots.
When it rains, I might be wearing flip flops on a casual day because I don’t mind getting my feet wet. But when I’m wearing socks, I abhor getting them wet. Well, I don’t know anyone who likes that, but the point is that I try to avoid it as much as possible. I had a slight misjudgment last Thursday on my way to work. On Thursdays and Fridays, until the end of June, our office allows us to wear jeans and sneakers. So I wore my favorite white YSL sneakers but bad luck struck me when I was a block away from the office. It rained extremely hard! I was forced to stop walking twice for five minutes because I did not want to ruin my shoes. When I got in, I immediately removed my socks and changed into the spare pair of loafers I keep under my post. I then spent the next five or ten minutes under the hand dryer to dry my socks. I’ve worn Doc Martens since Monday, and of all the days I chose not to wear them, it rained pretty hard because of the passing of the first typhoon of the year.
Doc Martens saved my life. I only have two pairs I bought secondhand from Sulit.com.ph. One was a brown 8-eyelet and the other one was a curious pair of black 14-eyelet. The latter is quite radical and I don’t remember wearing them over my pants. I just fold my pants halfway over the boots on the 8th hole, and they will look perfectly okay. The brown one was my favorite pair. It is already worn out and rugged, which gave it the exact character I like.
It’s difficult to look for a black 8-hole pair here, though. I’ve been searching for months and I still can’t find one. They used to sell Doc Martens here in Manila years ago, but eventually ceased distributing them. But from what I’ve heard, there’s this shop in Bonifacio High Street that sells Doc Martens. I still did not have a chance to visit the place, but I don’t fancy buying a new pair that presumably costs more than Php 5,000 because I’m a cheapskate most of the time. I’m a true bargain hunter. Similarly, I don’t like to break in a new pair. I love already broken in pairs. I generally love boots and high-tops as they are my version of high heels! Men’s sartorial choices are pretty limited and it’s really frustrating.