The most famous local shoe brand of the Commonwealth era—ANG TIBAY—was started by the successful Filipino industrialist, Teodoro Toribio (b,1887/d.1965) back in 1910. His ‘rags-to-riches’ story began when the impoverished Teodoro left school to work in a cigar factory for 80 centavos a week.
The ambitious boy, however, had other ideas. At age 20, he learned slipper-making in a Calle Juan Luna shop and after 3 years of working, he had saved enough to start his own hole-in-the-wall slipper business along Rizal Avenue which he named “Ang Tibay”.
The business flourished and soon, Toribio was exporting to Hawaii. His chain of slipper shops included 15 Manila and 2 provincial branches. From slippers, Toribio began making shoes after acquiring a second-hand shoe machine.
His business boomed even more, and he became known as the “King of Slippers and Shoes”. His large, art deco-style factory in Caloocan, near the Bonifacio Monument, produced shoes and slippers by the hundreds of thousands, and worn by everyone—from the man on the street to high society people.
A believer in modern advertising, Teodoro even had a slogan for Ang Tibay—"The Wear That Lasts". His best endorsers were the people who wore his shoes, and many of these were men and women of influence whom he hobnobbed with, as his stature as a respected industrialist grew. His high profile clients included top executives, ranking government officials, educators, and even at least two presidents!
They willingly allowed their likenesses to be used in small ads that appeared in the leading magazines in their day, particularly Graphic Magazine.
Ang Tibay became the premier shoe factory in Asia, a testament to the modern industrial development in the Philippines. Teodoro became a millionaire many times over, allowing him to go on trips around the world. He was named as one off the “Big 4” of the Philippines—based on his wealth and success.
At its height, there was practically a pair of “Ang Tibay” shoes in every Filipino home. His product line included basic shoes, customized-made-to-order shoes for the elite, and even combat boots, which were worn by thousands of Filipino soldiers who went to war.
Teodoro’s “Ang Tibay” business survived the post-war years, but by the end of the 60s decade, it started to feel the effects of international competition as Japan and China overtook the Philippines in industrializing their industries. The situation was exacerbated by corruption, political instability and the changing taste of the market.
True, “Ang Tibay” was a heritage brand, but it was also looked at as old and passé. The descendants of Toribio continued with shoemaking using different brand names.
“Ang Tibay” may have come and gone, but for sure, it has its place in history, shodding the feet of several generations of Filipinos—from every Juan to the highest executive of the land. It is not only the wear that lasts, but also the legacy of one Toribio Teodoro.
NOTES ON THE PRINT AD ‘MODELS’:
- PRES. MANUEL L. QUEZON (b.19 Aug. 1878/d. 1 Aug. 1944) was a Filipino statesman, soldier, and politician who served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines 1935-1944
- SEC. ELPIDIO QUIRINO (b. 16 Nov. 1890/d. 29 Feb. 1956) was a Filipino politician of who served as Quezon’s Secretary of Interior and Finance , and who became the sixth President of the Philippines, 1948 -53.
- DR. CAMILO OSIAS (b. 23 Mar. 1889/d. 20 May 1976 ) was a Filipino politician, twice for a short time President of the Senate of the Philippines.
- DR. FRANCISCO BENITEZ (b. 4 Jun. 1887/30 June 1951) was an outstanding educator, author, editor, and the first dean of the School of Education of the University of the Philippines.
- SEC. EULOGIO RODRIGUEZ (b. 21 Jan. 1883/d. 9 Dec.1964) was a Filipino politician and a long-serving Senate President after Quezon.
- DON RAMON FERNANDEZ (b. 12 Apr.1878/ 10 Nov. 1964) was a prominent businessman, who became Manila mayor (1920-23), and later, a senator.
- DON RAFAEL PALMA (b 24 Oct. 1874 /24 May 1939) was a Filipino politician, Rizalian, writer, educator and a famous Freemason. He became the fourth President of the University of the Philippines.
- DON GONZALO PUYAT (b. 20 Sep. 1878/d. 5 Feb. 1968) was an industrialist who started the "House of Puyat" that became well-known as a premiere maker of furniture, billiard tables, bowling alleys and steel mill products.
- DR. JOSE REYES (b. 5 Dec. 1899/d.1973) was the youngest Dean of the University of the Philippines Junior College, Cebu.
- HON FELIPE BUENCAMINO JR., was an assemblyman, from Nueva Ecija
- DON PRUDENCIO REMIGIO was a prominent Manila attorney and former member of the Philippine legislature.
- MR.FELIX BAUTISTA was an assistant solicitor general of Department of Justice
- ASSOC. JUSTICE ANTONIO VILLA-REAL (b. 17 Jan. 1880/ 12 Feb. 1945) was a Filipino jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
- USEC LEON GUINTO (b. 28 Jun 1896/d.10 Jul. 1962) was a distinguished public servant from the Commonwealth period up to the post-war era, best known as the war-time Mayor of the City of Manila in the Philippines.
- ARCH. TOMAS MAPUA (b. 21 Dec. 1888/ 22 Dec. 1965) was the founder and first president of the Mapúa Institute of Technology (MIT) , established in 1925. He was the first registered architect of the Philippines.
- GEN. VICENTE LIM (b. 24 Feb. 1888/ d. 31 Dec. 1944) was a brigadier general and World War II hero, the first Filipino graduate of West Point (Class of 1914).