FOR four consecutive years, Edieline Valencia never fails to attend the "Make Your Own Havaianas" at Limketkai Mall as she, a Havaianas fanatic, wants to buy a pair or two every year since the activity started in Cagayan de Oro in 2006.

The staff is busy fixing and attaching the straps and other accessories of the flip-flops while the customers wait. (Terry D.C. Betonio)

Valencia, a resident of Barangay Gusa, this city, says she has about 20 pairs of Havaianas in different colors and styles.

"I like Havaianas because it is comfortable and durable. And there are new styles and colors to choose from ever year. I can hand them down even to my

children," she says while showing the two pairs of Havaianas she personally chose at the opening of the three-day "Make Your Own Havaianas" at Limketkai

Rotunda, which started August 13 and runs until August 15.

Valencia adds she never minds the long wait as long as she gets to see how her favorite flip-flops are being made, right in front of her.

"One good thing about this is that I get to choose the style I want, the color and the accessories," she says.

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Like Valencia, hundreds of Havaianas fanatics trooped to Limketkai Center on Friday as they browsed through the new styles, colors and accessories the company offers this year.

In the Philippines, "Make Your Own Havaianas" is now on its fifth year.

Ejohn Pacaba of Havaianas Philippines says for this year, they are offering a limited edition pair and pin to celebrate the milestones of "Make Your Own Havaianas" in the Philippines.

"The pin is in the shape of a hand to symbolize the fifth anniversary and to show how each pair is a labor of love," Pacaba says.

He adds that the commemorative sole, considered as the first Philippine-designed sole to be offered at "Make Your Own Havaianas," spells out the event's acronym

MYOH at 5 (five years) using sign language to symbolize how each pair is "lovingly" assembled by the staff.

Havaianas is also offering a number of stylish and new options to celebrate its fifth anniversary - from silver letter pins and crystal-studded pins to jelly, fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark Top straps.

"The 'Make Your Own Havaianas' hopes to show off the creativity of Filipinos,"

Pacaba says.

Havaianas Philippines started in 2003 and Pacaba says the Filipinos are very receptive to the "flip-flops" concept.

"It's about the 'slippers' culture of Filipinos that make Havaianas stick because often, we prefer go to malls or stroll around in flip-flops. Slippers are also a big come-on to a tropical country like the Philippines," he says.

With the proliferation of other brands of flip-flops in the market, Pacaba says Havaianas stands out due to its durability and the comfort it offers with its soft soles.

As the market has been plagued with imitations, Pacaba says clients can really assure of "originals" if they buy them only at authorized outlets.

In Northern and Western Mindanao, there are about 12 to 14 authorized retailers of Havaianas products.

Cristina Maagad, Havaianas marketing and promotions unit leader, says they have authorized retailers in Ozamiz, Dipolog, Butuan, Surigao, Marawi, Bukidnon, Iligan and Zamboanga.

For this year's event, Havaianas brought to Cagayan de Oro 10 winners of a raffle it earlier conducted who were all given free pairs of Havaianas and other freebies plus free accommodation and transportation. The winners came from Ozamiz, Dipolog, Butuan, Surigao and Marawi.

"This is one way of showing our gratitude to our clients for patronizing us all through these years," Maagad says.

Havaianas fanatics can still catch up and buy their preferred styles as "Make Your Own Havaianas" is still open until Sunday, August 15.