This word is from the Spanish chinela (meaning: ‘slipper’).

slippers, flip-flops



When Filipinos say “slippers” in English, half of the time they’re referring to flipflops made of synthetic resin. These are the contemporary tsinelas.

Tsinelas are not mere footwear; they’re also used in the traditional Filipino game tumbang-preso and by Filipino parents to hit children with.

Latin-Americans call these flipflops, as well as thick slip-on slippers, chancletas, and Latin-Am parents also use them for hitting their kids, mostly preceded by a long throwing action from afar.

In contrast, Filipino parents are more likely to initiate the corporal abuse of their offspring really up close, sometimes while holding on to a limb to keep the child from escaping.

Another difference… Chancletas can be heavy, and that’s what makes them good to throw across a room. Tsinelas are mostly lightweight and don’t fly really well across space.

Beach Walk has been one of the more popular brands of tsinelas in the Philippines. The “vintage” brands are Spartan and Bantex… and Rammbo and Islander.

Chinelas is a non-standard spelling variation.

Tsinelerya (chinelerya / tsineleriya) would be the place where slippers and even shoes are made and/or repaired.

There is a widely known anecdote about the Filipino national hero Jose Rizal that features what could be tsinelas, though one is not sure what material they could’ve been made of.

One day, Jose went on a boat ride with his older brother. One of the young boy’s tsinelas fell into the river and was swept away. When Jose realized he would never be able to get it back, he threw the other half of the pair into the water. He explained to his brother that it didn’t make sense to keep just one half of the pair, but there was a chance that someone else would find the right and left tsinelas together and be able to use them.