Marikina City, Manila

Marikina Shoe MuseumMarikina is known as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines. Marikina City is a lush valley bounded by mountain ranges and sliced by a river. The shoe industry has become a pride of the Philippines and a boost to the growth of its economy. The city also now boasts of hosting other big companies, multinationals, local and foreign, as well as leading exporting firms. Numerous banks, land development firms, residential realties, business centers, industrial centers, commercial centers, information and communication technology centers, hotels and condominiums is also boasts the city that Marikina rapidly into a highly urbanized city in a short time.

Marikina, a lush valley bounded by mountain ranges and sliced by a river, is one of the 14 cities and three municipalities comprising the Metro Manila area. It is approximately 21 kilometers away from Manila, and is bounded on the east by the Sierra Madre Mountains and Antipolo City; on the west by the hills of Quezon City; on the north by San Mateo; and on the south by Pasig City and the municipality of Cainta.

During its heyday, most of the shoes manufactured in the Philippines were made here. Known for its undeniable craftsmanship, Marikina shoes are still revered as the classic shoe—well made and finely crafted. So famous are the shoes, that there is a museum on JP Rizal St. dedicated to footwear. The Shoe Museum gives a glimpse of footwear history in Marikina and the world. In the late 1800’s, Kapitan Moy Guevarra learned and crafted shoes instead of the native bakya or wooden slippers, teaching and working with the locals during off-harvest season.

There are shoes from Philippine presidents and famous actors, but most notably 749 pairs of shoes from the lady who is known for her excessive and eccentric taste in footwear—Imelda Marcos. The building itself is historic, from an old Spanish arsenal, it also became the holding cell of General Macario Sakay during the Filipino-American war.

The House of Kapitan Moy Guevarra is now the Sentrong Pangultura ng Marikina (Cultural Center of Marikina). Buy a pair of this hometown product in the Marikina Shoe Trade Fair; Several churches, built in what we call “Earthquake Baroque,” are located in Marikina, such as the Lady of the Abandoned Church and Jesus dela Peña Church; In the last few years, Marikina has revamped itself to become a model city. The Marikina River Park is a system of expansive tree-lined walkers. It’s perfect for that morning jog and has 56-kilometers dedicated to bikers.

Marikina’s history provides an interesting glimpse into the events that helped shape its evolution.The Augustinians were the first to arrive at the Marikina Valley in 1500, at the spot known as “Chorillo” in Barangka. Next came the Jesuits in 1630, in a place now called Jesus dela Peña (Jesus of the Rocks). Here, the Jesuits established a mission and built a chapel.

In 1687, this pueblo became a parish known as Mariquina. In1901, with the coming of the Americans, its name officially became Marikina. The early settlers lived along the riverbanks and nearby fertile farms. With the industry of the natives, combined with the know-how of the early Chinese settlers, the farms began to produce rice and vegetables in great quantities until the valley became part of the country’s most prized hacienda. By the 19th century, Hacienda Marikina was owned and administered by the Tuason family and had become the biggest in the Philippines. For its massive size, natural beauty, and plentiful harvest, the hacienda was declared a mayorazgo (royal estate) by the Spanish colonial government

In 1887, Marikina’s shoemaking industry began through the pioneering efforts of Don Laureano “Kapitan Moy” Guevarra, assisted by Tiburcio Eustaquio, Ambrocio Sta. Ines, and Gervacio Carlos. Kapitan Moy’s worn-out pair of British shoes provided the creative spark: he took the shoes apart, painstakingly studied their components, and then made patterns out of them. After keenly observing the Chinese in Parian, Manila, he fashioned his own pair of shoes. With crude tools, raw materials, and the villagers’ support, Kapitan Moy subsequently mastered the art of shoemaking.

By the turn of the 20th century, Marikina emerged as a town of shoemakers. Honed by years in shoe manufacturing, the natives quickly developed a work ethic that had prepared them for the arrival of heavy industries in the 1950s. With the proliferation of industrial plants came waves of workers who had chosen to stay, rapidly increasing the population. In no time, shoe manufacturing flourished into a multi-million-peso industry, earning for Marikina the moniker, “Shoe Capital of the Philippines.”

On 11 June 1901 Marikina was incorporated in the newly created Province of Rizal by Act No. 137 of the Philippine Commission. In 1975, when the Metro Manila Commission was created under Presidential Decree No. 824, integrating four cities and 13 towns majority of which were in the province of Rizal, Marikina became part of Metropolitan Manila area. Legend has it that the Jesuits found an icon of the Infant Jesus among the boulders and, thus, decided to christen the new mission Jesus dela Peña or maybe because they were members of the “Society of Jesus” which made famous the place called Jesus dela Peña or Jesus of Stone.

When the Jesuits returned in 1689, they protracted the propagation of Christianity in the town, which included “Olandes” which was a part of Kalumpang. They left Jesus dela Peña, but they converted it to a plantation of wheat or trigo obtaining its name triguhan”.

When the church of San Roque was finished, the barrios of Barangka, Tañong and J. dela Peña were termed “Marikina”. The myths ad tales of the source of the word “Mariquina” were not yet justified but in the publication of a newspaper “La Illustracion Filipina” on 15 November 1859 and at the dictionary of Buseta published in Madrid in the same year, the name of “Marikina” was mentioned but they never mentioned its meaning.

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