Marikina: The Shoe Capital of the Philippines
A 2,150-hectare land located in a fertile valley bounded by mountain ranges and bisected by a river, Marikina is one of the five municipalities and twelve cities that comprise Metro Manila on the island of Luzon, the biggest island in the Philippines. It is about 21 kilometers from the heart of the City of Manila. It is bounded on the east by the Sierra Madre mountain ranges and Antipolo City; on the west by the Quezon City hills; on the north by the Municipality of San Mateo; and, on the south by Pasig City and the Municipality of Cainta.
When the Spanish friars arrived in 1630, the place was established as a “pueblo,” and in 1637 it became a parish known as Mariquina, which was officially changed to Marikina by the Americans in 1901. Its lush farms and rice lands produced great quantities of rice and vegetables. But eventually, farming gave way to the shoemaking industry, which was started by Don Laureano “Kapitan Moy” Guevara in 1887. On December 8, 1996, this fast-growing municipality became a city. Because of the quality footwear it produces, the city has become known as the “Shoe Capital of Philippines.”
What to see in Marikina
This shoe capital of the country has its own share of attractions to offer. Heritage houses, historic churches and galleries vie for the attention of history and cultural buffs. Modern entertainment, sports, recreational facilities and parks are available. Cultural festivals such as the Rehiyon-rehiyon, Angkan-angkan and Marikina Christmas festivals are well-attended by foreign and local tourists alike. Among the city’s many attractions, the following are the most popular:
Sentrong Pangkultura ng Marikina: Located along J.P. Rizal Street in Barangay San Roque, this 200 year old building was once owned by “Kapitan May” himself, the acknowledged father of the shoe industry, and who designed and hand-made in 1887 within this heritage site the first ever pair of shoes in Marikina. Inside this edifice is the interesting Doll Museum, whose dioramas depict the history and cultural heritage of the city.
Shoe Museum: Also located along J.P. Rizal Street, this edifice was built in the 1860s and was used as an arsenal by the Spanish colonialists. At the closed of the Philippine-American War in the 1900s, this historic place was used to house the detention cell of General Sakay, one of the last Katipunan leaders. In 1998, this heritage site was turned into the Shoe Museum that showcased 800 pairs of the shoes belonging to the former First Lady, Imelda Marcos.
Our Lady of the Abandoned Church: This place of worship located along J.P. Rizal Street was built by the Augustinian friars in 1700s and destroyed by two earthquakes that occurred in 1816 and 1880 and was gutted by a fire in 1891. In 1963, this famous landmark underwent a series of renovations that restored this heritage place to its former glory.
The World’s Largest Pair of Shoes: Certified as the largest pair of shoes in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records, this tourist attraction can be found at the Shoe Gallery of the Riverbanks Mall located along the banks of the Marikina River in Barangay Barangka.
The aforementioned tourist destinations are just a few minutes from the City Hall, which lies at the heart of the city. These can easily be reached by cab, jeepneys or tricyles which abound along the main road where these tourist spots are located. Expect to pay only the minimum regular fare duly approved by the government for the commuting public.
Where to Eat in Marikina
Marikina is known for the culinary delights that its inhabitants whip up during fiestas. Some of these special dishes which mirror the culture of the city are featured at very reasonable prices in a couple of restaurants in the heart of the city right. Right along J.P. Rizal Street, you will find Aling Salud Panciteria, which serves the best noodles and whose specialty of the house is Pinagulong na Pancit (noodles rolled in oil and sauce). If you are looking for a wider food entrée, try Kusina ni Kambal, which also sits along the same street. This well-known restaurant is known for its yummy but reasonably priced Lumpiang Hubad.
However, if you are sightseeing west of the Marikina River, in Barangay Barangka, just a few hundred meters from the Marikina-Quezon City boundary, perhaps, you may want to walk into the Rivergrill Restaurant and Music Bar located in the Riverbanks Mall and have a taste of its grilled specialties. Less pricey chow is also available in fast food chains inside the mall such as Chow King, Tropical Hut and Jollibee. But if you are on the eastern side of the city and are looking for a place to eat, you may want to step into one of the many fast food chains and restaurants scattered inside the ultra modern Marquinton Plaza Mall just three minutes away from the City Hall.
Where to Stay in Marikina
Most major hotels in Metro Manila have established themselves in the bigger cosmopolitan cities of Makati, Manila, Quezon City, Pasig and Pasay. With the rapid urbanization of Marikina during the recent decade, this bustling shoe capital was is just about the only city east of Metro Manila that was able to put up a couple of tourist quality hotel accommodations that are reasonably priced.
The Marikina Hotel: Located along Pio del Pilar corner Tangerine Streets in Barangay Conception, this facility has 75 spacious fully air conditioned rooms that meet the basic needs of guests traveling on business or leisure. With rates starting at USD 33.00+ or about P1,400.00 at current exchange rates, guests will enjoy the following basic amenities: single or pull out beds, separate shower and comfort rooms, hot and cold shower, 80 channel cable television, NDD/IDD telephone access and coffee/ tea maker.
Pio Del Pilar Street - corner Tangerine Street
Brgy. Concepcion II - Marikina City
Phone: +632 998 8342 to 45
Fax: +632 998 8341
Riverbend Hotel: Located at Bonifacio Avenue, Riverbanks Center in Barangay Barangka, hotel rates start at P1,705.00. It has fully air conditioned rooms with cable television and telephone, conference room, wedding and banquet facilities, swimming pool and parking facilities. If you dig ballroom dancing and shopping in the nearby Riverbanks Mall, then this is the place for you.
84 A Bonifacio Avenue
Phone: +632 948 006
How to get to Marikina
How to get from Manila to Marikina and Back: There are two approaches to Marikina from Manila City Hall. The first is through the Magsaysay Avenue-Aurora Boulevard route via Ayala Bridge and the second is through the Quezon Boulevard-Espana-E. Rodriguez Avenue route via Quiapo Bridge. The modes of transportation plying both routes are buses, jeepneys and cabs. A portion of the Magsaysay Ave.-Aurora Blvd. route is service by the Metro Rail Transit system starting from the Legarda Street-C.Recto Avenue junction in Manila all the way up to Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. From there, you can hop into a jeepney, bus or cab that will take you to the country’s shoe capital. The fare for any combination of jeepney, bus or MRT is approximately P30.00 (one way), while a cab ride from Manila will cost you somewhere in the vicinity of P300.00 to P500.00 (one way) taking into account the notorious Metro Manila weekday traffic.
How to get from Cebu to Marikina and Back: To reach Marikina from Cebu, you can either fly or sail from Cebu to Manila then take a bus or cab to your final destination. Approximate cost of round trip plane ticket is P3,500.00 – P5,000.00 while a round trip boat fare is about P3,000.00 – P4,000.00. After you disembark at the Manila Domestic Airport or Pier area, you can take a cab, which will cost about P300.00 to P500.00 (one way). If you are not in a hurry, from your point of disembarkation, you can hop on a bus, jeepney or MRT which will take you to the famous shoe capital for less than P30.00 (one way).
How to get from Dumaguete to Marikina and Back: To reach Marikina from Dumaguete, you can fly from Dumaguete to Manila then take a bus or cab to Marikina. Approximate cost of round trip plane ticket is P3,500.00 – P5,000.00. After you disembark at the Manila Domestic Airport, you can take a cab to Marikina, which will cost about P300.00 to P500.00 (one way). But if you have less money and more time to spend, you can hop on a bus, jeepney or MRT which will take you to Marikina for less than P30.00 (one way).