Located on the far fringes of Metro Manila, the city of Marikina seems more quaint town than busy district. Its clean streets and clear, orderly roads are a far cry from some colourful but jeepney-polluted, trash-strewn areas in downtown Manila. It is also known as the shoe capital of the Philippines, manufacturing about 70% of the country’s shoes.
Those looking for a relaxing day trip away from the hustle and bustle (without burning a hole in your pocket) should consider paying this place a visit :)
**Also, be sure to stop by this charming restaurant called Rustic Mornings!
Colourful sights and sounds await at the Marikina Public Market/Market Mall, one of the biggest and most well-maintained markets in Metro Manila. Divided into wet and dry areas, expect everything from fresh produce to bargain wares. Over at the wet area, slabs of meat hang from hooks and vividly green vegetables are laid out in neat rows. The dry area sells everything from home decorations, pots and pans, cheap clothing and imitation underwear (‘Triumph’ bras for PHP100, anyone?). No doubt some city folk and Western tourists will find it fascinating. Coming from KL, this feels comforting and familiar :D
Since it was close to Christmas, there were stalls selling lights and decorations.
Just nearby is the Kapitan Moy Museum. Despite its modern looking facade, this adobe (mud brick) building dates back to the 1700s. It has cultural and historical significance, since the first shoe in Marikina was made here in 1887, it was visited by national hero Andres Bonifacio, and American troops camped here in 1901. The inside houses several sections such as a Doll Museum and a City Museum.
Clean and orderly streets!
Sorry, the last time I was in Manila I was in some pretty bad areas so this was quite different for me. It’s good though that I got to see this other side.
Across the road from the museum is the Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish church, home to an image of the Virgin Mary which has received Papal recognition. The church itself dates back to 1572, but the building was only built at its present site in the 1600s. It is made from adobe, gravel, cement, mortar and steel. Like many historical sites in Manila, this was ravaged during the Philippine-American war, but restored in the 1950s.
Figures of saints line the exterior of the church.
Belltower next to the main entrance.
Also down the road is the Marikina Shoe Museum, dedicated to the city’s biggest industry. Formerly the only rice mill in town, the small building also served s a jail for captured Filipino fighters and soldiers. It was made into a shoe museum in 2001 and today houses part of former first lady Imelda Marcos‘ impressive shoe collection. The surrounding sidewalks have embedded slabs of shoes captioned with names of famous local celebrities and figures ala Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Mannequins depicting the shoe making process using old sewing machines and tools.
Shoes from recent design competitions. Some were flashy and eye catching to say the least; others looked like they belonged in science fiction movies! Points for creativity, though, I could never imagine walking out of my house in those heels. :D
Showcase of the different types of shoes, such as cavalier boots and roman strap sandals. There was also a section dedicated to shoes worn by famous local celebrities and politicians.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the museum is Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection. There were hundreds of pairs (and this is only a small fraction of her entire thousand-pair wardrobe!) I wonder if she has ever worn some of these shoes more than once.
While she has made contributions to the nation, especially in terms of promoting art and culture, Marcos was infamous for her extravagant lifestyle and penchant for expensive things, while her dictatorial husband robbed the country of billions. Her bouffant hair and love for luxury is reminiscent of a certain politician’s wife in Malaysia as well lol.
Black and white pictures of the ‘First Lady’. Despite her reputation, she was reelected as congresswoman four times after returning from exile. The Marcos family are still influential in politics today.
Traditional attire, the Filipiniana and the Barong Tagalog, often worn by the First Couple during their official functions.
MARIKINA SHOE MUSEUM
J. P. Rizal St, Marikina, 1801 Metro Manila, Philippines
Entrance fee: PHP50
Opening hours: Daily (8AM – 5PM)