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Marikina River City - Philippines Travel Guide
Marikina City has been known as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines. But in recent years, this erstwhile quiet valley east of Metro Manila has emerged to be more than just the center of the shoe industry with its transformation into a highly urbanized city in 1996.
Marikina is a valley which lies 6 kilometers east of Manila. It is bounded on the east by the Sierra Madre, on the west by the hills of Quezon City, and on the north by San Mateo, Rizal, and on the south by Pasig City and Cainta, Rizal.
As far back as any local can remember, shoe manufacturing has already been the valley’s main source of living and soon enough, Marikina became the country’s main manufacturer of quality footwear. Based on data gathered, Marikina is said to have produced 70% of the country’s shoe needs during the 80’s.
Economic downturn has greatly affected the shoe industry. Many shoe manufacturers had to close shop due to increasing losses brought about by political and economic crises during the late 80’s and early 90’s. But this did not deter the Marikeños from pursuing massive reconstruction efforts. With discipline, strong will, patience and unity, it has regained its status as a progressive city.
Now Marikina boasts of these attractions:
Marikina Cultural Center – Located along JP Rizal Street, this two-storey old building was once owned by Don Laureano GUevarra, the father of the shoe industry. Declared as a historical shrine by the National Historical Commission, it was in this place where the shoe manufacturing was started in 1887 by Don Laureano. The museum gives visitors a glimpse of the history of shoe-making in Marikina.
Church of Our Lady of the Abandoned – This was built by the Augustinians in the 1700s and located at the boundaries of baranggays Sta. Elena and San Roque. The construction of the church from heavy adobe blocks (under forced labor) took several decades. It has survived several earthquakes and fire. The Church as undergone years of renovation since 1963 until it has attained its present appearance.
Shoe Museum – As a means of promoting the city’s century-old shoe industry, a museum showcasing shoes bas built. It is the first of its kind in the country and one of the few in the world. It prides itself in housing and safekeeping the shoes owned by Former First Lady Imelda Marcos and other distinguished personalities including past presidents, senators, and other national leaders.
Marikina River Park – What was then occupied by squatters, the Marikina riverbank has been transformed into a leisure park for the whole community. Now concreted and well-lighted, Marikeños and visitors alike can enjoy strolling or biking along the riverbank or simple have a sight of the Marikina river. You can also visit the Roman Garden along the bank where it is believe to be the spot where an icon of Jesus was found when the Jesuits first came to this valley in 1630. A strip of restaurants offering sumptuous food has also occupied a part of the river park and serves as the center of nightlife for residents and visitors alike.