24.2.08

Marikina Shoes Anyone?

I always say this wherever I go, whoever I am with, I am proud to be part of Marikina City. I like its "rural" like ambiance and yet I know I am in the city. It is a community where discipline is almost always apparent in the way its citizens conduct their daily life. Back in the old days, Marikina manufactured the best shoes. I
remember back when I was about 10 years old, my aunts used to come to Marikina to have a made to order shoes. Sturdy almost to a fault, Marikina used to be THE shoeplace. The arrival of Made in China shoes however, extinguished the marketability of the Marikina made shoe. It could no longer compete with the cheaper and the mass marketed shoes from the Chinese. Sigh!

Wonder how the early Marikina shoe industry made its mark?

"Marikina is not the shoe capital of the Philippines for nothing. For the greater part of the 20th century, Marikina was the biggest manufacturer of quality shoes. There was a time, between 1978 and 1982, when Marikina’s women’s shoes and handbags made of snakeskin were the rave on Fifth Avenue, New York City. As early as 1935, Marikina already had 139 shops producing 260,078 pairs of ladies shoes and 86,692 pairs of men shoes worth P762,896.00. And as may as 2,450 inhabitants were directly engaged in the industry either as shoemakers or uppermakers. By 1983, Marikina produced 70 percent of the shoe production of the Philippines which was estimated at 30 million pairs. (Source:The Role of the Municipal Government in the Planning and Development of Local Industries: The Case of the Marikina Shoe Industry, by Mayor Osmundo de Guzman, De La Salle University, 1983)

Even in those days, shoemaking thrived in such distant places as Cebu, Pangasinan, Iloilo and Ilocos Norte. But Marikina was recognized for its superior craftsmanship, and its proximity to Manila gave it a decided advantage.

Florinio de la Paz, who traveled to Asian countries with a group of local manufacturers in 1968, noted that Marikina Shoes was unmatched in design in the region and second only to Japan in quality.

Marikina’s shoe industry started one afternoon in 1887, at the residence of Don Laureano Guevara, known to this day as Kapitan Moy. Slippers and wooden clogs were already being made at a basement shop. But one day, Tiburcio Eustaquio, assisted by Ambrocio Sta. Ines and Gervacio Carlos, was working on the town’s first pair of shoes – a men’s shoes – while their proprietor, Kapitan Moy..."

For the full story please visit here.