The Best Soles Are Found in Marikina City!
If you’re looking for a sign, this is the best time (and place) to buy your next pair of shoes.
BY CAMILLE CABAL
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMEO S. PERALTA JR.
Face-to-face classes are back! Students are just among the people who are searching for fashionable and quality shoes that can last the entire year or so. And when talking about footwear, there’s no better place to head to than Marikina City. Aside from the notable discipline of people living here, the city is home to some of the best manufacturers of shoes in the Philippines.
KAPITAN MOY If you think Kapitan Moy is just one of the must-visit restaurants in Marikina, you will be surprised that this is also where the shoe industry started. The building where Kapitan Moy is situated is the 200-year-old house of Don Laureano “Kapitan Moy” Guevarra who is also known as the founder of the shoe industry. According to history, it was 1887 when Kapitan Moy brought home a pair of imported shoes he bought from Manila. With the assistance of sho emakers named Tiburcio Eustaquio, Ambrocio Sta. Ines, and Gervacio Carlos, they dissected the parts of the shoes and studied how to assemble them. This is said to be the first recorded shoe to be ever made in Marikina.
Kapitan Moy was a noble and a community leader. Before he died on December 30, 1891, he was the capitan municipal of Marikina. He made sure that the Marikeños learned the skill of shoemaking since he intended this to be another livelihood source for people who used to depend on fishing and farming.
From a shoe factory, Guevarra’s residence became a camp for American soldiers in 1901 and was eventually bought by Doña Teresa de la Paz Tuason, the wife of Don Severo Tuason, a haciendero who owned an extensive tract of land that covers a big part of Marikina. From 1907-1955, it served as a primary school. Years after, the ownership of the building was transferred to the local government and it was developed into a cultural center. Currently, it houses the Kapitan Moy restaurant and cafe while the other part is being rented out as a function hall.
SHOE MUSEUM The Shoe Museum opened on February 16, 2001, but the building where it is located is almost 200 years old. The museum keeps all the shoes worn and donated by the biggest personalities in the country. There is a section only for the shoes worn by the presidents of the Philippines and past mayors of Marikina. There are pairs donated by local artists and athletes. On the second level are 255 pairs of shoes from the collection of the former first lady Imelda Marcos.
Besides that, the museum also showcases the steps in creating a shoe and old machines that were used for shoemaking. For only Php50, you can enter this museum and learn about the history of the shoe industry in Marikina.
GIBSON’S Gibson’s was established by Gavino Cruz and his wife Ramona Salvador in 1945. When it was turned over to their daughter in 1974, the shoe company was reorganized and renamed Gibson’s. During this time, they started venturing into military shoe-making. A year later, they were accredited by the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) as one of its dress and combat shoes suppliers.
As of writing, Gibson’s is the accredited shoe factory of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police’s (PNP) combat shoes. They also supply military footwear for other law enforcement agencies. But if you are looking for casual shoes, you can also pick from Gibson’s Kids and Antonio Manila which are also available in Gibson’s store in J. P. Rizal St., Barangay Concepcion.
VALENTINO Established in 1932, Valentino stands as the oldest shoe manufacturer in Marikina. The shop sells formal shoes for men and women. They also customize designs and sizes which is what the buyers love about the store. One of their staff shared that Filipinos who travel abroad prefer their boots over those in the mall and abroad because it is reasonably priced and durable.
During the pandemic, Valentino also struggled with their sales that they even had to close their branch in Alabang but they are proud that the brand is now returning to its former status.
C-POINT C-point is quite famous in Marikina for its top siders available in different tones. Aside from that, the store also offers fashionable boots, sandals, school shoes, office shoes, and more. If your C-point shoes are damaged or broken, you can always bring them back to the store so they can repair your favorite pair for free or for a minimal amount. C-point is already 11 years in the industry. They have 60 shoemakers that can produce up to 800 pairs a day. For as low as Php500, resellers can already start their own brand of footwear through C-point. C-point also tours their customers inside their factory. During the pandemic, they also opened the C-point villa which accommodates customers coming from the provinces if ever they are buying bulk orders.
NIFTY Nifty is one of the young footwear brands in Marikina. Nifty offers fashionable sandals of different types that millennials, Gen Zs, and those young at heart will surely like. The small shop beautifully displays its colorful pairs. The shop also sells a few pairs of sandals for men. They have beach sandals that are made out of the same material used for airplane wheels which is said to be more durable than other types of rubber.
MARIKINA HUB What else pairs well with shoes than bags? Here in Marikina Hub, you can find a leather bag that will fit your needs. They have tote bags, shoulder bags, sling bags, and purses. You can also choose a bag for your laptop! With their reasonable prices, you can purchase a stylish bag here in Marikina Hub which you could gift to your family and friends, or even yourself.
PUTO AVENUE No visit to Marikina is complete without making a stopover at Puto Avenue. Aling Remy’s Puto and Kutsinta store started in 1930 and is said to be the first to sell the pasalubong in the area. In this lane, you can buy the bestselling puto-kutsinta and other famous pasalubong like peanuts, bucheron, puto pao, bibingka, and suman pinipig.