Culture in a ‘shoebox’

The Inbox

Audio slideshow by Ma. Bea Patricia Cruz, VERA Files

Marikina City is not the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines” for nothing.

Home to the world’s largest shoes certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, the city is, more important, the keeper of treasures that have to do with one of the country’s oldest trades—shoemaking, of course.

Located at the heart of Marikina in Concepcion is the Marikina Shoe Museum, which opened on Feb. 16, 2001. For a small fee of P50, visitors get a glimpse of how shoemaking came to be in the Philippines and how it continues to be a major source of pride for Filipinos.

The museum also displays more than 3,000 pairs of footwear previously owned by prominent politicians, celebrities, and artists.

It comes as little surprise that the museum’s most popular attraction is the legendary shoe collection of former First Lady Imelda Marcos whose husband, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was ousted on Feb. 25, 1986 in a people power revolution more popularly known as EDSA 1. The 749 elegant pairs she wore to state functions during her husband’s reign that are on display are not all made in Marikina, but they have surely made it to the country’s shoe history.

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(The audio slideshow was produced by Ma. Bea Patricia R. Cruz, a senior journalism student at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, for her J196 seminar class under VERA Files trustee Yvonne T. Chua. VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. VERA is Latin for “true.”)