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The Shoe Industry

In: Business and Management

Submitted By eivintolentino
Words 3348
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MARIKINA: THE SOLE OF MANILA
Alexandra Marie Iovanna Colcol, Diane Kristel De Jesus, John Christian Rey Quilang,
Juancho Rosites Jr., Sharmaine Kim Santiago, Mara Angelica Santos

ABSTRACT

Situated on the island of Luzon, recognized as one of the most livable and industrialized city, acknowledged as Manila’s cleanest city, home to the makers of quality hats and bags, and well-known for its local creators of high-quality shoes, earning its title the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines” is a City known to be Marikina.

The researchers aim to present facts about the history of the city’s shoe industry and its background on how it came to be called the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines”. In this paper, they wish to provide answers to some queries regarding the shoe industry of Marikina.

An analysis of Marikina’s shoe industry and the cultural preservation of the place are discussed in the paper. The theory of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels’s theory about the Mode of Production is used to examine the significance of the Marikina shoe industry to its people.

The effects of the shoemaking industry to the Marikina’s tourism development are also studied in this paper. Tourism benefited from the title given to Marikina as the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines”. It paved the way to the establishment of different tourism related enterprises and tourist-related activity in the area.

As the researchers study took place, they discovered new knowledge about the city and its industry which gave them awareness on how the major industry of Marikina, the shoe making industry, affects their community and livelihood.

THE HISTORY OF MARIKINA

Before the Philippines was conquered by the Spaniards, Marikina used to be occupied by river-dwellers or the taga-ilog who lived along the banks of the waterway crossing the Marikina Valley. The fertile soil and the river inhabited with bountiful fishes provided the dwellers with their everyday food.

In the 1570’s, the Augustinian friars discovered the group of people living along the riverbank. They occupied the valley and governed over the river-dwellers. The area subjugated by the Augustinians used to be called the Chorillo in the early 1600’s which today is known as Barangka, one of the municipalities in the city of Marikina.

On April 16, 1630 the governance of the community was transferred to the Jesuits through the appointment made by Fray Pedro de Arce, the Archbishop of Manila during that period. This control marked the development of Marikina. The construction of the chapel called Jesus dela Peña or the Jesus of the Rocks was one of the progresses that occurred. During the Jesuit leadership, they also encouraged Chinese traders and agriculturists to invest in the community. Through the collaboration of the friars, Chinese traders, agriculturists and the natives, the farmlands produced rice and vegetables in great quantities giving way to the establishment of a prized hacienda named San Isidro Labrador, after the patron Saint of Families.

The community became known as Mariquina in 1687. However, when the Americans came, its spelling was changed to Marikina upon the suggestion of Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera who was a member of the US-Philippine Commission.

Several legends as to how Marikina came by its name are accounted in the City’s History. Based on the narration of Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera, Marikina was named after Captain Berenguer de Marquina, the chief executive of the community before Marikina was declared a pueblo. Another account says that the city was named after a priest who baptized the natives of Marikina. Still, there are some who say that the Jesuit friars named it after a town in Spain called Mariquina located near the Charmaga River.

Furthermore, a tale about a rich, beautiful, and kind young lady named Maria Quina and a story about a worker calling the church being built “marikit-na” meaning beautiful now, gave rise to the name Marikina. Nobody knows which among the aforementioned legends about Marikina’s name origin is truth and factual. But this is what the residents believe in.

The rise of Marikina in the 20th century paved its way when it was considered as one of the most livable and industrialized city in the Philippines. Shoe manufacturing became its foremost industry and the city‘s pride which earned them the title “Shoe Capital of the Philippines”.

Over the years, Marikina has been able to create a new identity due to its good urban management. It was able to transform itself to a new and urbanized city. They started to implement discipline and orderliness in both the environment and the community. They rehabilitated its dying river and developed it to become a tourist destination. They improved on their landscape and infrastructures, making it conducive for dwelling. Culture is continually preserved, paving the way to more culture-oriented activities and projects for the people. (http://ncdr.nat.gov.tw/)

MARIKINA SHOE MAKING INDUSTRY

The beginning of the Marikina Shoe Industry can be attributed to the initiatives of Laureano Guevara. He served as a municipal captain of Marikina and was lovingly called “Kapitan Moy”. Through his desire to create employment opportunities to the young men in town who do not know any useful trade, he was able to pioneer the shoe-making industry in Marikina. He wanted to create and produce shoes that the common people can afford since during that time only the well-off has the ability to purchase shoes. He was able to learn how to create a shoe through trial and error. With the help of Tiburcio Eustaquio, assisted by Ambrocio Sta. Ines and Gervacio Carlos, Guevara examined an imported shoe he bought during one of his trips to Manila. He scrutinized the different parts of the shoe and studied how they were put together. Through constant experiment and trial and error, he eventually learned and mastered the art of shoemaking. The very first pair he created was given and offered to Fr. Jose Zamora, parish priest of Marikina and it was sold at P2.50 (http://www.nhi.gov.ph/).

Kapitan Moy opened his very own shoe shop in 1881 and from there introduced shoemaking in Marikina. His skills and know-how in shoemaking was then passed on to some trusted assistants (http://www.nhi.gov.ph/). Furthermore, Kapitan Moy envisioned and planned to make shoemaking as a source of livelihood for the whole town and so he made sure that other Marikeños learn the new skills right away (http://www.marikina.gov.ph/). The determination of Kapitan Moy to learn shoemaking and his generosity with his knowledge opened a lot of opportunities to the people of Marikina.

Marikina eventually became well-known for its shoes but during that time, Manila was still the more revered market for shoes. In order for Marikina to penetrate the industry and level up with Manila, Marikeños had to deal with the Chinese merchants who dominate the shoemaking industry because of their abundant raw materials from China and their established stores in Manila. Marikeños had to create a partnership with these Chinese merchants but it was not without trouble because the merchants tend to manipulate and influence the price of the shoes made by the Marikeños and the raw materials bought from them (http://www.marikina.gov.ph/).

Marikeños eventually resisted and they formed a union called “Oras Na” which was organized by Mayor Wenceslao de la Paz. They intended to obstruct the distribution of the finished shoes to the Chinese merchants. But the Chinese merchants were not an easy opponent to let down especially with the large amount of money they have. The Chinese continued to dominate the shoe industry for quite a long time (http://www.marikina.gov.ph/).

A shoe trade fair project in 1965 revived the Marikina shoe industry, giving the Marikeños a chance to be their own merchandisers. It gave them enormous sales a long list of orders. Thousands flocked and supported this project which upholds the Marikina’s claim as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines (http://www.marikina.gov.ph/).

The trade fair was held again the following year and was continued for the next 14 years until it became impractical for the Marikeños who started to compete and open their own stores in Cubao, Caloocan, Pasay City and Makati (http://www.marikina.gov.ph/).

The shoe trade fair influenced other people to engage into fairs and this led to the emergence of different Marikina shoe fairs all around the metro, not only limited to Marikina. The Marikina Shoe Trade Fair continued not until 1979 when they decided to focus and venture out into the exporting industry. They decided to try exporting snakeskin shoes and handbags to the US. The demand for the snakeskin products increased drastically, stretching the production capacity of Marikina shoe manufacturers to the limit. Eventually, snakeskin became limited and so they had to import the raw materials from nearby countries. Deterioration of the product’s quality also became noticeable because of the pressure to meet shipping deadlines and thus resulted to rejects (http://www.marikina.gov.ph/).

Prior to the big shoe trade fair in 1965, Marikina has already earned its title as the shoe capital of the Philippines during 1935. Marikina has been producing 260,000 pairs of ladies’ shoes and 86,000 pairs of men’s shoes with 139 shoe factories around the town (Dela Cruz, 2003)

During 1970s and 1980s, after the shoe fair event in 1965, the Marikina shoe industry boomed and importation became limited to high-end brands. In 1990s, Marikina shoe manufacturers faced a tough competition with the products from China because of the easy and cheap importation in the country since importation as liberalized in 1986. (Dela Cruz, 2003)

THE SHOE CAPITAL OF THE PHILIPPINES

In the 20th century, Marikina became a town of shoemakers. People flock the place not only because the shoes they sell are the best but also because the shoes fit the owners perfectly. According to Antonio Q. Trinidad, Cultural and Tourism Affairs Officer, the shoes fit perfectly because of the “shoe last” or a wooden mold they use to craft shoes. The shoe last followed the shape of the foot down to the protruding bones, giving its owner a good fit and comfort (Datol, 1997).

Marikina City was given the title "The Shoe Capital of the Philippines" because of its extraordinary shoe industry, being the biggest manufacturer of shoes during the greater part of the 20th century. Since then it has become the perfect site for industry, business, commerce, and for habitation. Nowadays, Marikina City is believed to be as one of the healthiest cities in the Asia-Pacific region (http://www.marikina.gov.ph/).

ANALYSIS

The significance of the Marikina shoe industry to its people can be further explained by the Mode of Production Theory by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. According to these two philosophers, for individuals, the mode of production is "a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their part. As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and how they produce" (Marx and Engels, 2001).

The things that people produce define what and who they are as a person. Production entails work and through it, the person is able to express his self. When one works, that person shares a part of him because he allows himself to be immersed into the task for him to be able to execute and produce the desired results.

In the case of the Marikeños, they give much importance to their shoemaking industry, where they source out their livelihood, because it mirrors who they are as people and as a town. Through shoemaking, they are able to showcase their talents and abilities to other people. The high-quality shoes that they are able to produce show their creativity, uniqueness and dedication to quality. This sets them apart from other people and allows them to be easily noticed and remembered because of the trademark that they are able to establish.

The present existence of shoemaking in Marikina, even though it has long been established, shows that culture is adaptive. The industry that their ancestors ventured into is still present at the moment because their expertise and knowledge about it is passed to the next generation. Being exposed to the culture of their ancestors, the following generation becomes accustomed to the said culture and so they tend to adhere to it.

Cultural preservation is one of the positive effects of being called as the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines”. Having this title draws people’s attention and the government’s as well. This impels the people of Marikina to ensure that they maintain this label and stand for the title given to them by producing the same quality products that they are know for. The government then set out plans that will further preserve the culture that distinguishes them from the rest.

THE EFFECTS OF THE SHOE INDUSTRY TO MARIKINA’S TOURISM INDUSTRY

The shoe industry of Marikina for the past years has been the city’s foundation of the local economy (Luebke, 2009). The city has 460 small and medium-sized shoe factories (Castillo, 2003) that paved way to its development. Because of the well-known shoe industry of Marikina, improvement for the city’s tourism industry took place.

While advertising Marikina City as the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines”, various pillars of Tourism have risen. Among these pillars are shopping, education, entertainment, accommodation, and food.

Shoe shops emerged to cater to the needs of shoe-enthusiasts of both Filipinos and foreign alike. Tourists are given a wide array of shoes to select from whether it is athletic, casual, or the formalwear type of shoes. The stores found within the city sells shoes in factory prizes which make visitors especially the local Filipinos from other cities support the Marikina shoe industry. Aside from the retail shoe shops, there is a shop found in Barangay Sta. Elena that caters to the current trend in tourism; the travel for self expression. Tourists who travel with such motivation can go to the Do-It-Yourself Counter located at the said barangay to express individuality through the uniqueness of having to design their own shoes. In just an hour or two, their one of a kind and personally designed shoes is ready made.

Another attraction that Tourists lure to visit and take photographs of is the 5.5 meters long, 2.25 meters wide and 1.83 meters high shoes found in the Shoe Gallery of Marikina. This is considered as the World’s Largest Shoes and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

As the number of tourist arrival increased due to the city’s eminent shoe industry, the local community saw the potential of introducing new products in Marikina. The creation of Bags and Hats now became one of Marikina’s products alongside the Shoe business that the city has. The locals use beads, sequins, and indigenous materials to create the arresting and attention-grabbing bags and hats.

The government of Marikina not only focuses on catering to the shopping needs of the tourists. Educating them has also been part of their tourism industry. As an effect of the city’s promotion of the shoe industry, the city carries out an advocate to preserve their natural and cultural heritage. Various museums were built to foster their industry as well as provide tourist knowledge while enjoying. Museums found in Marikina include the Shoe Museum, Belen Museum, Miniature Museum, and the Doll Museum.

The Shoe Museum, located at Barangay San Roque, is the most famous among the abovementioned museums. The City Mayor believed that this can be a significant venue to nurture the historical and cultural values of Marikina’s shoe industry. The collection of the museum includes 800 pairs of shoes from former President Marcos’ wife, Philippine’s former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who is considered an icon in the fashion world and is a record holder of the Guinness Book of Records as the owner of the largest shoe collection in the world. Other significant personas like Philippine Presidents, Ambassadors, Senators, and Marikina Mayors are also contributors to the shoe collection. Traditional footwear from various countries and entries to the city-sponsored competitions on shoe design is also found in the museum.

In lined with the pillar of education in tourism, a shoe academy known as the Philippine Footwear Academy (PFA) was established in the city. It is the first and only footwear school in the ASEAN region that provides learning for new shoe technicians and artisans (Castillo, 2003). Aspiring shoe technicians and artisans would travel to Marikina to be educated in PFA. Because of this, more tourists arrive in the city to study and at the same time spend money to other tourism-related establishments.

Different day tour packages within the city are also provided by the local government so that tourists can experience the different attractions and sites that Marikina can boast to. Accommodation is also provided for tourists. Overnight stay can be done in the former satellite housing in the 80’s, now known as the Marikina Hotel. It is a 3-star hotel with 84 rooms, coffee shop and restaurant, ballroom area and function halls.

All of these establishments and products that sprang out from the shoe industry affected Marikina’s tourism industry by bringing in people from other nearby cities and even some foreign investors. They add to the city’s income and help develop the place.

CONCLUSION

Marikina, the Philippine’s shoe capital, would not be called as such without the father of the shoe making industry, Kapitan Moy. From his time, until the present, this industry is what gives the Marikeno’s livelihood. This is a culture that the residents grew up with which they inherited from their ancestors that has been passed on from generation to generation. This attests to the characteristic of culture that it is adaptive.

From the researchers’ analysis, the Marikina shoe industry can be compared to the theory of Marx and Engel about the Mode of Production because through shoemaking, the Marikeños are able to express who and what they are.

During the researchers study, they found out that the shoe industry of Marikina generates several factors that contribute to the well-being of the people and the community. Not only did it provide them employment, it also generated income to both the residents and the government and paved the way to the birth of a lot of Marikina’s Tourist destinations. The destinations brought about by the shoe industry include the establishment of the Shoe Museum, where the largest shoe is housed and the “Sentrong pang Kultura ng Marikina”, where the first pair of shoes were first made. The rise of these destinations was attributed mostly to the recognition of Marikina as the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines”.

The title given to Marikina as the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines” encouraged the preservation of the places where their culture can be exhibited. The government, together with its local community, formulates different plans, projects and activities that can help in the preservation and sustenance of their culture. This title also became the trademark of the place which helps Marikina promote itself, making it more marketable and competent to compete both locally and internationally.

Congratulations! One of the best papers I’ve read.

SOURCES

RP’s Shoe Capital by Chris Datol
Striking the Right Balance: Economic Concentration and Local Government Performance in
Indonesia and the Philippines, Christian von Luebke, 2009
Marx, Karl and Frederick Engels. The German Ideology Part One, with Selections from Parts Two and Three, together with Marx's "Introduction to a Critique of Political Economy." New York: International Publishers, 2001.
Castillo, Olivia, Dr. (2003). Market Access and Competitiveness in the Leather and Footwear Sectors in the Philippines. National Case Study on Environmental Requirements.
Dela Cruz, A. (2003). Shoe Strings. Philippine Business Magazine, 10 (8).
Marikina Tourism Office’s Brochures http://www.marikina.gov.ph http://www.nhi.gov.ph/downloads/bz0013.pdf www.philippine-travel-guide.com/marikina-city.html http://ncdr.nat.gov.tw…...

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