Marikina History, Philippines
Everybody loves shoes. Well, who doesn’t? And who isn’t familiar with the World’s Largest Pair of Shoes published in the Guinness Book of World Records? All thanks to Marikina, the Philippines’ shoe capital. It is where the shoe fanatic’s dreams come true.
Marikina City is a valley bordered by lush mountains and the Marikina River runs through it. Before it flourished as the shoe capital of the country, it started out as a little pueblo where Augustinians first set foot.
With the coming of the Jesuits in 1630, these missionaries built the Jesus de la Peña (Jesus of the Rocks) Chapel that marked the Marikeños foundation of Christianity. This little town was then known as Mariquina. Back then, because the area was blessed with fertile soil, the natives living along the river converted Mariquina into rich farmlands that produced an abundant supply of rice and vegetables. With the help of the Chinese and the Mestizo settlers, the valley ripened into a verdant hacienda.
The city’s name Marikina links back to many legends. Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera claimed that the name originated from Captain Berenguer de Marquina, former chief executive of the town. On the other hand, it was also said that the city was named after a priest who baptized the natives of the land. Another source assumed that the Jesuits labeled it as Mariquina, their hometown in Spain. Still, one source asserts that it came from the conversation of a villager and a priest; the villager uttered that the parish was already beautiful, or, in Filipino language “marikit na”.
Yet, the most famous legend of all tells of a beautiful, kind and rich woman named Maria Quina who was well-known all throughout the land. Moreover, the history of the city cannot be complete without mentioning the very affluent Chinese mestizo family of the Tuasons. They emerged as the forerunning family, with the patriarch Don Antonio Tuason as the richest man in the area during the second half of the 18th century.
Mariquina soon surfaced as Marikina. The name was changed during the stay of the Americans in the city. As years passed, it blossomed into a highly urbanized city. In fact, it is one of the highly urbanized cities in Metro Manila, also receiving the prestigious award of being the Most Competitive Metro City in the Philippines, and its mayor being the only mayor in the Asia-Pacific region to be finalist to the 2008 World Mayor Awards.
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