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Kapitan Moy Building - A 200 Year Old Center For Culture And Arts

By: Nathalie Santos – Dayo

Walking around the city of Marikina, I saw this wonderful looking building. I loved the antique design, the large capiz windows on the second floor, the spacious plaza out on the front. I went to the building and I was transported back in time.

I talked to the city government officers who were there and I got a history lesson straight from those who learned it by heart.

Antique Home Rich in History

The building as I learned is called the Kapitan Moy building, built around some two hundred years ago. It was the residence of Don Laureano Guevarra, (also known as Kapitan – Captain Moy) and considered to be the founder of the shoe industry in the country.

According to the city official, it was in this very building that the first pair of shoes in the Philippines was made. Today this building is not just a historic landmark in the city of Marikina, it is also known as the Center for Culture and Arts of the city.

A Wall Filled With History

I went inside and was immediately awed by the grandeur of the building. On the wall I saw pictures of how the building used to look like in its earlier days.

In its earlier years of the American occupation, the Kapitan Moy building served as a house for the American Tribunal. And during the 1942 to 1945 Japanese occupation, the same structure served as the headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army.

This structure also served as a school from 1907 to 1995 which formed and nurture the young minds that have passed through its doors.

Timeless Elegance

On another wall, you will find portraits.

Included here is a portrait of Kapitan Moy, the original owner of the building, which served not only as his residence but also as part of the shoe making industry history of the city of Marikina.

Today, this piece of architectural history houses two restaurants on the ground floor, the fifteen year old Café Kapitan Restaurant and Cocina (Kitchen) – Kusina ni Kambal (Twin’s Kitchen).

An interesting find in the Café Kapitan Restaurant is the old well.

Make a Wish

Mrs. Aurora Lim (restaurant owner), said that the well used to be functional. She also said that it used to be the source of clean water for the residents and guests of the building.

During my brief conversation with Mrs. Lim, she also said that when they first leased the space, they had to dig the well to make it a part of the décor and add to the “antique house” ambiance of the restaurant.

Today the well not only serves as good interior décor, but it also serves as a wishing well to the first time patrons of the restaurant.

Curiosity filled me which made me ask the city government official about renting the place for events. She said that there are areas of the building which are for rent.

The official allowed me to check the Bulwagan (Ballroom) which is usually the part rented by those who would like a spacious place to conduct an event.

Ballroom Fit for a Princess

This ballroom can accommodate three hundred and fifty to four hundred people per event. The docent said that it’s usually leased as venue for wedding receptions. Today the ballroom has glass sealed windows because the whole ballroom is cooled by air conditioners and the capiz windows remain open to give a sense of bigger space and an indoor-outdoor feel to it.

The building is a cultural heritage, a piece of history shared by the people and government of Marikina City to all those who would like to see it. The venue is also open to lease agreements for those who would want to rent it for exclusive events.

The rates: Bulwagan (Ballroom) – For events Php15,000 (4hours) inclusive of tables and chairs for 350 to 400 people and basic sound system, for photo shoots Php15,000 (3 hours set up, 4 hours use and 2 hours pull out). For the Patio – Php3,500 (4hours).

For reservations, you can call the METTIPO office, Office of the City Mayor at (02)430-9700 or fax them at (02)646-5277

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