The First Of Its Kind
By: Nathalie Santos Dayo
Marikina City, a place made popular by affordable and high quality shoes. The shoe capital has more to offer than these wonderful finds, there were also several museums in the City which reflects the Filipino culture.
Saturday, I went out to visit these places, unfortunately though, three of the museums have been closed and there is no further word if they will reopen.
The first that I tried to visit was the Doll Museum which opened in 2003 used to showcase dioramas depicting the lives of Filipinos. The dolls were housed in the Marikina Sports Complex. Today, the museum is closed because of the damages caused by the typhoon Ondoy.
The next museum that I tried to visit that day was the Belen Museum. It is from the private collection of Ms. Carmen Carlos. Christmas, one of the most important holidays in the Philippines and commonly associated to carols, lights and ham on the table. Marikina opened this Museum to showcase one of the most important things that are displayed during the season, the Belen (Nativity Scene). This symbol of hope which housed different types of Belen from different countries was pulled out after the typhoon and again, there is no word if the collection will be made open to the public.
The third unsuccessful try was at the Miniature Museum. Owned by Aleli Lourdes Salinas Vengua (deceased) an interior decorator had a total of twenty-four miniature rooms in glass cases which was passed on and lent to the City government by her daughter Lara Vengua. This private collection was also pulled out by the owner after the typhoon.
Feeling quite low from the news of the closure of these wonderful places, I proceeded to my last stop, the Marikina Shoe (Footwear) Museum.
Located along J.P. Rizal Street, Barangay San Roque, Marikina City. This building which was once an arsenal during the war houses one of the largest collection of footwear.
It is open to the public everyday from 8:00AM to 5:00PM, except holidays.
The museum was a project of then Mayor Bayani Fernando to help boost tourism in the shoe capital of the country. It was opened to the public on the 16th of February, 2001.
This museum is the first of its kind in the country. It houses notable collections which were donated by personalities and celebrities.
Upon entering the museum, you will be greeted by rows upon rows of shoes which belonged to the former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos.
Footwear of Imelda Marcos
The Museum boasts of having at least eight hundred pairs of the more than two thousand pairs of Mrs. Marcos. The curator informed me that after the typhoon Ondoy, flood waters reached the knees, thus damaging some of the shoes in the collection.
On the wall, paintings of the former first lady.
The docent was not able to elaborate as to where the paintings came from.
Inside the glass cases, the Barong Tagalog (the national costume for men) worn by the former President Ferdinand Marcos, and on the right, the Terno (Blouse and Skirt) of Mrs. Imelda Marcos.
The museum has a small loft which houses a display of the different types of leather used in shoe making as well as this life sized dolls depicting the craft of shoe making.
Sapatero (Shoe Maker)
The first two dolls are seated by the shoe makers table busy with cutting and putting together the shoe. The doll at the back is the seamstress, the one who carefully and lovingly stitches the materials together to make a fine pair of shoes.
Aside from being awed by the number of footwear owned by our former First Lady, the shoe museum is also home to a collection of shoe memorabilia from different countries. This tradition was started by one of the former mayors of the city which was carried on by the succeeding mayors after. Other types of footwear found in the museum are those from Brazil, Wooden Male and Female Slippers from Japan, Korean traditional footwear, Male and Female footwear from Saudi Arabia and two pairs of traditional Turkish Footwear.
There are also those which were donated by well known personalities like Ms. Liza Macuja Elizalde (Philippine Prima Ballerina), President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, four pairs of signed shoes from former President Fidel V. Ramos and four pairs of shoes of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos. This museum, a first of its kind showcases not only the footwear of well renowned people, it also showcases the culture and tradition of this city which built its reputation as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines.
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