Shoe Fever Grips Marikina as Shoppers Enjoy Quality, Affordable Footwear
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Marikina City is experiencing a Shoe Festival fever. Tarpaulins announcing the Shoe Festival are everywhere. Even traffic lights have shoes designed on them.
People driving cars, riding jeepneys and crossing the streets on the way to the Freedom Park, where the Shoe Bazaar is ongoing, have shoes on their minds. Either for themselves or for their loved ones as Christmas gifts.
And why not? Shoes can change lives. For the better. Just look at Cinderella. She puts on a glass slipper and when it fits, her life changed forever. She did not only find her prince, but she found love in a palace and lived happily ever after. Or so the fairy tale says.
People who trooped to Freedom Park interviewed for this article were all giddy about finding the right pair of shoes. They all gave the same reasons for shopping at the Shoe Bazaar, where nearly 50 Marikina-based manufacturers are selling value-for-money bags and footwear: the shoes here are well-crafted, made of quality materials, durable and affordable since they are sold at discounted prices versus those that are being sold in shopping malls and department stores. They also love the variety of designs, styles and colors to choose from.
“Kapag gawang Marikina kasi, high quality talaga,” said Roger Borromeo, an instructor from Bicol who is in Marikina attending a three-day seminar at TESDA (Technical Education at Skills Development Authority). The seminar began yesterday, Tuesday.
“Nagkataon na may training ako dito, kaya sumaglit na ako rito (sa Freedom Park) para mamili. Nakabili na ako dati ng sapatos na gawang Marikina sa department store sa Bicol at matibay talaga. Maganda ang pagkagawa at hindi mahal,” said Roger, who was looking for safety shoes and casual shoes when interviewed.
Affordable Yet High-Quality Shoes
Benito Calla, a retired employee, was shopping for shoes for himself, his children and grandchildren. The 68-year-old Benito had already bought a pair of formal shoes and leather slippers for himself when interviewed.
“Maganda ang quality ng Marikina at medyo mababa ang presyo. Malaking mura kapag dito mamili. Itong tsinelas P400 ko lang nabili dito. Mga P700 to P800 ito sa labas (department store),” said Benito who is from neighboring Cogeo in Antipolo City. “Babalik pa nga ako ulit dito para mamili naman para sa aking mga anak at apo.”
Benito said this was his first time to buy shoes at the Shoe Bazaar and he learned about it from one of the tarpaulins hanging on a street in Marikina.
“Marikina shoes are noted for their durability. Ever since I have been patronizing Marikina-made shoes. I used to shop for Valentino shoes,” said Bert Pagatpat, 63, a retired medical representative.
He was shopping for formal and casual shoes made of leather at SJR Shoes, known for its custom-made shoes, when interviewed.
“Bibili ako ng mga dalawang pairs of shoes para sa sarili ko at para rin sa mga apo ko na mga binata na rin. Pang-Christmas gift. Sila naman gusto ang Cpoint Shoes,” he said.
Asked why he always shops at the Shoe Bazaar in Marikina, Bert said the primary reason is the quality and second is the price.
“Mas mura kasi dito kesa sa department stores. Maraming add-ons sa department stores. Dito, halos at cost na ang mga binebenta,” he said.
Mary Jean Buala, who works as an assistant nurse at the Marikina Polytechnic College, said the timing of the Shoe Bazaar is perfect since this is usually the time when employees get their year-end bonuses.
“Halos lahat ng mga shoes ko galing dito,” said Mary Jean, who is from San Mateo, Rizal. “Pag mamili ako, minsan dalawa o tatlong pares. Tumatama kasi na bigayan ng bonus. At saka may discount kasi ang government employees ng Marikina dito, 10 percent. Malaking bagay rin iyon.”
She bought a step-in from April Colleen Shoes when interviewed and said she would come back to buy shoes for her grandchild.
Asked if she always buys at the Shoe Bazaar, usually held in November to January, she said sometimes she buys from shopping malls but she always looks for Marikina-made shoes because they are made from good quality leather and last longer.
“Sa mall nakakabili rin ako doon. Pero made from Marikina pa rin. Maganda ang mga products ng Marikina. Pagsasawaan mo talaga. Tunay na balat kasi,” she said.
Meanwhile, Myrna Mabalot, who is from Brgy. Marikina Heights, was shopping for shoes for herself and her two children.
“Gusto namin ng tutoong balat at saka mura. Kaya pumunta kami dito. Last year, namili ako rito ng shoes ng mga anak ko para sa school. Na-prove ko na matibay talaga,” said Myrna, who already bought a new pair of shoes for one of her kids when interviewed.
“Malaking tipid kapag dito ka namili kasi halos kalahati ang presyo kumpara sa mga malls. Malapit pa sa amin,” she added.
The Shoe Bazaar, one of the highlights of the Sapatos Festival celebration, started on November 12 and will run until January 6 next year.
So what are you waiting for? Come and catch the fever at the Shoe Bazaar, open from Monday to Sunday from 9:00 in the morning.
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