Sapatos Festival, also known as Marikina Shoe Festival, is a cultural and shoe festival in Marikina, Metro Manila, Philippines every November. In 2019, its schedule was between November 11 and December 29.
History of Sapatos Festival
Marikina City, through the Marikina Shoe Industry Development Office, held the first Sapatero Festival (sapatero means shoemaker) in 2002 during the term of Mayor Ma. Lourdes Fernando.
Three years later, the city council changed the name of the fest to Sapatos Festival (sapatos means shoe) through Ordinance No. 103 authored by Wilfred Reyes at Victoriano Sabiniano, Jr.
The fest is organized in order to promote shoes and leather products that the city is known for, reinvigorate local shoe industry, and highlight their quality and craftsmanship. Marikina City is called the Shoe Capital of the Philippines, with long and deep history of well-known shoemakers and production of shoes.
Its centerpiece is the bazaar, sometimes called Christmas Bazaar, where local companies put on display variety of shoes and products made of leather such as belts and bags.
In 2002, the city earned a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest pair of shoes.
The pair measured 5.29 meters in length, 2.37 meters in width and 1.83 meters in height, a dimension that was equivalent to 250 regular-sized shoes.
It was produced by ten artisans in 77 days using 37 square meters of leather, 250 kilograms of adhesive, and 200,000 stitches.
Shoe industry in Marikina City
The beginning of the shoe trade in Marikina City is traced back to the colonial period. In 1887, Laureano Guevarra (also known as Kapitan Moy, born on July 4, 1851) purchased a pair of shoes from Europe.
With the help of Tiburcio Eustaquio, Ambrocio Sta. Ines, and Gervacio Carlos, they took the pair apart to study its construction, design, and production. Guevarra passed on the shoemaking skills to townsfolk as a means of earning an income aside from farming and fishing.
The American occupation saw the use of machine in shoe production. The American soldier R.R. McGuire set up a factory to address the demand for footwear by the military, and his company would later become known as the Hike Shoe Palace. It was also around the same time that Tiburcio Eustaquio established Ang Tibay Shoe.
In pre-war years, the shoe industry was in full swing. There were over a hundred shops employing thousands of local workers. Soon, the shops built their own stores as a response to tight control of Chinese middlemen over access to the profitable Manila market and raw materials, and unfair pricing.
While the war dampened and halted the shoe trade, recovery after the war and infusion of support and capital by the government saw the resurgence of the industry. By 1956, Marikina City was given the moniker, “Shoe Capital of the Philippines.”
The residence of Kapitan Moy was made into a heritage building and acknowledged as the first shoe factory in Marikina by the National Historical Commission on April 16, 1970. By 1995, it was restored and became the city’s center for culture.
The famed Shoe Museum was opened to the public on February 16, 2001.
The local industry faced and surmounted several challenges through the years including cheap imports, competition, and globalization.
By April 15, 2004, Republic Act No. 9290, otherwise known as “An Act Promoting the Development of the Footwear, Leather Goods and Tannery Industries, Providing Incentives Therefor and for Other Purposes” was passed.
Afterwards the Marikina Shoe Industry Development Council (now the Marikina Shoe Industry Development Office) was formed pursuant to Ordinance No. 50 in 2011.
Shoe Festival Activities
The bazaar and/or trade fair is the centerpiece of the Shoe Festival. With the participation of dozens of companies, it is a full display of locally made shoes and leather items that people can buy. Other events include a caravan, stiletto race, concert, fireworks display, etc.
How to reach Marikina City
Book a flight to Ninoy Aquino International Airport and take a cab or public commute to Marikina City (about an hour or so with a distance of over 20 kilometers).
- Christopher Lloyd Caliwan. Marikina opens ‘Sapatos Festival’. November 11, 2019. Retrieved October 23, 2023
- Nonet Angeles. History of Marikina’s Shoe Industry. Artes de Filipinas. Retrieved October 24, 2023
- Schatzi Quodala. Laureano Guevara: Founder of Marikina Shoe Industry. Philippine Daily Inquirer. July 3, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2023
- Unang Pagawaan ng Sapatos sa Marikina. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. October 2011. October 24, 2023
- Air Urquiola. It’s back! Marikina Shoe Festival Christmas Bazaar 2021. MNL Today. December 30, 2021. Retrieved October 24, 2023
- Coconuts Manila. Marikina City commemorates shoe festival with quirky traffic lights. Yahoo! News. November 21, 2018. Retrieved October 24, 2023
- Republic Act No. 9290. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved October 24, 2023