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5 Reasons to Live in Marikina

More than being the Shoe Capital of the Metro, this city makes for a peaceful and efficient neighborhood

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Photography: Rachelle Medina and Michael Angelo Chua (Main Photos)

A friend once remarked how we Mariqueños have this strong city pride. We casually inject where we live in random conversations. We might say, “Yeah, that actor’s pretty good. He’s from Marikina.” The same friend commented that when he introduces two Mariqueños to each other, they’d get excited upon learning where the other lives—as if Marikina were a shared faraway probinsya rather than just another city in the Metro.

It’s relatively peaceful and orderly.

I live in Marikina Heights, one of the city’s 14 barangays. This very quiet and clean neighborhood helped win for the city its Clean and Green Awards in the 1990s. The neighborhood still has that rural feel—birds chirping in the morning, especially on weekends when school buses aren’t rushing by. East of our house and just a five-minute walk away is Marist School, an exclusive school for boys and my high school alma mater. Nearby is the exclusive girls’ school, St. Scholastica’s.

There are a lot of green, open spaces.

The barangay mini parks more places to hang out. On what used to be just stretches of grassy lots sit park benches, playground equipment, bike lanes and oddly enough, lots and lots of cow statues. The cows remind us of the old days when Marikina was a pastureland.

 

 

In photo: Riverbanks Center

Establishments and schools are conveniently near each other.

In front of St. Scholastica is our barangay version of a mall—only much, much smaller, so we call it S-mall. It has a bookstore, drugstore, and fast-food outlets. It’s where students hang out after school hours. When I feel like going to a larger mall, I go to the Riverbanks Center that's 20 minutes away from where I live. The most common hangouts, though, are still the corner sari-sari stores where barkadas gather for chichirya and softdrinks.

Infrastructure is well maintained.

Since the early 1990s when former mayor and MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando entered office, infrastructures improved. Potholes used to give tricycle riders head bruises. Today, I don’t see un-cemented roads anymore. Local government pushed its cleanliness campaigns. The then-mayor enforced sidewalk, pet and cleanliness laws. Projects to save the river were launched, garbage collection became more reliable and each barangay joined the cleanliness competition. Soon, Marikina started winning numerous environment awards in the Philippines. This was when we began to have a greater city pride.

Emergency services have improved.

The ambulances roving Marikina carry this sign: “If this ambulance does not get to you within five minutes, call the mayor.” Once, when my grandmother had a heart attack, we had to call for an ambulance. Sure enough, the rescue team arrived promptly—in two minutes. Even our local government vehicles have signs that say they can bring anyone to the hospital in case of emergency.

Nitpicks aside, the whole of Marikina is a great place to call home. It’s a quiet and simple community that feels more like a small town than a bustling city. Give any Mariqueño a chance to talk about his city and he’ll tell you how happy he is to live there.

Editor’s Update:

In photo: Federal Land's Tropicana Garden City.

Since the severe flooding of Marikina caused by Typhoon Ondoy back in 2009, measures and improvements of early-warning systems have been made. The Effective Flood Control Operation System (EFCOS) was recently launched to collect hydrologic data and transmit warning signals to flood-prone areas.

Aside from the many subdivisions in Marikina, there are a lot of condominium developments as well, such as the 17-hectare, nine-tower Federal Land’s Tropicana Garden City, Marquinton Residences, and DMCI’s popular Bali Oasis mid-rise condos at the cusp between Pasig and Marikina.

In photo: Patio Vera

The shoe-related landmarks around the city like the Marikina Shoe Museum still make for charming weekend destinations. The city is also a burgeoning foodie spot, with Patio Vera and Industriya Marikina as two of the shoe factories that have been converted into beautiful restaurants.

 

In photo: Marikina Shoe Museum

Lilac Street is also becoming a foodie haven for its rows of restaurants, as well as a location for unusual, artistic shops like the charming LokalAnother foodie street in-the-making is Mayor Gil Fernando Street with quaint cafes like Sweet Bliss Café and Wolly Winkle.

PHOTOS: At Maculangan | Amillah Rodil | Rachelle Medina | Federal Land | Vincent Coscolluela | Michael Angelo Chua

Read the original article ("City Pride") in the September 2004 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living for more details.

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