(SPOT.ph) On the night of November 11 and throughout November 12, Typhoon Ulysses devastated parts of NCR, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon. One area on the island hit particularly hard was Marikina City with the Marikina River reaching water levels surpassing those recorded in 2009's Typhoon Ondoy. As a result, residents in the area were forced to flee their homes and local workers and businesses were left struggling. One such establishment affected by the storm is the famed Marikina Shoe Gallery. Located in Riverbanks Mall, the homegrown shop is the main hub for Marikina-based shoemakers. Unfortunately, due to the effects of the storm, on top of the difficulties already brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marikina Shoe Gallery is closing down.
According to a Facebook post by Jon Fontilla, the Shoe Gallery was forced to close down in the aftermath of Ulysses. Fontilla’s family owns Marikina-based footwear Fontelle Shoes and he shares that they have been in the shoe-making industry since the late 1980s. Fontelle pulled their stock out of the now-closed Marikina Shoe Gallery today, November 27, along with other shoe manufacturers whose products were housed in the store. Fontilla called the shop's closure the "end of an era." The Marikina shoe industry dates as far back as the late 1880s.
Fontilla also shared photos of the Marikina Shoe Gallery in its final hours. Take a look:
Marikina Shoe Gallery is perhaps best remembered as the home of the world's largest shoes, as certified by the Guiness Book of World Records in 2002. According to the Riverbanks Center’s website, the attraction stands at 125 feet tall, can fit 30 people inside, and can produce 250 regular pairs of shoes from the material used to make it. The attraction took 77 days to finish.
In a message to SPOT.ph, Fontilla shared that "any sort of exposure will be a big help to the shoe industry," and he noted in his Facebook post the importance of supporting local brands in order to help them recover. One of the ways you can help support the Marikina shoe industry and its workers is through donation drives set up by local brands to help Marikina shoemakers.