Artesano, JCI Marikina Sapatos hoping Marikina shoe industry re-enters global scene


MARIKINA CITY, Philippines — As the shoemaking industry continues to decline in Marikina City, efforts are now on the way to preserve and revive its heritage to its former glory and inspire other movements.

Junior Chamber International (JCI), Marikina Sapatos chapter recently launched “Artesano” during the 64th induction and turnover ceremonies. “Artesano” being the local organization’s flagship campaign to put a new sole in the Marikina shoe industry.

The goal of Artesano is to be a platform that encourages different projects to revive the shoe industry in Marikina like “Sapahisturismo.”

“Sapahisturismo” is a program to bridge the gap between Marikina’s dying shoe industry and the ever-changing market dynamics. It aims to bring the Marikina shoe industry, not in volume or durability as a value proposition, but in its artisanal work, to appreciate the unending and valuable efforts of our local shoemakers.

During the inauguration speech of the 64th LO President Juan Sonny “Jong” Belleza III, he mentioned that his commitment to the shoe industry is strengthened because of his dedication to serve the community of Marikina.

Together with the whole Marikina Jaycees, JCI Marikina Sapatos President Jong Belleza III envisioned “Artesano” to solidify the ongoing resilience of the Marikina Sapatos and reinvigorate the dwindling shoemaking culture in the city.

“The community remains resilient to the challenges posed by stiff competition and technological advancement,” President Jong assured, “but it needs all the help it can get. That’s why we’ve decided to launch ‘Artesano’ at this event to introduce Artesano to each of you and source all the support needed to make this campaign a success.”

Belleza said: “With Sapahisturismo as its first project, the vision for the city to be a renowned tourist spot for shoe and craft enthusiasts. People visit Marikina City not just to buy Marikina-made sapatos, but to experience the proud and rich shoemaking culture of Marikina.”

Locally, Marikina is known as the nation’s shoe capital — with many Filipino households across the country, from the masses to elites, having at least a pair of these local artisans’ meticulously crafted shoes in their shoe cabinet.

While the saturated shoe market in the country remained the primary problem of local sapateros, the community displayed resilience. But they could only do much when the city was struck by Typhoon Ulysses (with an international name of “Vamco”) amidst the enhanced quarantine against the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the disaster and pandemic ceased almost 80% of shoemaking businesses in the city — only those businesses that ventured into e-commerce survived.

The city’s progressive and exceptional shoemaking earned its spot on the Asian shoemaking map, placing second to the competitive Japanese footwear industry. At its peak, the industry boasted a prestigious share of the Asian footwear market and has been the primary shoe exporter for the United States, Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan.

To kickstart the campaign, JCI Marikina Sapatos chapter plans to refocus on educating and equipping local artisans with modern strategies to avoid falling behind the expanding market. The vision is for the city to be a renowned tourist spot for shoe and craft enthusiasts for people to visit Marikina not just to buy Marikina-made shoes, but to experience the rich shoemaking culture of Marikina.

The launch of the Artesano was witnessed by more than 500 attendees, including well-regarded national and international Junior Chamber International (JCI) personalities, such as Mr. Crispin Dy, 1997 JCI World President and Kim Kyung-Seop, 2024 Chairman JCI Incheon Namdong.

The induction and turnover ceremony was a joint inauguration for the 2024 JCI Marikina Sapatos Board of Directors—Juan Sonny R. Belleza III, Henzberg Austria, Ryan Mira, Rovick Garcia, Jofel Brilliantes, Perpetuo Amor Cabaccang, Jose Francis Francisco, Calvin Delgado, Billie Jim Cruz, Rabby Dayrit, Ezekiel Garcia, John Michael Mira, Danyael John Dacanay, Mark Anthony Miguel, and Allan Joseph Marquez, and the JCI Marikina Senate—Constantine Ignacio, Francisco Pe Benito, Olivia Hukom, Dante Verano, Rhea David, Edith Santiago, and Brian Castillo.


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