The incomparable city of Marikina and its talented shoemakers are given tribute in the upcoming independent film Mariquina of director Milo Sogueco.
Mariquina is a finalist in the New Breed category of the 10th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival to be held in August 2014 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and selected cineplexes in Metro Manila. The screenplay of Mariquina is by award-winning filmmaker Jerrold Tarog (Sana Dati; Senior Year; Shake, Rattle, & Roll 12 & 13; Confessional)
The history of the Marikina shoe industry, that had its heyday in the 1970s-1980s, serves as the backdrop of the tragic comedy story of daughter Imelda who is estranged from her father Romeo, a once recognized shoemaker from Marikina.
On the day that the grown-up Imelda is informed about her father’s death, she tentatively proceeds with the burial preparations. Although the dead do not wear shoes, Imelda stubbornly looks for a pair to put on the feet of the deceased Romeo in order to honor him and his profession.
Sogueco’s first film was Sanglaan, which premiered at the 2009 Cinemalaya and won Cinemalaya Best Actress (for Ina Feleo) and Best Supporting Actress (for Tessie Tomas). It went on to compete and garner awards in international film festivals in France, India, Singapore, China and Germany. In 2010, Sogueco was chosen by the Philippine Daily Inquire to be part of the first batch of Filipino filmmakers honored with a Pioneering Award of Distinction.
A story about the country’s shoemaking capital holds a special place in Sogueco’s heart because he grew up wearing Marikina shoes. “I clearly remember the heyday of the Shoe Expo in Cubao where my Gregg school shoes were bought,” the director says fondly. “Marikina-made shoes were the best because they were so durable and long-lasting. In fact, former First Lady Imelda Marcos amassed a vast collection of shoes because she was gifted with these by Marikina shoemakers whom the ex-First Lady avidly supported.”
Sogueco hopes that their film will put the spotlight back on Marikina and its world-class cobblers. “The industry may not be as vibrant but it is still alive. There are shoemakers who continue their trade. In turn, emerging designers, artists and young Filipino brands are beginning to use Marikina as a resource for their local shoe craftsmen.
“While our film seeks to pay tribute to their artistry, ingenuity and passion, we would also like to emphasize and promote the good old-fashioned values of integrity, dignity, pride in handmade labor, family unity and nationalism.”
For more information about Mariquina, visit the movie Facebook page.