This brief guide to Marikina City will help you plan your trip. It contains information on what to do, eat, and drink as well as the must-see spots and the best hotels.
ABOUT SEE & DO EAT & DRINK STAY BUDGET ADVICE
Marikina is one of the highly urbanized cities comprising the National Capital Region (NCR) which is popularly known as Metro Manila. Founded by the Jesuits in 1630, Marikina used to be the provincial capital of the Province of Manila in the late 1800s. It rapidly progressed and was declared a city on December 8, 1996.
Currently, Marikina is considered one of the wealthiest local government units in the country. The city’s financial resources include business establishments, commercial facilities, and of course industry being the biggest manufacturer of shoes in the Philippines. It is even given the nickname as the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines”.
A popular destination when shopping for quality local footwear, Marikina City has other tourist attractions such as ancestral houses, parks, museums, and more.
Best Time to Visit
It’s best to visit the Philippines during the dry season. Dry season in the Philippines spans from November through April. These are the summer months in this country.
Be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high in April and May.
The best time to be a beach bum and explore the islands is from March to May.
TIP: We recommend that booking for Marikina City summer trips should be done as early as possible, at least a month before your travel dates, since resorts get fully booked early.
The period from June to October is the rainy (wet) season and is best avoided due to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons can not only be destructive, but most tours and activities are cancelled under such circumstances. Transportation via plane and boat is also seriously impacted as well. This happens frequently so beware!
We recommend traveling to Marikina City in April-May or in November-December, just before and just after the rainy season. This will likely bring fewer crowds, yet pleasant weather, and is also a great time to score a travel deal.
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
There are many ways to get here depending on your starting point. We recommend using the following online tools to identify all the available options and cost for each while in Marikina City: Rome2Rio and PHBUS. The following are the major ports of entry for this destination.
The following are the modes of transportation available in Marikina City …
Car for Hire
SEE & DO
The following are the places to see and activities to enjoy while in Marikina City.
1 | Marikina Shoe Museum
Marikina Shoe Museum may be small but it packs a lot of items significant to the history and culture of the city. The building used to be an armory during the Spanish era, a detention cell during the Filipino-American War, and later a motor pool for the American soldiers. It was also used as a rice mill after World War II.
The building was converted into a museum and was opened to the public in 1991. It is now home to a vast collection of shoes including that of former First Lady Imeldo Marcos, the main feature of the museum. Other shoes found in the museum belonged to several Philippine presidents and other political figures and celebrities as well as footwear from foreign cultures.
The World’s Largest Pair of Shoes used to be displayed in the museum until it was transferred to a gallery in the Riverbanks Center.
2 | Book Museum
Book lovers will surely love this haven that is The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center. The museum features an interesting collection of limited edition books, published materials, and artifacts collected by Atty. Dominador Buhain, the museum’s owner, from his travels to more than 200 countries and islands. It also houses artifacts from different regions in the Philippines particularly the Cordilleras and Mindanao.
At the center of the museum is a gigantic foot sculpture of Buhain. The sculpture represents his traveling lifestyle which also fits Marikina’s shoe theme.
3 | Marikina Cityhood Park and Marikina Sports Center
Marikina Cityhood Park, commemorating the cityhood of Marikina, features a giant fountain and a 12-meter concrete monument with a gigantic clock and 12 windows where Italian bells are hanging.
Not too far from the park is Marikina Sports Center, formerly known as Rodriguez Sports Center. Its main stadium consists of an athletics track, a 63-meter wide natural grass pitch, and two grandstands which has a total seating capacity of 15,000 people. Marikina Sports Center also has an aquatics center that can accommodate 2,000 people and houses an Olympic-size swimming pool. Other facilities are a sports building and an indoor gymnasium with a seating capacity of 7,000 people.
Marikina Sports Center is the home ground of JP Voltes Football Club (Japan Philippines Voltes Marikina Football Club).
4 | Marikina River Park
Marikina River Park is located along an 11-kilometer stretch of Marikina River, hence the name. Covering an area of 220 hectares, Marikina River Park is the biggest recreational and sports area in the city. The park houses Riverbank Center and the biggest roller skating rink in the Philippines. Aside from camping, jogging, biking, and other outdoor activities, Marikina River Park also houses a variety of community and cultural activities.
The Roman Garden, built by Marikina Zonta CLub in 1999 for the Christian devotees of Marikina, is also found in the park . It was built on the site where the Jesuits found a visage of the Infant Jesus among the boulders of rock on the riverbank.
5 | Parks
A city as populated as Marikina will surely appreciate having more than one park for people to relax and stroll. Aside from Cityhood Park and Marikina River Park, Marikina also has Freedom Park. The park, dedicated to Marikina’s World War II veterans, has trees, benches, and sheds great for family and group of friends to rest and play.
Along the Riverside Drive is the Chinese Pagoda built by Marikina Chinese Chamber of Commerce to honor the Chinese heritage of Marikeños.
If you are into antiques and history, you may want to visit Daang Bakal Train Park. The park features a vintage Marikina Express train that used to operate in the early 1900s. Riverland Express Train, operated around the same time as Marikina Express train, is also nearby.
6 | Roman Catholic Churches
As one of the seats of Spanish colonial government back in the day, Marikina City became home to at least four Roman Catholic churches. Our Lady of the Abandoned Church is the seat of Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados, the Patron Saint of Marikina. Constructed in 1687, the church is of Baroque architecture and features a heavily fortified façade and large-scale ceiling paintings.
The historical Jesús de la Peña Chapel, or the San Isidro Labrador Church, marks the beginning of Roman Catholicism in Marikina. Built in 1630 along the riverbank, it is where the first Catholic mass in the city was held. The chapel is of Neo-Romanesque style and has a quaint bell tower connected at the left side of the church.
Marikina has two newer churches – Immaculate COnception Parish in which the present church structure was built in 1969 and San Antonio de Padua which was completed in 1998.
7 | Ancestral Houses
Up to this day, several ancestral houses can still be seen in Marikina. One of the oldest is Kapitan Moy, the residence of Don Laureano “Kapitan Moy” Guevara, the founder and father of the shoe industry in Marikina. Built in 1780, the house is of European architecture but was inspired by bahay kubo, a traditional house in the Philippines. Presently, the ground floor of Kapitan Moy is being used as the office for Marikina City Tourism, Culture, and Arts Office while the second floor is rented out for special gatherings like weddings, birthdays, and seminars.
Zamora Ancestral House was built in 1890 by Domingo Zamora, the founder of the Iglesia Pilipina Independiente. The house was built as a military headquarters and garrison in the guise of a house and was used as Japanese headquarters during World War II.
In the 1920’s, Chanyungco house was built by Tomas Chanyungco and his wife Carmen Guevara. Both the Zamora Ancestral House and Chanyungco Ancestral House were built in the traditional bahay na bato (stone house).
8 | Bulwagang Kamalayang Pilipino ng Bahay Malaya
Bulwagang Kamalayang Pilipino ng Bahay Malaya is a gallery showcasing the culture, heritage, and traditions of Marikina. The gallery houses old tools and machines used in making shoes, antique furniture, and old images.
NOTE: The Marikina Day and Ka-Angkan Festival occurs annually in Marikina every 16th of April.
EAT & DRINK
The following are the restaurants to try while in Marikina City.
1 | Rustic Mornings by Isabelo
The top restaurant in Marikina, Rustic Mornings by Isabelo is a garden restaurant known for its beautiful lush setup and homey ambience. Originally a private dining business, Rustic Mornings by Isabelo is now one of the best all-day breakfast and brunch in Manila. Bestsellers include beef tapa, Ilocos bagnet, and crispy boneless dilis.
2 | Moo Baan by Krung Thai Restaurant
Experience authentic Thai cuisine at Moo Baan which springs from the original Krung Thai near the public market. The restaurant takes pride in using ingredients mostly coming from Thailand as well as herbs, fruits, and vegetables coming from the family’s garden. Their bestseller includes tom yum soup, green and red curry, pakbung, fried chicken, and satay.
3 | Ca Phe Saigon
Ca Phe Saigon serves authentic and homemade Vietnamese dishes and coffee from family recipes passed down from the ancestors of the restaurant’s owner. With branches in Marikina, Mandaluyong, and Antipolo, Ca Phe Saigon is one of the most loved Vietnamese restaurants in the metro. Their bestsellers include beef pho, tamarind chicken wings, and fresh rolls.
4 | Miguel & Maria
Despite the Filipino name of the restaurant, Miguel & Maria actually serves a variety of Western favorites such as buffalo chicken wings, mac & cheese, burgers, baby back ribs, and baked Norwegian salmon. The restaurant, surrounded by plants, has a casual yet homey setup perfect for intimate dining as well as events and private functions.
5 | Cafe Lidia
Whether it be fine or casual dining, Cafe Lidia is always a good choice. The interior is a beautiful combination of old and modern style with lovely potted plants adorning the area thus making the ambience homey and relaxing. Its menu is extensive and the food is of high quality yet reasonably priced. The restaurant serves Italian, Western, and Filipino dishes such as buffalo wings, pasta ala Lidia, pizza, and seafood rice.
6 | Forget Me Not Café
For your sugar cravings, head to Forget Me Not Café as they have a wide selection of cakes and pastries including Nutella cheesecake, sans rival, chocolate cake, kiwi cake, and many others. The cafe also serves quesadillas, burgers, pasta, and coffee.
7 | Fino Deli
Wine and dine? Consider Fino Deli located in Marikina Heights. Claiming to be the first wine bar and delicatessen in Marikina City, Fino Deli offers a wide variety of imported wines, cheeses, and cold cuts. Don’t miss their Fino Platter, Mozzarella Tower, and Sangria.
8 | Vikings Luxury Buffet
Experience the absolute best buffet in the country at Vikings Luxury Buffet. It offers mouthwatering international dishes that will surely make your heart and tummy happy.
KNOWN FOR: Waknatoy (also called Marikina Menudo), a pork stew with sweet pickles.
WHERE TO STAY
There are many different types of accommodations available in this destination ranging from hostels to luxurious resorts. The following are our top choices for each range in Marikina City.
1 | OYO 400 La Trinidad Pension House (Budget)
2 | Marion Hotel (Mid-Range)
We recommend using the following sites to conduct research online of where to stay in Marikina City or for a specific destination:
Book your room with these trusted online booking sites. Booking online in the Philippines almost always guarantees the best price and a room when you arrive. We use these sites frequently to get the best prices and enjoy convenient bookings. Click each of the buttons below to find the best place for you at the lowest rates:
TIP: OYO 400 La Trinidad Pension House is the best property to experience this destination.
Book Online & Save Money
Use the chart below to get an idea of how much to budget daily. Actual amounts will depend on YOUR travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages … some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less. Prices are in USD.
A bed in a hostel dorm costs from 350 PHP ($7 USD), but smaller dorms can cost from 500 PHP ($10 USD). For a private double, prices start around 700 PHP ($14 USD).
Most budget hotels begin at 700 PHP ($14 USD) per night for a double room and usually include free wifi and breakfast. For a three-star hotel, prices begin around 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night. AirBnB is also widespread throughout the country, with private rooms starting from as little as 500 PHP ($10 USD) per night. For entire apartments, expect to pay at least 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.
Resorts and luxury accommodations vary greatly from 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) to 5,000+ PHP ($100+ USD). However, there are some really nice resorts and luxury accommodations which are surprisingly affordable.
We use and recommend booking online to save money using HostelWorld or Agoda.
Local food is extremely cheap, with street food costing under 50 PHP ($1USD). For an inexpensive meal at a local restaurant, prices start around 100 PHP ($2 USD). For a meal at a mid-range restaurant with drinks and table service, expect to pay from 200 PHP ($4 USD). Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Filipino food. Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher cost. Western food (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc.) is much more expensive but is still relatively affordable at around 200 PHP ($4 USD) for a meal and drink.
Fast food like McDonalds will cost around 200 PHP ($4 USD). A beer at the bar will cost around 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD).
A week’s worth of groceries will cost between 300-600 PHP ($6-12 USD) per person. However, food in this country is so inexpensive, and kitchens & refrigerators are hard to come by, I don’t recommend cooking your meals here since there is plenty of delicious street food to eat at very cheap prices. You won’t make it as good as they do and the food is too delicious to miss!
There are many modes of transportation available in the Philippines and each varies greatly.
Public Transportation is cheap. Bus services on the islands are inexpensive. Local buses (called jeepneys) are the most common type of transportation in towns and cities. The fare is usually between 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD).
On islands without a bus system, a taxi or tricycle is the only form of transport with fares starting at 50-500 PHP ($1-$10) USD for short trips.
Taxis are everywhere, and they’re very cheap. Most fares shouldn’t cost you more than 500 PHP ($10 USD) around town.
To get between islands, you’ll need to take a boat or to fly. There are ferries that connect the island together since they aren’t too far apart but, generally speaking, flights are the most realistic option.
Flights between islands usually cost about 2,000-3500 PHP ($40-70 USD). However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel. It’s only recommended if you have limited time.
We recommend booking online to save money using: Skyscanner, momondo, Kayak, kiwi.com.
Attractions & Activities
Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.10-$2 USD) to enter.
Depending on the activity, most day tours only cost around 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD), oftentimes less. You have more bargaining power if you go with a group. If you are expecting to do some climbing, remember to pack some warm layers. It gets cold at the top!
Other activities such as Island Hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, swimming with whale sharks, jungle trekking, canyoning, ATVs, jet skis, wakeboarding, cruises, parasailing, horseback riding, cultural experiences, and tours can cost as much as 1,250-5,000+ PHP ($25-100+ USD).
The Philippines is one of the least expensive places to learn how to scuba dive. Learning to scuba dive usually costs about 15,000-20,000 PHP ($300-400 USD), but often includes FREE accommodation for the duration of the course, which lasts three or four days.
Always book your tours and activities when you arrive. Stick to travel agents who are selling on the ground. If a travel agent won’t negotiate with you, move on to the next until you find one that will. Booking tours online is almost always more expensive.
Typical Costs in Marikina City in 2023:
- Hostel Dorm Bed: 250-350 PHP ($5–7 USD) night
- Budget Hotel: 700 PHP ($14 USD) night
- Mid-Range Hotel: 1500 PHP ($31 USD) night
- Street Food: 50-150 PHP ($1–3 USD) meal
- Restaurant Meals: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) meal
- Local Beer: 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD) bottle
- 1.5L Bottle of Water: 38 PHP ($.75 USD) bottle
- Jeepney Ride: 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD) ride
- Tricycle Ride: 20-100 PHP ($.5-2 USD) ride
- Taxi: 75-500 PHP ($1.50-10 USD) ride – use GrabTaxi app
- Long-Distance Bus Ride: 400-500 PHP ($8–10 USD) ride
- Domestic Flight: 2,000-3,500 PHP ($40–70 USD) flight
DOWNLOAD: Budget Planner Template
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The following is some of our best advice on traveling to Marikina City. Learn what you need to know BEFORE you go!
Tips & Hacks
The following are our Top 10 Tips when visiting this destination in the Philippines:
- Be aware that a tourist VISA is only 30 days. You can extend it upon arrival, or within the first 30 days, for an additional 30 days for a fee of approximately 3,000 pesos.
- Don’t buy into the fear factor. The Philippines has an unjustified reputation of being a dangerous place. It’s true there are security guards everywhere, but that is to deter theft.
- Manila is NOT the Philippines. Get outside of the cities to see the real Philippines.
- Don’t over plan. Boats, buses, and even airplane schedules are notoriously unreliable. Be flexible.
- Check the weather. The weather varies greatly throughout the Philippines daily.
- Typhoons can have a huge impact on your plans. Account for this when planning your trip.
- It’s not cool to raise your voice or show outward frustration in public.
- Be polite at all times. Realize that your country’s sense of humor may be different from Filipino humor and take this into account when interacting with Filipinos and while in public places.
- Things move at a slower pace. Accept it … don’t get frustrated … but do account for it.
- Don’t drink the tap water… but stay hydrated! Save money by buying large bottles (6-10 liters) of water and using it to fill your water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack.
For a complete list of our travel tips & hacks, check out the following guide and be sure to download a FREE copy for yourself.
VIEW & DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Travel Tips & Hacks Guide for the Philippines
The Philippines has its own currency called the Philippine Peso. Banks, ATMs, and money-changers can be found on the island. If you are exploring the neighboring islands or provinces, make sure to bring enough cash that will last until the next time you get to an ATM or bank since most tours, transportation, and budget accommodations only accept cash.
READ MORE: Money in the Philippines: Everything You Need to Know
Health & Safety
While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is Marikina City, you need to use common sense just as you would in any country, especially when traveling, and in a city, town, or area you are unfamiliar with.
Consult your hotel or resort front desk as they are more likely to give you reliable information than a random stranger on the street. Be careful when approaching strangers and selective about who you approach. Always pay attention to your gut feeling and follow it.
READ MORE: How to Avoid Scams & Thieves in the Philippines
There are many things to consider when traveling in order to stay safe … things that we may not be accustomed to during our normal everyday lives. The following are articles about tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the Philippines:
- 6 Common Accidents to Avoid
- How to Beat the Heat in the Philippines
- Taxi Safety Tips: Dos and Don’ts
- Motorbike Safety Tips
- Beach & Ocean Safety Tips
- Sun Safety Tips
TIP: The best way to avoid problems and stay safe is to travel with a local resident.
Staying fit & healthy can be challenging when traveling in the Philippines.
The tropical Philippines climate requires you to prepare for illnesses that you may not normally be accustomed to.
The following are our Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling in the Philippines:
- Maintain a Balanced Diet
- Stay Hydrated but Only Drink Bottled Water
- Get Plenty of Rest
- Allow Your Body Time to Adjust
- Keep Active
- Sanitize Often
- Be Aware of Food Safety Concerns
- Take Your Vitamins
- Practice Safe Sex
- Be Prepared Should You Get Sick
READ MORE: Stay Healthy in the Philippines: How to Avoid Getting Sick
You need to have a local-based SIM card in order to stay connected when in the Philippines. Network giants such as Globe and Smart have SIM cards you can use to make calls, send text messages, and also to connect to the Internet. A SIM card costs around 50 PHP ($1 USD) and usually comes with a FREE load worth 50 PHP ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load that is available almost anywhere in the city.
While you may not have problems with signal strength when in the city, it is not always the case when on islands or in remote areas of a province. So when arranging for transportation pick up, say when renting a boat to take you to and pick you up from the island, it would be best that you make it clear what time you need to be picked up before the boatman leaves.
Recommended Travel Apps
Apps for smartphones and tablets can be useful both before you leave and while you’re traveling. Most are available for iPhones and Android phones.
The following are our Top 10 most useful travel apps on our smartphones when traveling in the Philippines:
- Grab (taxis/ride shares)
- Angkas (motorbike ride-hailing)
- WhatsApp (phone calls)
- Skyscanner (flights)
- Rome2Rio (transportation)
- Agoda (accomodations)
- Booking.com (accomodations)
- AirBnB (accomodations)
- Traveloka (flights, accomodations, activities)
- Klook (attractions & activities )
Be certain to download and set up apps BEFORE leaving on your trip to make certain each is installed and working properly.
For our complete list of travel apps that we use and recommend while traveling in the Philippines, checkout our checklist below. Download a FREE copy for yourself as a PDF.
READ MORE: The Ultimate List of Travel Apps for the Philippines
Trying to decide what to do when traveling to a destination for the first time can be a bit overwhelming given your lack of familiarity with the place along with all of the available options.
We’ve created the following itinerary to help simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your trip. Although we provide a 7 day itinerary for this destination, it can always be adjusted to fit the length of your trip.
VIEW: Marikina City 7-Day Travel Itinerary
The secret to a successful and stress-free trip is to start by using a packing list. This will reduce anxiety from the start and ensure that nothing important is forgotten when packing. To make this process easy for you, we’ve created a detailed packing list. Click the link below to download it for FREE now.
Carrying your checklist with you during your travels can be useful when repacking, by helping to ensure that you do not leave anything behind.
VIEW & DOWNLOAD: Our Ultimate Packing Guide & Checklist
Things to Remember
We recommend taking note of the following while traveling in Marikina City or in the Philippines in general.
There is a nationwide ban which prohibits smoking in public places including indoors, the streets, on sidewalks, in restaurants , and on public transportation, requiring smokers to use designated smoking areas. Selling tobacco to and purchasing from or for minors is also prohibited. Violators are subject to fines (up to 5,000 PHP | $100 USD) and even 4 months in prison.
The minimum legal drinking age is 18. Alcohol such as beer and hard drinks can easily be bought in grocery and convenience stores. The most common alcoholic beverage is beer, generally served cold. Local alcoholic drinks include tuba (coconut wine which is usually very strong) and potent moonshine-like clear liquors made from sugar or fruit. Imported beer, wine, and name brand hard alcohol are available but expensive.
Drugs are illegal in the Philippines. Don’t use, buy, or sell any non-prescription drugs while in the Philippines … not even marijuana. It is considered an especially heinous crime to buy from, for, or sell drugs to children. The penalties are severe … up to and including death.
Public nudity is illegal in the Philippines and is not tolerated. Most locals consider it offensive. There are laws which prohibit provocative and erotic clothing and swimwear, therefore carefully consider your clothings and swimwear choices to make certain they are not too revealing.
Foreigners & Expats
If you are not a Filipino citizen, remember that you are a guest when visiting this country … be certain to act accordingly. Respect the people, their customs, and the environment and wlidlife. You can be deported and banned … so behave … but have fun and enjoy all that this wonderful destination has to offer.
READ MORE: Practical Information about the Philippines
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