Family Food Trip: Marikina

Marikina is a great city. I’ve long admired the progress its gone through since it had a reputation for being a “salvage dump”, probably back in the 1980s or earlier. Now it’s one of the cleanest and most orderly cities in Metro Manila. Tito Del and my brother Nunik have long been gunning for a Marikina food trip so we settled on February 12 as our day. Nunik said he knew a lot of great places to go to, but unfortunately, he was absent from this trip.

We started off with a late lunch at Luyong, a Chinese restaurant along J.P. Rizal Avenue. We had pancit lechon, pata tim, green peas with shrimp and fish fillet with tofu and yang chow rice. I personally found the pata tim the best dish we ordered. The meat is tender and easily breaks apart with just a fork. The sauce is flavorful but not overpowering, making it just right for me.
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We passed by Kapitan Moy’s residence. Kapitan Moy is Don Laureano Guevarra, who is considered the country’s footwear industry founder. His house is 200 years old, and is considered a historical landmark by the National Historical Commission. It currently houses Café Kapitan Restaurant, and the second floor serves as a function room. When we were there, they were preparing for a wedding reception.
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I wasn’t able to check the menu but I want to go back and try their food. It’s a lovely place, very homey and old fashioned. It’s the type of houses that I like, as it has so much history.

Right across the street is Simbahan ng Nuestra de Señora de los Desemparados. A wedding was going to take place, so we presumed it was the wedding whose reception will be held at Kapitan Moy’s (plus, the color motif matched).
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We headed to the shoe museum but passed by a shoe store to browse their stock. They have a great selection of shoes at affordable prices. I’m sure it’s much sturdier than SM’s Parisian.

The Museo ng Sapatos is a short walk away from Kapitan Moy’s. For P50, you can see the famous Imelda Marcos shoe collection, as well as see some shoes worn by other Filipino statesmen. A history of shoemaking in the country is also available for viewing, as well as the second biggest shoe in the country. There’s a diorama of sorts at the museum’s mezzanine, some shoes from various countries all over the world and the “anything shoe related” collection of Marikina mayors.
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There used to be a doll museum in Marikina as well but I’m not sure if it’s still around after Ondoy.

We made our way to Pan de Amerikana for merienda. This place has been around since the 1950s. The Marikina branch is the original one, and is something you can’t miss when you pass it by, thanks to the giant windmill outside their store.
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The first thing I thought when I entered Pan de Amerikana was, “Ay, parang bahay ng Hobbit.” The ceiling was low, with a dominant earthy color. That’s not to say that it’s boring. Quite the opposite, in fact. The place is like a hodgepodge playhouse built by kids. I don’t know where to look first because there seems to be something to catch your eye everywhere you turn. There’s various artworks and photographs on the walls, various memorabilia and old appliances from years past, and a display of chess sets, which the owners seem to be big fans of. There’s a giant chess set that has a backdrop reminding me of medieval times. Too bad I suck at playing chess, although I think my cousin Rafael would have a grand time here.
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Pan de Amerikana’s speciality is giant pandesal made of wheat bread. A piece costs P5.50, and four would probably constitute a full meal. I had two pieces, with coco jam as filling. I had a refreshing glass of calamansi juice, while everyone had either coffee or hot chocolate.

We took a break from all our eating to take a walk along the Marikina River. There were a lot of folks hanging out by the river banks: walking, biking or just chatting and enjoying the cool afternoon breeze. Later, we drove to Riverbanks Mall to look at the various outlet shops. Since shopping was not part of my budget, the only thing I allowed myself to buy was a slouchy bonnet for P50.

As the sun set, we narrowed our dinner choices to three: Café Lydia, Mama Chit’s or Krung Thai (<–link). Thanks to my bad directions, we failed in locating Café Lydia but we did spot Mama Chit’s. However, Krung Thai won, and no one regretted the choice.

Our last stop was a nearby park located across the City Hall. At night, it becomes the practice grounds for marching bands and majorettes. We watched a group practice, and none of us could identify the song. Tito Ben and I did a few rounds of brisk walking just to get rid of the heavy feeling in our stomachs. A few minutes later, we decided to head home.

What’s next for the Kain Club (as dubbed by Todel)? We’re aiming for another cookout, and maybe a second round for eats in Marikina.

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