Guided by her husband Bayani’s vision of a modern, livable city, Ma. Lourdes C. Fernando has played an important role in transforming Marikina into the beautiful and industrialized city it is today.
As Mayor of Marikina from 2000-2010, she brought a paradigm shift in local governance from being a service provider to that of an economic manager. She ran the city like a private corporation, one where there are customers, workers, and stakeholders. Her corporate approach to community management has elevated Marikina to become among the Best Managed Cities in the Philippines.
During her term, Marikina was named the Most Competitive Metro City in the Philippines in 2002 and 2005, and received the Galing Pook Award for Innovation and Excellence in 2007 and 2008. She was also cited as the Most Outstanding Woman in Government Service and the Most Outstanding Local Chief Executive, where she was elevated to the Hall of Fame.
Today, as a private citizen, she continues to “work hard, work well, and work together”, serving Marikina through her business endeavors and civic projects. Here, she brings us on a tour of her Marikina and her SM.
Ms. Marides Fernando during the My City, My SM launch at SM City Marikina with SM’s Vice President for Operations Bien Mateo and Vice President for Marketing Millie Dizon.
“As a private citizen, I help give employment through our food and construction businesses, and help others lead a better life through education training centers. For me teaching people to fish is better and more sustainable than giving them fish. There are many things every citizen can do to help our country. Just doing your work excellently is one way. Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability so you can be an asset to our country.”
“More than just building roads and infrastructure in a city, I think it is also important to build character just what Bayani tried to do. He tried to instill discipline, the need for personal change, and the need for everyone to do his or her share in governance. That is what we worked for during the last 18 years.”
Through hard work and discipline, and guided by the vision of a modern livable city, Bayani and Marides Fernando have spearheaded Marikina’s transformation into the beautiful and industrialized urban city it is today.
Marikina River Park
“During our business trips abroad, Bayani and I saw how a river can be an asset to a city just like it is in Paris, Singapore, Korea, and San Antonio Texas. We thought that it could actually be done – transform the river into a beautiful and clean place that could be an asset to the community.
With that vision in mind, Bayani, who comes from a line of politicians, tried to enter politics and became Mayor of Marikina in 1991. He then began the transformation of the city, removing the garbage, cleaning the streets, and creating sidewalks and bicycle lanes.
When we upgraded the river, cleaned it up, and made jogging and bicycle lanes in the River Park, people started to enjoy it and make it a gathering place.”
Over the past two decades, the Marikina River has been transformed into a virtual dumpsite into a Hall of Fame Awardee for the Cleanest Inland Body of Water in the Philippines. Marikina is also the second city in the country to be part of the prestigious Global 500 Roll of Honor of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) , and is considered one of the Healthiest and Most Livable Cities in the Asia-Pacific Region. The Marikina River Park, shown in the photo, has become popular as a camping site, a picnic ground, and a recreational park with jogging and bike lanes, benches, and a skating rink.
“If I would take a guest around Marikina, I would take them to Kapitan Moy so they will know more about the city’s culture.”
The 200 year old residence of Don Laureano Guevara, better known as Kapitan Moy and considered the founder of the footwear industry in the Philippines, was where the first pair of Marikina shoes were designed in 1887. Cited as a historical place by the National Historical Commission, it has since been developed into the city’s cultural center.
“The shoe industry has been the pride of Marikina for many years, and the Shoe Museum is our way of paying tribute to it.”
The Shoe Museum was conceptualized in 1998 under then Mayor Bayani Fernando, who thought that the City, being the Shoe Capital of the Philippines, should be a significant venue for nurturing the cultural and historical values of the shoe industry.
Located on a two storey building that was once the storage facility for Spanish armaments in the 1860s, the Shoe Museum opened on February 16, 2001, and has exhibits of shoes owned by famous people – dignitaries, senators, members of Congress, and of course, former First Lady, Imelda Marcos. It also showcases footwear from other nations, dioramas of shoemaking, and other insightful materials about Marikina’s shoe industry.
Macky’s Goto and Rocha’s delicious puto
“I love the food here, the lugaw and goto from Macky, the lutong Tagalog dishes in the homes like the Everlasting, which is like a meat loaf with raisins and pickles. During fiesta time, Marikenos cook a lot.”
Some Marikina specialties: Macky’s Goto, a popular food stop, is known for its famous recipe developed by Mrs. Dolores Diguangco. Rocha’s delicious puto, on the other hand, comes from an heirloom recipe of the Rocha family, which uses steaming galapong or fermented rice flour, topping it with cheese.
SM City Marikina
“SM is a big addition to the city of Marikina. When you upgrade a city, you have to provide modern amenities, and SM has provided the convenience of shopping as well as a center for events and activities. It has also served to galvanize the community for social programs, has hosted social events, and has been part of our annual fiestas. It is really a big contributor to the community, especially with the revenues and employment it gives to Marikina City.”
SM City Marikina has brought great shopping, leisure, and entertainment to the city, and has also been a catalyst in its growth and development.
Marides in the Old Spaghetti House in Marikina
“I go to SM often – mostly when I need to go shopping at the grocery or the department store. I also like going to its computer stores to learn about the latest technology and the shoe stores to see what’s new. My friends and I like meeting in the mall’s restaurants, where we can enjoy good food as well as beautiful view overlooking the river on the second floor.”