Marikina is a city with nearly half a million residents on the eastern boundary of Metro Manila. Long known as the country’s shoe capital for its quality footwear — an industry that traces its roots to the late 1800s — the city is now dotted with commercial, manufacturing and residential developments. It is a major contributor to the economy of the nation’s capital region, which accounts for a third of the country’s economic output.
Marikina has become home to a wide variety of residents — from the likes of my late grandfather, a doctor who served those with less in life; to drivers of passenger tricycles (known locally as trikes) that have been an indispensable means of transport for the bulk of the city’s commuting public; and to me, a ceramics artist who works on sculptural and functional pieces in my grandparents’ garage in barangay San Roque (Marikina).
I go by the Instagram handle @taongputik (@clayperson) because clay is my medium. I use my hands to pinch, press, and roll the clay, working it to the desired shape in much the same way as a baker kneads dough.