Wet markets, especially many that are found in the Philippines, are typically characterized as cramped, disorganized, crowded, sometimes unsanitary places that few do not usually go to as a tourist spot except if you need to buy certain pasalubong (take-home) items that are only found there.
Thus, it is a fresh breath of air to see a public market place such as the Marikina Public Market area also known as the Marikina Market Mall, purported to be the cleanest wet market in the metropolis, not to mention one of the biggest as well in terms of area.
Located right in the city center itself, it used to look before like one of the typical disorganized wet markets. That was until Marikina’s legendary Mayor Bayani Fernando laid the groundwork to its transformation. More than fixing the market building and putting up one of the first cold storage facilities open for use for market tenants, he introduced the novel idea of defining a market neighborhood in which the neighboring areas became part of the market area itself, which helped making the marketplace more organized and more conducive as well for people to do business in this busy part of the city. Vending became organized as more space for pedestrians were allotted. The residences near the market became open for various businesses as the streets in the area were given roofing for shade.
The success of the Marikina public market experience is mainly due to the fact that the city rightly gave attention to the area around it and integrating it in the greater market place, something that a number of public markets fail to account which cause the disorganized chaos in these place in the first place. The old market truly became a market mall that everyone can enjoy to shop or even visit as an attraction and a fine example of order and cleanliness in the city.
The marketplace area is surprisingly well-maintained and orderly and one can find many items sold here, not just wet market goods but dry items like clothing, toys, and of course, Marikina-made footwear.
And yes, part of that motorcycle chase scene in The Bourne Legacy was shot in one of the covered streets in the market, which shows in a way even American producers like the place as well enough to merit a scene in a Hollywood film.
Here’s hoping the Marikina market experience would be emulated in other public markets elsewhere as a way of bringing forth not only order and cleanliness but also more commercial activity in which everyone would love to visit despite the perceptions present regarding public markets here.
© The Urban Roamer