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Monday, June 26, 2023

Marikina City, the Beasts of Live Music in the East

06/26/2023 12:10:02 PM

Since the resumption of the world back into normalcy, the events industry has experienced a sort of resurgence – or a rebirth, if some may say. Although, unfortunately, some of our favorite places have closed shop for us live music lovers, 2022 (or even as early as late 2021) saw an opening for some venues around the Metro.

Before the sudden shutdown, Novaliches slowly made their way for all the music and merry making the Northern people badly craved. Pasig and even Taytay in Rizal province also joined the budding trend of staging music halls. And no, this isn't biased because I was a Marikina resident since birth.

The year 2022, though, saw the emergence of Marikina City in setting up its network of places that would cater to those who clamor for live music. 

And why not? Lilac became Marikina's version of Kapitolyo and Maginhawa. We might as well put up some bars and food parks that showcase live bands and solo acts from various genres on weekend nights, right? That's beside the fact that Sto. Niño already had its fair share of chill bars which sometimes book certain bands and disc jockeys to provide nightlife.

Although unfortunately, one iconic name in Forage closed shop right before this monumental phase would eventually unfold. Oh well, without further ado, let's check out some venues in Marikina City that are worth the experience. 


Living to its namesake, RUINS is known as a resto-bar built from remnants of an Italian Restaurant. It appeared to be just another regular bar in the city proper (hey, it's just a few blocks from the Sports Center). However, beyond the name lies a place that highlights music, arts, and good reasonably-priced food and drinks.

Accessibility is definitely in their favor, despite the heavy traffic the city has been plaguing for years. A bottle of Red Horse 500mL for just less than 100 pesos is already a good steal compared to other places that offer Stallion (330mL) for almost 140 bucks. Not to mention, their sisig's the shit, yo!

Ruins mostly houses acoustic shows and underground music production outfits, with Aye clothing brand, Bigtimetado and Beastmode productions being just few of its notable regulars. 

Ruins bar is located at Shoe Avenue in Sto. Niño, Marikina City.


Placed at the same compound that houses automobile parts and services shops, a Gotobox branch, and a KTV bar upstairs, Milenya exudes both Director's Club and BGC-like vibe. The interiors may look like vintage Filipino designs with a touch of a modern pub. However, it makes you think like Upperhouse or Brewery – sans the actual machines – just moved to the Far East with the spacious room area, premiere comfy sofas and tables, and a backdrop that makes you think you're digging a  cabaret show.

First established in 2020 as a restaurant, Milenya transformed itself into a night-out venue in a very similar location to the defunct Forage bar (a poor man's 12 Monkeys, I must say). Hey, their dinakdakan is the bomb, by the way – just have your milk ready when you get home after taking the helluva good bar chow yourself. If you don't want to call a night, there's a nearby branch of Kanto Freestyle Breakfast.

One of the first music bars to resume operations during the pandemic, Milenya housed some legendary music icons such as Basti Artadi, P.O.T., Orange & Lemons, Soapdish, and Tanya Markova, to name a few. 

Milenya is located at Mayor Gil Fernando Ave. Ext., Marikina City.

Imajin: Arts and Music (also stylized as 1majin)

In May 2022, I already got word from Allan Mitchell Silonga about this bar he would open. Fast forward to that Friday night in August 2022, I would meet him again for the music video launch of his son, Blaster. Little did I know that Daddy A owned up to his words and instantly put them on the map for all music lovers. 

And hell, it's a damn venue like no other. Some may compare Imajin to a mix of Jess & Pat's (but with San Miguel Pale Pilsen and Light beers available) and Route 196 (because of the rep they are currently building). Hey, their array of sandwiches and iced teas are a must-tries, I guarantee y'all that! 

The difference, though, is once you open the Narnia-like door, it's a goddamn different world with all the artworks placed on each side, a minibar that makes all the homie titos and titas can hang around, a dark-yet-awesome feel, and a sound system that's relatively superior for most of the time (well, it helps that a musician owns the place). 

Obviously, Imajin is the homecourt of Silongas, which means that at a random billed night, you may find either Shanni, K24/7, Daddy's Home, Blaster and The Celestial Klownz performing there. But more than that, this place also became home to several gigs of Aye, Paniki, Giglab, and CD's Atbp., to name a few. It also went under renovation in early 2023 to provide a more intimate vibe and supreme sound quality.

Imajin: Arts and Music is located at 135 Katipunan Street, Marikina City. 

EASTSIDE by Sandugo Music

Although technically located at Cainta, Rizal, Eastside Sandugo is a new live music venue located a few meters from the regional boundary of Marikina and Rizal. 

Situated inside the Sandugo branch on Sumulong Highway, Eastside embodies a warehouse vibe that has an over-the-top lights and sounds system along with a billiards hall, their own sandals store that remains open until late, and a store that perhaps has a decently-priced Red Horse 500mL. It's like B-Side minus the filthy CR.

Eastside Sandugo can house some of the biggest shows with its spacious-ish atmosphere that may remind some of Metrotent or Whitespace – just minus the size. The venue can add some flavor of intimacy thanks to its dark curtains and overall physical structure.

One can say that Eastside by Sandugo is the biggest and grandest in the area. Sleeping Boy Collective mounted select events in this very place. Sandwich also once staged its monumental Grip, Stand, and Throw album anniversary event there.

Eastside by Sandugo Music is along Sumulong Highway, Cainta, Rizal; a few minutes of walk away from the regional boundary. 


Perhaps one of the latest additions, Pit88 is now one of the most accessible music places to swing by in Marikina. With a setup that gives a mixture of resemblances with 19 East and Social House, the former cockpit venue now houses live music almost every night, thanks to its awesome lights and sound system. The food and drinks were quite good even at their reasonable prices too.

Production outfits like Chocolatey, CDs Atbp., Parayaoski, and Final Round tend to host their gigs at Pit88 regularly. Even notable acts like Mojofly, Typecast, This Band, The Dawn, and Freestyle have graced their stage.

Pit88 Restobar is situated alongside Old China Dimsum House at Mayor Gil Fernando Avenue, Marikina City.

Cityboy Brew

From brewing in the streets, Cityboy established itself as a brand of coffee embedded in street culture/ And now, with four branches situated around the city and the nearby Cainta in Rizal Province, Cityboy Brew also becomes a haven for those who want to chill through live music – specifically, their outlets in Sto. Nino and Calumpang.

Whether it's pent-up loud rock or hip-hop music or a laidback alternative pop sound, Cityboy Brew branches can serve live music alongside its signature coffee (in case you don't dig beers).

Cityboy Brew have its branch in Nicanor Roxas Street in Calumpang, D. Tuazon, and Cainta Rizal; while its main is located at Aquilina Street in Sto. Niño, Marikina City.


Although it's no secret that Marikina City has built its chain of food parks before, rare is the kind of Cirma's Foodtrip wherein they would book a sound system and bars for their share of weekend festivities. Drop by at a random Friday night, pay a premium-priced ticket, and you will witness several elite acts like Crib X Mela and MYMP performing in accompaniment to whatever munchie and drinks you are digging at a random Friday or Saturday evening. Hell, even Truefaith once perform here. 

Cirma's Foodtrip is located at Cirma St, Brgy. Sto. Niño, Marikina City.

The list above may not comprise all the live music places in Marikina City yet. So that being said, I might add them should I have a chance to drop by and check them out. Meanwhile, the point is, as we all go back to our lives, the landscape of nightlife entertainment slowly changes, and it just had put some beasts in one of the easternmost cities of the metropolitan – something worth checking out, away from the usual busy districts.

Author: slickmaster | © 2023 The SlickMaster's Files

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