a few other remnants of Old Cubao

In the midst of a continuing evolution of Cubao’s landscape brought about by modern trends and a recent redevelopment bid, it is interesting to see some of the structures that have become known as landmarks of old Cubao still manage to survive.

But the survival of these structures can either be a good or bad thing, especially in a place as ever-changing as Cubao. While it’s good to see some old “architecture” surviving in this part of the city, they can also be a bane as it can hamper the development of a certain area, especially if they are what can be called as “eyesores.”


Unfortunately, a number of old buildings that still stand in Cubao, particularly some of the ones located along EDSA and along Aurora Blvd., are eyesores by themselves which do not complement much to the atmosphere Cubao has been hoping to project. Worse, some of them have become favorite grounds for unsavory elements that have pretty much damaged Cubao’s reputation over the years. Continue reading


the “Farmers” of Cubao

For those who were fortunate to have witnessed Cubao’s old glory from the 1960’s-1980’s, it seemed far-fetched to entertain the idea of a possible demise of this colorful district. But by the 1990’s, this idea became an unfortunate reality as Cubao became endangered thanks to the shifting tastes in entertainment trends, the rise and the mushrooming of the shopping malls,(spearheaded no less by SM which ironically has a presence in Cubao as a department store) and the competition waged by rival commercial districts, particularly the malls of Ortigas Center and Makati’s old Quad and Greenbelt shopping centers that have been revamped to become the classier Ayala Center. The deteriorating peace and order situation did not help either as old patrons found themselves avoiding Cubao due to incidences of theft and other petty crime.


The Urban Roamer’s old Cubao map: the ones marked in regular font are the ones still existing in Cubao today

In the midst of all these, Cubao still managed to survive thanks to the presence of Araneta Coliseum and the reinvention of some of the old retail establishments to become retailers of second-hand imported goods, otherwise known as wagwagan and ukay-ukay stores. At one point, Cubao could be consider the metropolis’ leading ukay-ukay center of sorts. But this reinvention was short-lived as Cubao’s developers decided to take a new route in revitalizing Cubao, in the process forced the closure of these establishments and killed whatever potential Cubao had as a possible shopping haven for second-hand goods that may rival those found in Hong Kong. Continue reading


reminiscing Cubao: the Fiesta Carnival

More than the stores and the movie theaters, if you ask anyone who experienced old Cubao as to what was their best experience of the place, the most popular answer would probably be their visit/s to that beloved placed called Fiesta Carnival.


right at the heart of Cubao: Fiesta Carnival, along with Araneta Coliseum

Long before Star City and (in some way) Enchanted Kingdom, one of the ultimate, if not THE ultimate, amusement park in the metropolis was the Fiesta Carnival. Despite the name though, it was not housed on a tent like the carnivals we see in the movies. Rather it made its home under a warehouse-type structure with a variety of shops surrounding the building. Very far from the common conception indeed. Continue reading


reminiscing Cubao and its old movie theaters

When the Aranetas first got hold in 1952 of what was then a wide empty tract of land along what was then known as Highway 54, (that’s EDSA as it was called before) they envisioned the place what was soon to be known as Araneta Center as a premier entertainment hub to compliment/rival the old Downtown Manila area which by that time was already getting too crowded for comfort, so to speak. It would not be until the mid 1960’s when the entertainment scene in Cubao began to boom. As with the rise of the department stores, movie houses in and around Cubao began to mushroom. From then until the 1990’s, Cubao was one of the top places people go to for worthwhile movie entertainment, with so many movie houses one can go to, as you can see on this map below.


The Urban Roamer’s old Cubao map

Continue reading


reminiscing Cubao: when department stores were kings

As was mentioned in a previous entry, Cubao at its height was a premier commercial destination. For casual shoppers and enthusiasts, Cubao was one of the top destinations in mind if you’re looking for variety and great bargains to boot.

To give you a good idea of how bustling was Cubao’s shopping activity during its heyday, I would refer you to this customized Google Earth map I made. Here you can see that the department stores (who at the time were the upper echelons of the shopping hierarchy) were located right across or next to each other. You can imagine the chaos if there was a simultaneous sale that will be held by 2 or more stores there.


We’ve already talked about C.O.D.; let’s talk about the other department stores which not only served as competition but contributed to the overall atmosphere of Cubao that is now a stuff of memories. Many of them I have known and visited so I’ll try to provide a better picture based on what I remember about them. Continue reading