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