I never left Cubao. Ever since we moved here more than forty years ago. The place was along Harvard Street, a family compound owned by my father’s family. We moved in during the time Cubao still had open canals. There were a few buildings along Aurora Boulevard. There was Shoe Mart near Quinmarts. And Aurora Arcade had Ma Mon Luk and Hong Ning Panceteria. There was COD, Queens Supermarket, Rustan Grocery and Department Store, Fiesta Carnival, Farmer’s Market and Garden, Ali Mall, Shoe Mart, and Marikina Shoe expo inside or beside the Araneta Center. All circling the Araneta Coliseum. As for cinemas there were Coronet Theater, Remar, New Frontier, Quezon Theater,Red, White, and Blue, Alta , Cinema 21 and one or two I cannot remember. And then there was Mercury and Commodore Drug Store.
A lot of things have changed since then. Shoe Mart is now Banco de Oro, one of businesses of SM or Shoe Mart. Rustan has moved into the Gateway Mall, while its supermarket burst into smaller groceries around Araneta Center; Its sister company Shopwise taken over Fiesta Carnival. A number of cinemas have become chapels ir places of worship; one has become a commercial arcade connected to the LRT; while the others if not refurbished seem to linger on, defying time and one wonders what sort of patrons it now attracts. COD has now been taken over by another SM business, Save More a grocery. Marikina Shoe Expo has mow become Cubao X. Farmers Market and Garden is now just Farmers Market. The garden now a parking lot. Mercury Drugstore and Ali Mall survived and so far has proven to be resilient.And Araneta Colseum is now Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Times have changed. After Gateway was built a number of towers of flats and condominiums began to arise. This led to a resurgence of Cubao. Come to think of it, this was bound to happen Cubao was one of the cross roads of Metro Manila. The LRT and MRT met each other at the intersection of Edsa and Aurora Boulevard. Slowly if not surely Cubao was becoming not only a commercial place but a living place with the sheer volume of residential buildings being built.
It was hard to imagine this years ago. And probably almost impossible when it was said that Cubao was a dwelling place of hunch backed witches. Some people say this was how it gots its name.
People then said may Kuba diyan or so the story goes. It is also said Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan Revolutionaries made a pit stop along Cubao.
Hard to imagine that this was once a land scape of hills. Now it is camoulflaged by the different houses and buildings.
And it still is changing.