My family called Cubao in Quezon City home for almost long, from I think the late 60’s until 1984. The first five years of my life was spent there as well as most of the years of my sibs’ childhood (too bad I was five when my family made the move to Cavite, our home for almost 23 years). Well, just like any other family residing within that district, we would usually go to Araneta Center especially Fiesta Carnival (which is now not in its former site anymore as it’s now across SM Department Store) where Sundays are usually spent.
However, Cubao also has its dark side — a place where snatchers would call their refuge, especially at the corner of busy Edsa and Aurora Boulevard, and where pick-up girls would congregate especially at night; thus in later popular culture, Cubao has earned a notorious tag. Although recently, the Quezon City government has embarked on a campaign to cleanse Cubao of such tag, such as beautifying its streets and getting rid of the underworld elements lurking in that place, a move parallel to that of the Araneta-Roxas family’s (owners of Araneta Center) “modernization” of the shopping complex, which gave rise to some new structures such as Gateway Mall.
Recently though, I was back to that place to meet up with a friend. I admit I have never been to that place several times, owing to the distance and proximity to Makati. And before my own two eyes, Cubao has metamorphosed from a district so trapped into a time warp to a seemingly-modern hub, which is poised to compete with Ortigas, Eastwood, and even Makati, although much work is still to be done. The Araneta Center now is no longer the Araneta Center of my childhood, or even the Cubao that everyone may still know…
And being the camwhore that I am, here are some snapshots of Cubao (specifically Araneta Center) now, taken at night:
What is left of the old Cubao (as taken from the top of the LRT station along Aurora Boulevard):