Cubao is an important commercial sub-district in Quezon City, located to the east of Manila’s historic city centre. The 35-hectare Araneta Center lies at its heart, packed with department stores and retail centres that make it a major shopping hub in the Metro Manila area.
The Araneta Center is home to numerous individual shopping malls, including Farmer’s Plaza, Ali Mall, Plaza Fair, Gateway Mall and SM Cubao. At its centre is the Smart Araneta Coliseum, also known as the “Big Dome”, a multi-purpose indoor sports arena and one of the largest of its kind in Asia. It’s a major venue for the Philippines’ professional basketball league, as well as beauty pageants, circuses and big-name music concerts. On the eastern edge of the Araneta Center are the artist’s markets of Cubao Expo and the Art in Island museum, while the Italian-Romanesque architecture of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Cubao lies to the west. The area surrounding the Araneta Center is dotted with upmarket condominiums and nightclubs catering to a diverse range of tastes, together with various international call centres.
Cubao is connected by train to both Manila and Quezon City from the Araneta Center-Cubao Station on its northern edge. It’s also home to the Araneta Center Bus Terminal which has services across the Metro Manila capital region, together with regional destinations on Luzon Island.
The land on which the Araneta Center now stands was bought by J. Amado Araneta in 1950 in what was then a remote area designated for suburban housing. The Araneta Coliseum opened in 1960, spurring the rapid development of shopping malls, hotels and cinema complexes in its surrounds.