Cubao is the commercial heart of Quezon City, at the intersection of EDSA and Aurora Boulevard.
While the Triangle and Scout Area is the government, entertainment and nightlife hub, Cubao is the grand old commercial heart of Quezon City, with Araneta City, formerly Araneta Center, at its core. This district only developed in the late 1950s, when the Araneta family bought a piece of rural land once owned by RCA and built its first buildings. Cubao started to blossom with the construction of the Araneta Coliseum, which further become famous for the "Thrilla in Manila" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975. The first shopping mall to open is Ali Mall, named after Muhammad Ali; other buildings followed, like SM Cubao, New Frontier Theatre (Kia Theatre from 2015 until 2018), Fiesta Carnaval (now a Shopwise supermarket), and Farmer's Plaza. The popularity of Cubao slowly declined as larger shopping malls and commercial developments begin to appear outside the area, but, the area's status as the traditional shopping center of Quezon City refuses to die; the Araneta family, who owns Araneta City, has begun a redevelopment project for the area to return it to its former glory.
Cubao is not limited to Araneta Center, administered as part of barangay Socorro; the district extends into barangays Immaculate Conception, Kaunlaran, San Martin de Porres (Arayat), San Roque, and Silangan, all part of the former barangay until it was divided into smaller barangays. Local addresses continue to utilize Cubao as the barangay.
By public transit
Cubao lies at the intersection of LRT Line 2 (LRT-2) and MRT Line 3 (MRT-3) and is reachable from both of them. The stations of both lines are named Araneta Center-Cubao. LRT-2 runs above Aurora Avenue west from Manila into Santolan in Pasig. MRT-3 is built at the middle of EDSA and runs from Taft Avenue in Pasay to North Avenue within Quezon City.
By city bus
Better avoid travel by city bus. The EDSA–Aurora Boulevard intersection at the middle of Cubao is one of the most congested spots at Metro Manila, and if sitting on a bus for hours in EDSA's perennial snarls is not in your plans, it's better to take the MRT if you can beat the rush hour crowds and breakdowns.
Those said, Cubao is well served by city buses from points within the metro, and there are two designated stops, Cubao-Farmers (for city buses A) or Ermin Garcia near the Baliwag Transit bus terminal (for city buses B). City buses C can stop at either. The Cubao-Farmers bus stop is far near Araneta City and the Ermin Garcia bus stop is far across Aurora Boulevard, at the end of the EDSA-Aurora underpass.
By provincial bus
- 1 Araneta City Bus Port, General Romulo Street (At Manhattan Heights). Opened 2018, it is an air-conditioned replacement to the older terminal outside Ali Mall. It serves some northbound and southbound services on ALPS, Amihan, Ceres, Isarog, Peñafrancia, and Philtranco. One of the officially designated provincial bus terminals, this will be spared from the proposed closure of company-owned terminals scattered along EDSA and Aurora Boulevard.
Despite having a centralized bus station, many companies have established their own terminals elsewhere near Araneta Center; most around EDSA. This is going to change however, and those will be closed pending a court order.
For services from South Luzon and interisland trips, there are:
- ALPS the Bus (Beside the LLi terminal). Frequent trips from Batangas City, Lipa and San Juan in Batangas, and tri-weekly from Iloilo City.
- Ceres Transport/Gold Star, New York Street. Frequent trips to Batangas City, and bi-weekly service to Iloilo City. Buses to Iloilo, and some buses to Batangas City have a lavatory, but travel may be slower for the latter as they will make frequent stops.
- Cul Transport, EDSA (Before Nepa Q-Mart). Hourly trips from Lucena.
- LLi (Lucena Lines). Hourly trips from Lucena.
From the north, there are:
- Bataan Transit. Departures to Balanga every 15 minutes from 2:15 to 8:15PM, and to Mariveles every 20 minutes from midnight to 8:20PM.
- Genesis Transport. Hourly trips to Olongapo and Baguio, and midnight departures to Casiguran.
- Viron Transit. Departures to Vigan on 2:30AM, 3:30AM; 4:30AM, 6:30AM, 8:30AM, 1:30PM, 2:30PM, 3PM, 9PM, 9:30PM, and 10PM, to Tayug daily every 6:30AM, and to Bangued daily every 7:30AM.
For trips roughly within 200 km (120 mi) or 2 hours long, there are often no frills, but there will be vendors entering the bus at certain points and selling food and drinks at inflated prices. Longer trips will tend to have meals included on the fare, tickets must be purchased at a counter at the terminal, and on overnight trips and interisland services, there will be complimentary blankets and a ferry and port surcharge, respectively.
By airport bus
There are jeepneys to Cubao and from Manila and Antipolo, but as with buses, is hardly suggested due to the traffic. If traveling from the east, beware of "patok" jeepneys, which play fast and loud music and are driven erratically (often when requested by adventurous youth), but you'll hardly find them since police have cracked down on those.
- 1 Art in Island, 175 15th Street (Beside the Union Square condominium). 9:30AM-9:30PM. Interactive art museum where visitors can pose for a picture with 3D paintings in exhibit.
- 2 Gateway Museum (Fifth floor of Gateway Mall (see #Buy)). Museum dedicated to Filipino arts and supporting new artists.
- 3 Topiary Garden (Elevator from the Gateway Tower, or stairway from the Gateway Mall cinema). 24 hours. A small secluded garden at the top of the Gateway Mall. Benches and tables are available. See the garden's animal-shaped foliage.
- 4 Socorro Water Towers, 15th Ave, Cor. Col. Bonny Serrano Ave. Historic concrete water towers built in the 1930s.
- 5 "Christmas is Home" (At the Times Square Food Park). Live Christmas display in Araneta Center, featuring both Filipino and Western Christmas traditions and Araneta Center itself. It was revived in November 28, 2018, after it was held from 1966 to 2002.
- 1 Smart Araneta Coliseum, General Roxas Avenue, ☏ . Officially nicknamed the "Big Dome", this is a multi-purpose indoor arena built in the 1960s, and the centerpiece of Araneta Center. The "Thrilla in Manila" match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975 was held here; it is also the main venue of Binibining Pilipinas pageants since the 1970s. The arena gets its present name from 2010 when telecommunications giant Smart Communications bought naming rights to the arena.
- 2 [dead link] New Frontier Theatre (Kia Theatre), 7 General Malvar Avenue. Multi-purpose venue opened in 1967, with fast food chains, upscale restaurants and cafés outside
While it lost its status as the major shopping center in Quezon City over other larger malls built elsewhere, Cubao still retains its malls, supermarkets, and public market, while already dated, still gives the impression of the district's former glory.
- 1 Ali Mall. Mon-Fri 10AM-9PM; Sat-Sun 11AM-10PM. The oldest standing major shopping mall in the Philippines, built in 1976. It is named in honor of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who won the famed "Thrilla in Manila" on 1975.
- 2 Farmers Plaza.
- 3 Gateway Mall. Mon-Thu 10AM-9PM; Fri-Sat 10AM-10PM; Sun 11AM-9PM. The flagship mall of the Araneta Group. Opened 2006.
- 4 SM Cubao, General Aguinaldo Street. 10AM-11PM. One of the oldest malls owned by retail giant SM, but it looks more like its older sister in Makati's Ayala Center, SM Makati. This instead houses a department store and supermarket inside; all other shops and restaurants are outside.
The area has Starbucks branches at Ali Mall and Araneta Coliseum, a Seattle's Best outside Shopwise, and a Tim Hortons at the New Frontier Theatre.
- Bengal Brew
- The Northern Coffee Experience
- 1 Eurotel, 628 EDSA (At Vivaldi Residences), ☏ . European-style rooms with basic amenities. . Amenities include bar and restaurant, free or valet parking, massage, and safe. 3 hours: ₱395 ;Overnight: ₱1058.
- 2 Hotel Dreamworld, Roxas Avenue (Across from Smart Araneta Coliseum), ☏ . A/C rooms with free WiFi, cable TV and in-room bathrooms From ₱1010.
- 3 Hotel Sogo EDSA Cubao, 629 EDSA, San Martin de Porres, ☏ . The flagship branch of the nationwide motel chain housed in red and white buildings, with four room classes. Weekdays: ₱825-1175 (12 hours), ₱1425-1825 (24 hours); Weekends: ₱1306-1755 (12 hours), ₱1505-2075 (24 hours).
- 4 Hotel 99, 8 Pinatubo Street, San Martin de Porres, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Accented A/C rooms with free WiFi and computers. No free breakfast. From ₱1080 (₱1280 with breakfast).
- 5 Mariposa Budget Hotel, 30 Stanford Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Single rooms with cable TV and free breakfast. Free parking and WiFi available. From ₱1347.
- The Fernandina 88 Suites Hotel, 222 P. Tuazon Boulevard, Cubao, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Transportation available to and from international and domestic airports. All suites have living, dining, and kitchen areas, internet connection, cable television, air conditioning, hot & cold shower. The rooftop pool and restaurant have a nice ambience, especially if you like looking at a concrete jungle, and a complimentary breakfast buffet is available. Standard rooms from ₱1690.
- [dead link] Fersal Hotel Annapolis, 49 Annapolis Street, Cubao, ☏ . 62 double or twin rooms with air conditioning, cable television, a mini-bar and telephone. 24-hour convenience store, laundry service and an Inn Cafe also on premises. From US$29.
- 6 Novotel Araneta City (Novotel Manila), ☏ . Has 401 suites, two classy restaurants and bars, and an executive sky lounge providing 360-degree views of Metro Manila. Each room has A/C, cable TV, desk, minibar, and coffee and tea makers. From ₱4245-4875.
As of 2018, only Novotel is the splurge hotel around Cubao; the second splurge hotel to open is the 24-storey Ibis Styles Hotel, the first hotel in the Philippines under the Ibis brand; construction begun in 2016.
- Embassy of Colombia, Isetann Building, General Aguinaldo Avenue, ☏ .
Gateway has a limited free Wi-Fi service for Globe and Smart subscribers, although it is generally unreliable.
|Routes through Cubao (by car)|
|Caloocan ← North EDSA ←||N S||→ Ugong Norte → Makati|
|Becomes ←||W E||→ Katipunan → Marikina|
|Routes through Cubao (by rapid transit)|
|Quiapo ← San Juan ←||W E||→ Katipunan → Marikina|
|Makati ← Ugong Norte ←||S N||→ North EDSA|