Tucked under the mess and bustle that is the Araneta Center is a community for all things Manila-Indie: Cubao Expo. It’s famous for being an underground community and yes, as you would have guessed I fell in love with its charm. Not being far away from the centre of Cubao, Cubao Ex is the perfect indie getaway
It is shaped like a U with stores fashioned to the architecture of the 1960s Manila townhouse. Each store reinvents the same space differently, depending on their brand. Some stuff it with antiques and some renovate the space to look more Brooklyn-chill. There are a lot of interesting stores here, from pizzerias to vintage resellers to appraisers; each one is an artist of their craft-so I like to think
But I do wish more brands/indie businesses make this place their home though, there is quite a limited variety of options to go to. You have shoe stores (since it was Marikina Shoe Expo before), the repetitive vinyl/vintage shops, a couple of drinking places, and a reading room. If you’re on a passion pursuit yourself, consider opening up shop here and be part of the community! Manila Millennials love this place
While it might not be an exclusive/high-end community, it’s rawness is what I grew to love. It’s the raw Manila art scene in a small “town square”. It was in no way perfect, but it was alive and it was oozing with passion. It was very Manila-which I love. It was like the 1950s Manila with hint of something Millennial. It wasn’t entirely export-hipster, it was Manila-Hipster. The personality of Manila, the life, the vibrance, the energy of Millennial Manila exuded from this tiny square. I loved this certain aura about the idea of Manila’s take on Passion Pits (places that overflow with artsy passion); it was messy and polluted but compared to the other scenes I have experienced, it was vibrant. It was very much alive and it was very much emotional. Dramatic, tragic, even struggling in a way but still passionate.
Watch out for my reviews on my fave Cubao Ex shops soon!
Much Love, Manila,
P.S. Be warned, they don’t let you take photos so bring out your inner James Bond and steal shots if you want to take some sort of memorabilia.