Metro Manila: Cubao isn’t just a farmers market anymore

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CUBAO INTERCHANGE nowadays looks like any other in Metro Manila: bustling, congested and with a plethora of shopping malls to draw the flows of transit in.  But as we crawl through this busy transit hub, my friends and relatives nostalgically point to this one building and their memories of going here for fresh produce as far back as the 1960s.

There’s a strong reason why many jeeps label their destination as “Cubao Farmers Market”, or simply “Farmers”: the mall has been here since time immemorial. And, to a large extent, its produce keeps it true to its name.  Perhaps this is one of the few benefits to the Philippines’ relatively sluggish growth: we can still identify relics from everyday life in the 1950s and 1960s.

Though this may not be for long: as with any interchange, it has sustainable urban planning potential. In the blocks surrounding, Cubao has seen the development of competing new malls and high rise condos. In stark contrast to the areas immediately in front of metro stations and the main roads, the area behind Farmers Market remains laid back.  But will it, and the market itself, stay that way for long? Hopefully as Cubao charges ahead, we can still point at a local institution and say, ‘we went there growing up.’

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