Araneta Coliseum: 9 Things To Know About The Former Largest Indoor Arena In The World

 

Araneta Coliseum (also known as The Big Dome) as seen from MRT Cubao Station

Araneta Coliseum (also known as The Big Dome) as seen from MRT Cubao Station

 

The entrance along General Aguinaldo Avenue

The entrance along General Aguinaldo Avenue

 

Araneta Coliseum is arguably the most well-known landmark in Quezon City since it was inaugurated in 1960. The Big Dome is famously known for staging international concerts and considered as the home of the Philippine Basketball Association. Though it now clearly needs renovation, it’s still a shining example of the Araneta family’s attempt to shift the center of commerce from Quiapo and Escolta in Manila to Cubao in Quezon City. 

 

1. Concerts and beauty pageants are not the only events held here. It also hosts cockfighting (“sabong”) events occasionally.

 

2. It was the largest dome in Asia when it opened in 1960–until 2001– with its dome measured at 108 meters.

In 2001, it was unseated by Ōita Stadium in Japan with a dome measuring 274 meters. And in 2013, Singapore National Stadium snatched the record with its retractable dome measuring 310 meters.

 

Araneta Coliseum as seen from General Araneta Avenue

Araneta Coliseum as seen from General Araneta Avenue

 

3. The Coliseum was designed and built by Architect Dominador Lacson Lugtu and Engineer Leonardo Onjunco Lugtu.

 

4. From 1960 – 1963 it held the distinction of being the largest indoor arena in the world. Today, the Philippine Arena in Santa Maria, Bulacan holds the top spot while Araneta Coliseum holds its place in the 9th spot (as of 2017).

 

Undated and uncredited photo of The Araneta Coliseum

Undated and uncredited photo of The Araneta Coliseum

 

5. The arena was renamed to “Philippine Coliseum” when it hosted the third and final boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier titled “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975. The former Philippine dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, lobbied for the event to be held in Metro Manila in order to divert the attention of the public, having declared Martial Law three years earlier.

The nearby Ali Mall, which was built in 1976, was named in honor of Muhammad Ali’s victory. 

 

6. It serves as the home arena for the Philippine Basketball Association and the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) basketball leagues.

 

7. The boxing match between Gabriel “Flash” Elorde against Harold Gomes on March 16, 1960 was the first event that it hosted. Around 30,000 people watched the event with tickets priced at 80 centavos for general admission and 5 pesos for the reserve section.

 

Araneta Coliseum before the boxing match between Flash Elorde and Harold Gomes (image credit: Presidential Museum and Library)

Araneta Coliseum before the boxing match between Flash Elorde and Harold Gomes (image credit: Presidential Museum and Library)

 

8. The coliseum is built on a 35-hectare property sharing a common border with two major military camps, Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame.

 

9. The completion of the coliseum in 1960 signaled the rise of Cubao as an alternative commercial district that can replace the rapidly declining commercial center, Quiapo.  This, until Joseph McMicking spearheaded the meteoric rise of the Ayala Conglomerate starting with the Makati Central Business District. 

 

Pedestrians walking past the main entrance of the big dome

Pedestrians walking past the main entrance of the big dome

 

The Smart Araneta Coliseum

The Smart Araneta Coliseum

 

The main entrance

The main entrance

 

– The Manila Project

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Sources:

  1. CNN 
  2. The Philippine Star
  3. Wikipedia
  4. World Atlas
  5. Other news articles

 

 

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