MRT Araneta Center-Cubao: The Story Behind Its Name

Last Updated: November 16th, 2017


Commuters waiting for the trains to arrive in MRT Araneta Center-Cubao

Commuters waiting for the trains to arrive in MRT Araneta Center-Cubao



One of the five stations of MRT Line 3 located within Quezon city–the largest and most populous city in Metro Manila– is MRT Araneta Center-Cubao. It is arguably one of the busiest stations on MRT Line 3, in part, because the connecting commute to nearby cities and provinces are all accessible via Cubao.



While there’s no way to pinpoint how Cubao got its name, there are a few theories that have been thrown around:

  • It got its name from kids yelling Kuba O! Kuba O! when they apparently saw a Kuba (hunchback) passing by.
  • Some say that early inhabitants of Cubao were actually from Cuba in South America, hence, the name starting with the letter “C” instead of the usual “K” in Filipino


Northbound and southbound trains arriving

Northbound and southbound trains arriving in the station


Araneta Center

Named after the prominent and influential Spanish-Filipino Araneta family, Araneta Center is one of the country’s leading commercial areas since its inception in the 50s. Instrumental to the rise of the Araneta name is J. Amado Araneta.

Born in Bago, Negros Occidental, J Amado was one of the most prominent members of the Araneta clan. His business interests at that time were mostly centered in sugar plantations before branching out in commercial real estate development following the independence of the Philippines after World War II.

During the administration of  President Manuel Roxas from 1946-1948, J Amado served as one of the president’s key advisers and became one of the wealthy backers of Roxas’ Liberal Party. In the two years prior to Roxas’ death, it was clear that his economic programs and political alliances clearly favored the sugar industry.

In their bid to shift the country’s business districts away from Escolta and Quiapo, J Amado and his son Jorge later focused on their plans for developing Araneta Center. With the construction of Araneta Coliseum in the 60s, they were briefly successful in their attempt to shift the center of commerce from Manila to Quezon City. This, however, was shortlived. With the rise of Joseph McMicking’s Ayala Center in Makati, Araneta Center fell into the shadows of Ayala Corporation’s success in commercial real estate development.

Today, Araneta Center is trying to rebuild its former glory by getting a major facelift. With the expansion of Gateway Mall, construction of new condominiums, and upgrading the heavily congested Araneta Center bus terminal.


Araneta Coliseum as seen from MRT Cubao

Araneta Coliseum as seen from MRT Cubao



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



– The Manila Project

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