The Sonido family established its roots in Cubao. From Santa Cruz, Manila Pablo and Olympia Sonido settled in Cubao. It was a few kilometers from St Luke’s Hospital where Olympia worked and Pablo was a real estate salesman selling lots of the University Village near Aurora Boulevard – where the streets bore the name of well known universities like Potsdam, Cambridge, Oxford,and Harvard.
Beside University Village was to rise the Araneta Center and at its centerpiece was the Araneta Coliseum. Like a wall guarding it was the Aurora Arcade where one could find restaurants like Hong Ning and Ma Mon Luk.
Aurora Boulevard was the road between University Village and Araneta Center. It was and is still called Cubao. But where did the name come from?
Some people say that it came from the Tagalog word Kuba or Hunchback because in the early days Cubao has a number of hills – the house of Pablo and Olympia Sonido was situated on top of a hill. It is said that the during the Spanish-Filipino War the Revolutionaries, the Katipuneros, stopped for a short while in Cubao on their way to Balara. I would be worthwhile to check Ceres S.C. Alabado’s book KangKong 1896 – a novel a boy during the Philippine Revolution against Spain. It is said Kubao or Cubao is mentioned in the text.
Inside Araneta was said to be a radio tower that was guarded by the Japanese Imperial Forces during World War II. In certain parts of New Manila there are bunkers and bunker networks. Built by the Japanese it was probably meant as defensive position against the Americans. It is said that the network reach as far as Santa Mesa and beyond. Along Lantana road there was a house that had an intact bunker – once. There are further stories of gold supposedly left by the Japanese. One in particular lay inside the Christ the King compound. It was so much believed that a businessman once tried to buy the land and structure because he believed there was gold their. Of coure it was never sold to the business But as of this not a speckle of gold has been found.
Going back to Cubao. One of the more prominent structure is the Araneta Coliseum. It was and it still is the most famous landmark in Cubao. When Pope John Pail II visited the Philippines he had a talk at the Araneta Coliseum. The Coliseum as well as the street outside were filled with people waiting to see the Pope.
Overtime so many things have changed. Grass fields give way to open lots and open lots give way to buildings and buildings give way to bigger buildings. So much has shanged. Gone are the open canals the only one’s left can be found on the other side of Cubao near New Manila.
The Sonido’s still live there in Cubao. The sons and daughters of Pablo and Olynmpia. The grandchildren and greatgrandchildren as well live there now.