Meet Pack Industry

Meet Pack Industry

There are times when I just want to be immersed in a different scene, far from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city, the loud beats and bright lights of clubbing, and the upscale and trendy shopping. Then, I would find myself in Cubao Expo. Formerly known as Marikinia Shoe Expo, a U-shaped street that was the bustling shopping center in 70’s. In the late 90’s, the area hit hard times and the shops closed down one by one, until Bujim Aquino took over it and rebranded the place as “Cubao Expo”. Somewhere in its history, the Cubao X movement was born “The artist community. A state of mind. A sense of place.” The place has evolved since then, attracting a new generation, bringing in it a scene that is their own. It is a witness to the passing on of the arts from one generation to the next.

Munchies Anyone?


Serving authentic Italian dishes since 1999, dining at Bellini’s is a ‘cannot miss’ when at Cubao Expo. The place is iconic – the leaning tower in its entrance, its wall-to-wall paintings, and owner Roberto Bellini welcoming guests and sometimes, even serving the dishes himself. Recommended dishes include the Parmaham Arugula Pizza, Bellini’s Pizza, and Contadina Pasta among others.  Bellini’s Italian Restaurant


The only establishment that promotes organic living in Cubao Expo, Green Halo is a quaint café that offers a menu sourced from local ingredients with the Organic Producers Trade Association (OPTA). Make sure to try Green Halo’s Tahong Chips with Salsa Dip (P90), Chicken Pesto Sandwich (P70), and Tarragon Tea Shake (P70). Another crowd favorite, Chocnut Coffee (P60) lends a sweet and nostalgic coffee experience.


Have a beer or two at Fred’s Revolucion and allow yourself to be transported into the battlefront. Walls lined with symbols of raging war and memorabilia from all over the world, diners can sit back, relax, and get away from the city’s humdrum busy scene. Take a bite of Fred’s popular dishes such as Smoked Boar on Salsa, Bagnet Blachan, and Chilli Garlic Ribs. The concept restaurant is owned by photojournalist Derek Soriano, Red Constantino, and Gina Abuyuan who have all had their share of war time.

Tangible Pleasures…

Owned by James Yangco, The Grand Thrift House is home to vintage items, nostalgia, and various kitsch in Manila. The Grand Thrift House will take you back in time with a range of old vinyl records, toys, telephones, photographs, clocks, and dinnerware. It feels like going to a museum, except you can actually hold things here and admire the history of each piece.


The Reading Room is an eye-catching store with bright pink interiors and showcasing limited edition garments, accessories and novelty items from up and coming Filipino designers such the Pinay Pride Pin Art, Leyende by Neva Kares Talladen, ObscurePrototypeLab by siblings Art and Marlyn Martinez, the S.A.V.E Project, street paper Jeepney Magazine, the Benguet Women’s Livelihood Projects, and Slumbook by Witty Will Save the World, Co. among others. You’ll find select pieces such as dream catchers, Hello Kitty stickers, fruit cocktail rings and all colours of toy spiders. The owner, Sandy Allan-Beltran conducts soul card reading sessions; just make an appointment before going to the store.


Heima, an Icelandic word for “at home” is a furniture and lifestyle store dedicated to create things that “make the senses smile’ and “make your heart flutter”. Each Heima piece is worth a conversation– a patchwork couch, wall art installation, and even a simple paper organizer is designed to make its owner happy. Heima also offers custom made items for designers, collectors, and DIY decorators.


The Sole Project prides itself with locally made tsinelas with madcap designs that are smart, often with a wry or light touch of humor, fun, wild, and zany. It believes in, supports, and aims to promote Pinoy artists through collaborations – they’ve enlisted Comedy Cartel and Teamba for their own Sole editions. At an affordable price of P450 a pair, these slippers will make you feel truly proud to be Pinoy.

Home to Filipino Visual Art, Art 19B showcases a diverse collection of paintings and sculptures from both Filipino veteran and contemporary artists. Its owner, Carina Guevara, started collecting art pieces at home until there’s no space left which brought about Art19B. Their best sellers include Romulo Olazo’s paintings and sketches.


A haven for comic book collectors, Sputnik carries numerous titles that are not usually found in others such as Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore, Their Optic Nerve by Adrian Tomine, and Sock Monkey by Tony Millionare. You cannot miss Sputnik with its green goo exterior designed after popular indie comic book “Nardong Tae”. Don’t like comics? Ask the storeowners for a recommendation and they’ll gladly help find an enjoyable read for you.

A Very Happy Drink…


A bar on the first floor and the popular I love You Store upstairs, Thank you Today X Future is a popular hangout in Cubao Expo. The ambiance is indie, punk, and definitely artsy. I love You Store offers avant garde pieces only for the bold and fashion forward. The owners, Sharon Atillo, Mimi Samson and Corinne Ching, envision the place to offer workshops on sewing and pattern making and play host to group discussions on “art, film, money and life”. The bar attracts the art-inclined to the band-crowd.


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