Cubao Expo: The Newest Sunday Market Destination

A new player is joining the Sunday Market scene, and it's a locale that will have most of you sighing with nostalgia: Cubao Expo or Cubao X, the former Marikina Shoe Expo, located at General Romulo Ave., Cubao, Quezon City.

Longtime bazarista and Reading Room owner Sandy Allan Beltran is behind the initiative, and unlike other Sunday Markets that may seem too upscale and stringent, Sundays at Cubao X promises a more inclusive atmosphere.

''I've always done the sell-where-you-can thing since my 20s, and when I opened up The Reading Room (a boutique-cum-soul card-reading shop) five years ago, in Cubao X, the administration there was very open to having events done on the fly,'' she relates. ''The 'latagan' (lay your wares on a mat) concept came about when I realized there was a market for small sellers who needed a venue to sell their whatever-they-had items at a very low price, and it was a huge hit, and in the past two years, the concept has spread like wildfire to almost every other bazaar organizer in the Metro,'' she says.

Cubao X had to put the markets on hold, however, when Ondoy hit and almost all the sellers were affected. ''But now they're slowly coming back, and we welcome them back,'' says property administrator Bujim Aquino.

''I will always try to have more events like this, because there will always be the small-time-seller, the clueless entrepreneur, the struggling single parent or working student or retiree who needs an extra buck or the bored housewife with too much of everything who will want to try selling,'' says Beltran. ''I identify with all of them-who doesn't always need an extra buck at one point or another? What is so beautiful about Cubao X is that it is now identified as a place that inspires and nurtures and welcomes such entrepreneurs. Only good can come out of this, so it will be a good thing to always push through with it,'' she adds.

Known as the go-to place for vintage and novel finds and the famed Bellini's Ristorante, Cubao X is also known for its choice of watering holes and dining places-like Fred's Revolucion, a pub that's gained a strong following among chefs, creatives and personalities who like to keep a low profile; and PenPen's, the fusion Filipino place owned by actor Ping Medina. It's a destination for ''everyone on every budget level,'' says Beltran.

''Cubao X is a free-flowing place. We have the thrift shops where cool finds can be had starting at P5 to P5,000! We have art galleries where one can enter and browse without paying a cent. We have high-end restaurants and even the ubiquitous carinderia all in one place. We have boutiques that offer current fashions, artisan and hand-crafted and art-inspired creations. No one cares who you are here, or where you're from, but we will treat you with equanimity, politeness and friendly warmth. We aren't a mall-we're Cubao X.''

The offerings at Sundays at the X remain just as diverse: ''Gourmet sausages, plants, garage-sale/flea-market items, second-hand furniture, apparel, footwear, books, magazines, toys, decor, knick-knacks, collectibles, CDs and DVDs, baked goods-everything our sellers can come up with,'' enthuses Beltran.

Entrance to Sundays at the X is free.

Interested concessionaires can contact Beltran at facebook.com/SundaysAtTheX, or visit The Reading Room, Shop 39, during shop hours (Mon to Sun 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) for inquiries. Sundays at the X are held every Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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