Remember the Manila COD?

Excerpt from
by Alex Castro

Manila C.O.D. was one of Manila’s leading department stores that began as a small shop along Rizal Avenue in busy Sta. Cruz in 1948. The shop was managed by Alex Rosario who, because he had insufficient funds to promote Manila C.O.D. via print advertising, thought of a crowd-drawing gimmick. In 1957, at the onset of the holidays, Rosario created an outdoor animatronic display, complete with fabulous scenes, light, and music that drove customers to his little store. In due time, Manila C.O.D. became one of the city’s most popular shopping destinations.

 In 1966, the main store of Manila C.O.D was moved to Cubao, the first department store in the burgeoning Araneta Center. There, the spectacular thematic Christmas displays, with more complex mechanisms and with realistic fiberglass figures, continued drawing massive crowds and sales. By the 1990s, shopping preferences changed with the emergence of super malls, leaving many department stores like Manila C.O.D. with no choice but to cease its operations in 2002.


The COD is back home! The Christmas On Display shows will run from November 23 to January 6, 2019 at the Times Square Food Park, located at the corner of Times Square and Gen Roxas Avenue, Araneta Center.



  1. I have fond memories of the Cubao COD store. In the mid to late 70's my parents would bring us to watch the Christmas display. Good memories. In Nov 1982, my dad bought me my first radio-controlled (remote control) car (I still have it) in COD. In 1989, after college graduation, I bought my first long pants (by myself) for office wear in COD. There I met my elementary classmate (now a saleslady in COD) and she told me that sales have been declining due to SM North EDSA mall competition. Madalas ako sa COD mag-window shopping, looking at Dungeons and Dragons modules in late '80s and scouring the used bookstands.


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