The power of community, the story of Molave Street


Tucked somewhere between Gorordo Avenue and Archbishop Reyes Avenue, you’ll most likely find Molave street where all cool things happen. Taken from the street’s name, the Molave Community Marketplace (MCM) has stood out in the fringes of the urban life of Metro Cebu when it transformed a dead street into a community.

The brains behind MCM is 35-year-old Willow Hoods, who ran a barbershop in the neighborhood.

“For 10 years I have centered my personal brand—Willow Hoods—on culture and community. I am constantly reminded that nothing brings people together like great food,” Willow answered.

MCM has provided Hoods a place to merge his love for fashion, food, and haircuts.

Beginning in August 2021, Willow has completely transformed a place that was long ditched by folks due to it being rife from street violence.

“After getting the space for my barbershop last May 2021, I actually got really thrilled of all the things that I can do on this street,” Willow said.

And what was previously left dark and lifeless is now a burgeoning neighborhood of 45 pop-up shops.

Willow successfully expanded his vision into the Molave street that exists today, a street packed with people selling streetwear, books, vintage items, candles, soap, food, coffee and tea.

From there, the community-orientedness of MMC has allowed safety and friendliness to take place again in the night.

It has since become the hippest place to hang out with friends, listen to great music, and eat good food in one go; a place where people can gather in safety and feel a sense of community.

Not only was Willow able to create a free, healthy public space, but his passion also inspired young creatives to engage in the community.

“I see MCM as a place where they can test their projects, make mistakes and make it better so that one day when they go to the big league like food parks, they are ready. MCM is happy to be part of their story,” Willow replied.

“Their schedule is up to them. If they want to try some other places because they are now getting invites, it’s really okay because that means my vision is working, people are paying attention to what we’re doing,” he said.

MCM has been attracting many social media influencers exploring and filming the distinct culture that the place carries.

And speaking of culture, another thing that gives Molave street a strong sense of identity and connection are the graffiti art seen in the area.

MCM has managed to gather spanning talents hailing from Cebu that substantially pulled out the street from the shadows with its impressive street art.

“In the beginning I really wanted to do something with the wall across my barbershop and I wanted to keep that independent spirit for MCM,” he said.

Street artists from Cebu like his friends from “The Bart Bros.” shared the same vision with him and organized an unsponsored graffiti event in the area.

Eventually, its urban graffiti has brightened up the whole neighborhood, proving that a street is asleep until you give it some life.

What Molave Marketplace Community has put up presents an interesting narrative to the many streets of Cebu that are left behind.

“MCM is a place where positive and forward-thinking conversations happen,” Willow explained.

It has revolutionized a community to once again take over an isolated street and install a vibrant and artistic scene for the young creatives and entrepreneurs.

“MCM is always in a state of flow and MCM creates another reason for people to visit Cebu,” Willow added.

In the creative spirit scattered along the small stretch of Molave that started from Hoods, a movement is born.


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