By: Paolo M. Bustamante
It is an accepted fact among the people who were born in the late 50's that the street of Escolta was once a place of glamour, fashion and culture. But as decades pass and new babies are born people have seen this street die in a quiet desperation. Yes, Escolta really had it coming, but sadly for Escolta it never learned how recover and move on. It had been five decades since the street of escolta was hailed the "queen street of Manila" and a lot has changed in that street. Old buildings have been demolished to give way for condominiums and offices. Luxurious shops abandoned Escolta to make way for Ukay-Ukay shops. But in this particular place in escolta, a theater is ready to tell its story before it leaves the street but until the time was right, the Capitol Theater would wait for someone to sit and listen to the plight of this iconic landmark.
A lot has questioned weather the Filipinos have a sense of nationalism and history. The Capitol Theater is a fine example of how we really give importance to our history and national artists. This art deco theater was designed by the late great Juan Nakpil in 1935, with the help of his fellow national artists, Carlos Francisco & Victorio Edades they made a mural that shows the history of the Philippines. The theme's interior was indigenous. They used the sampaguita as the central decorations on the stairs. The two Filipina muses was done by Francesco Monti, he also made the muses in Metropolitan Museum and Meralco in San Marcelino. This double balcony theater can seat 800 people. Unfortunately this theater was closed long time ago. Now there are new establishments and restaurants at the side of the theater.
If only i had money, I would buy this theater and i will convert it into a hotel/theater. We should treasure these establishments because it reflects and shows how our culture and history changed through time. If we keep on demolishing these theaters time will come that the only landmark that will be left standing is the Rizal Monument in Luneta and the saddest past about it is that it is not a work of a Filipino but a Swiss.