Saturday, 28 January 2012

13 Stand-Alone Theaters of Manila


Friday, 20 January 2012

Rex Theater

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

 There are many ways to tell how the district Binondo is very much alive. The buildings that surround the district are still preserved, Binondo's cuisine never failed the pallet of those who tasted, but the very admirable trait that this district have is that it is very careful to never let anyone know what it was thinking. Like other cultural places in Manila, Binondo has something to hide and it is up to me to find out what it was hiding.

 Liike most places in Manila, Binondo has something else to offer, from the Chinese labeled canned goods to Chinese fire crackers but one thing is for sure Binondo really knows how to use its old buildings. Instead of dimolishing it, they just refurnished it and make it new again. The Rex Theater is a fine example of how Binondo preserve its culture. The Rex Theater is an artdeco structure built during the 1930's located in Salazar St. Binondo Manila. There were actually two stand-alone theaters in Binondo, the other one was the King's. This structure survived WWII but as time pass, it was converted to a restaurant, the Presidents Tea House. The owner kept the fascade of the theater but changed the intireor.

It is a story as old as time can tell, Chinese New Year is just around the corner that's why I went to the district of Binondo to see how the Filipino-Chinese community celebrate New Year and I was also in a search for old buildings and quite surprisingly there are a lot. Binondo is still alive, from the food to the old neo-classical buildings, I was surpised when I saw a Cinese vendor playing with her Ipad. She is deninately keeping up with the kardashians.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Capitol Theater

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.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Dilson Theater

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Be cautious, vigilant and alert when you visit this theater and I mean it! There are a lot of snatchers, thugs & male prstitutes waiting outside the theater good thing my driver is always at my side. Before going to school, I visited the Dilson Theater, I actually did not go inside because of the theaters reputation. According to, there's something "miraculous" going on inside the theater but I dont think I need to elaborate on it. 

The Dilson Theater, same with the Lords & Jennets Theater was built during the  1970's. It is located in CM Recto Avenue beside the Hollywood Theater. I tried researching on the background of this  theater because I did not go inside. They say it is now unmaintained, no air-conditioning and very grimy. Unlike before where it is the place to be. In recent news, Mayor Lim closed this theater for several violations including the Ginto Theater but now it is open and still on bossiness.

They say nothing is permanent in this world, like the Dilson Theater, it used to be a place where families go after hearing mass but now it is a place where male prostitutes stay just to earn a little cash.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Metropolitan Theater

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Whenever I feel alone, i find solace in visiting historical sites.When I was alone during Christmas break I visited the Malate Church, When my friend (now acquaintance) stopped speaking to me, I went to the Manila City Hall and now my friends are all in Cebu for Sinulog, went straight to the Metropolitan Theater. I really wanted to go to Cebu and cover the festival but I have to finish what I have started. I need to cover the remaining stand-alone theaters in Manila before January ends so let's get started. After the feast of the Black Nazarene, I went to straight to the Metropolitan Theater.

In a place as beautiful as The Metropolitan Theater  you could not help but notice the littlest of details, from the muses that was sculpted by Francesco Riccardo Monti to the "batik" prints that can be seen on both sides of the theater, The Metropolitan Theater is and will forever be the the most beautiful theater in Manila. It is/was hailed the best art deco structure in the Philippines. Located is in Padre Burgos Drive beside the Quezon Bridge, this theater can accommodate 1,670 people. It was built by Juan Arellano in 1931 unfortunately and was badly damaged during WWII and for three decades the theater was used as a boxing arena, a basketball court and was occupied by the informal settlers. During the time of former President Marcos, his wife Imelda and Ortilio Arellano (Juan Arellano's nephew) tried to restore it during the late 1970's. Sadly it was closed during the 90's. 

There are efforts to save this theater but sadly until today the curtains has not been raised. If ever there are plans on demolishing this theater I will be the first one to tie myself to one of the muses on top of the theater. It would be sad and will be a big loss for our future generations, that's why I am documenting all of this existing theaters. Just a little sacrifice for my city and my country.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Ginto Theater (formerly Lider)

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

 No matter what the circumstances the people during the 50's and the 60's knows how to stay in control. They how to curve their impulses, they inforced a strict dress code, they maintained a strong moral-centered but as the years pass, everything has changed for the worse. Movie houses before were a place where high school students go when they are bored in class. They would watch films that are appropriate for their age; unlike today it is now a haven of prostitution. 

From Rockwell, I went straight to Quezon Boulevard and I cannot help but compare the city of Manila from Makati. There are many ancestral houses in Makati near the city museum and they are in great shape compared to the ancestral houses in Manila. Along Tramo and Zobel Roxas Ave. there are three houses that are up for sale. I hope the owners will just convert it into a dormitory or something instead of selling.

As for the Ginto Theatre, it was formerly called Lider Theater. It was built during the late 1960's. It is one of the few movie theaters that's still running and operating with double feature films. The Guinto and the Times theatre are the only theaters that are still operating along Quezon Boulevard. Last September the city of Manila raided the place for alleged sanitary reasons, fire code regulations and is now a place for male prostitution.