Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Manila Metropolitan Theater now a National Treasure

I basked in its spotlight (hey, that was so friggin' glaring I couldn't see the audience, alright) when I was in my junior year in high school. Aunt H tagged me along (together with six of my cousins) to perform  a jive number during a Christmas party of the company where her husband Uncle B worked. I couldn't forget sharing the dressing room with some of That's Entertainment talents (that's enough clue already for you to guess my age! Guffaw!).

Inside my head this time, I play and replay images of its lobby and stylized relief carvings of Philippine flora that adorned the interiors and lobby walls. Outside, interesting sculptures liven up the facade. But the theater that time had already seen better days. So it didn't come as a surprise to me when I saw the theater left to decay many years after. 

 photo lifted from here

Metropolitan Theater or The Met, once the grand dame of Manila's theater, has been a favorite subject doing the rounds of feature segments in TV shows during haloween.  In spite of such reputation, there's no doubt that its art deco architecture speaks of an era we all want to revisit (exclude the WWII part).

"The Manila Metropolitan Theatre is an art deco building designed by the Filipino architect Juan M. de Guzman Arellano, and inaugurated on December 10, 1931, with a capacity of 1670 (846 orchestra, 116 in loge, and 708 in balcony). During the liberation of Manila by the United States and Filipino forces in 1945, the theatre was severely damaged, losing its some of its roofing and walls battered. After reconstruction by the Americans it gradually fell into disuse in the 1960’s. In the following decade it was meticulously restored in 1978 but again fell into decay.
The sculptures in the façade of the Theatre are from the Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti, who lived in Manila from 1930 until his death in 1958, and worked closely together with J.M. de Guzmán Arellano. Highly stylized relief carving of Philippine plants executed by the artist Isabelo Tampingco decorate the lobby walls and interior surfaces of the building.

The theater was closed in 1996 due to ownership disputes between the city administration and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
The theater is located on Padre Burgos Street, near the Manila Post Office."--wikipedia

On Wednesday afternoon, The Metropolitan Theater was declared a national treasure in a ceremony led by PGMA. In an article, Gemma Cruz-Araneta, vice chair of the Manila Historical and Heritage Commission, said the Met was Manila's second national treasure. The first was the mural created by Carlos "Botong" Francisco" at the Bulwagang Villegas of the Manila City Hall.

Not for nothing but it's high time the grand dame gets that honor to shield her from mindless developments in Metro Manila like what happened to Arroceros Forest Park during the Atienza administration.

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