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Manila Metropolitan Theater

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Related Posts to this Story:
Postal Heritage Tour
Manila Metropolitan Theater
Manila's Green Lung: Arroceros Forest Park
The Victims of Martial Law Memorial Wall and Andres Bonifacio Memorial Shrine

The second major part of the free Philippine Postal Heritage Walking Tour was the visit to the Manila Metropolitan Theater, or simply Met.

To Get There:

We simply walked from the Post Office to the Met. This is the place where you get off from the G-Liner bus on the way to the meet-up area in Liwasang Bonifacio.

Inaugurated on December 10, 1931 and designed by the Filipino architect Juan M. Arellano, the Manila Metropolitan Theater was created at a time when culture was highly valued in the Philippines, when Manila was still considered the "Milan of Asia". It was the center of cultural entertainment back then, presenting zarzuelas, plays, operas and variety shows.

Facade of the Metropolitan Theater. It is NOT open to the public. Our tour, sponsored by Filipinas Stamp Club, obtained the necessary permits to view the building.

Decor of the Metropolitan Theater. The little white squares are made from sea shells.

During World War II and like the Philippine Post Office, it was heavily damaged in the month-long battle for Manila that killed a hundred thousand, non-combatant civilians. Manila, and the Met, would never again recover its former glory.

Until the 1960's, the Met fell into disrepair until it caught the interest of then First Lady, Imelda Marcos. Under her, the Met was rehabilitated, a ballroom was added, furniture was flown in from Europe and the gardens were landscaped. When the Marcoses were overthrown in 1986, the fate of the Met was once again uncertain.

Lobby of the Metropolitan Theater. The painting is by renowned Filipino artist, Amorsolo. It is only a copy and the original was taken out for safekeeping.

The main theater. The dilapidated state of the whole theater sadly begins with this room. The seats are new, donated by Kuya Germs and some other Filipino artists.

This is Eve. At the other end of the lobby is Adam. If you look closely at the wrought-iron rails, they depict cinema rolls.

Up until now, various restoration projects are planned out for the Metropolitan Theater but on the day of our visit, it was still a pitiful sight to behold, nothing but a remnant of a proud past.

I guess one thing I could comment on about our visit to the Met was that it was .. eerie. The sad, sorry state of the whole structure gave me goosebumps. It was a good thing I always carried a flashlight with me because in some rooms and staircases, it was hard to see.

More evidence that the Met is falling apart

I was half expecting to see or feel spirits around. Lol. According to many sources, the Met is haunted.
The whole building had four floors, which we explored. One of the largest rooms was the Ballroom. It must have been quite grand in its day, given the size of the place.

The ballroom. This room is huge and according to our guide, could accommodate 500-600 people.
The brass chandeliers at the Ballroom.
At the top floor of the Met, there was a balcony that overlooked Manila. We were nearing the end of the tour.

Spires in the Theater balcony overlooking manila.
View from the balcony. That's the LRT 2.
The visit the the Metropolitan Theater was truly a walk in the past. It made me feel sorry for all the Filipinos who didn't even know of the glory we once had. I guess the important thing is not to look back but to keep moving forward.

The next two posts will be about our visit to Arroceros Forest Park and the Andres Bonifacio Memorial Shrine.

Interested to join Mr. Chan's weekly tours? View his tour schedules here.


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