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Restoration of Manila Metropolitan Theater

Manila Metropolitan Theater is considered as the " Grand Old Dame" of Manila's theater . It was inaugurated on December 10, 1931. Before the theater was built almost at the exact area where Teatro del Prinsipe Alfonso XII was an old theater built during the Spanish colonial period, which was near the present day Metropolitan Theater. This old theater was the main central building within the large and sprawling Plaza Arroceros in 1862. Unfortunately, the Teatro del Principe Alfonso XII burnt down in 1876, and was blamed on an irate Muslim terrorist.

During the American colonial period several years later in 1924, a member of then Philippine legislature proposed that a theater be constructed near the Mehan Garden formerly Jardin Botanico de Manila established in 1858. It took another 6 years to lay the corner stone of the theater on a selected spot within the 8,000 square meter Mehan Garden or Jardin Botanico de Manila.

Juan Arellano and his brother, Arcadio Arellano designed the art deco. National artists Honarata " Atang " dela Rama used to performed at this theater while National Artist for literature Nick Joaquin " Quijano de Manila " would watch theatrical plays and several notes international artists performed at this theater during the late 1930's and 1940's .

Renowned architect Juan Arellano designed this art deco building, the same architect responsible for designing the Manila Central Post Office and the nearby Jones Bridge. Because of the notable and exquisite architecture of this place, the theater was once featured in Philippine postage stamps that were issued in 2003. The theater has a capacity of 1670 (846 orchestra, 116 in loge, and 708 in balcony).During the battle for liberation of Manila in 1945 ,  the theatre was severely damaged, losing some of its roofing and destroying some of the walls. After reconstruction by the Americans it gradually fell into disuse in the 1960s. 

It hosted an ice cream parlor beside the theater in the late 1940's , a boxing arena , gay club house  in the 1960's and hosted around 50 to 70 families ( informal settlers ) before In the following decade it was meticulously restored in 1978 but again fell into decay.

The city of Manila, with the help of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) recently finished a plan to rehabilitate the theater.

The theater was again closed in 1996 due to ownership disputes between the city administration and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). On June 23, 2010, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Manila mayor Alfredo Lim re-opened the theater after extensive renovations.

The buidling was declared as " National Treasure " by the National Museum in 2010.

The Theater used again once for the Wolfgang Band Concert in 2011.  Estimates on the cost of restoration is between Php 350 million to Php 500 million pesos.

Physical Structure :

The sculptures in the façade of the theater are from the Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti , who lived in Manila from 1930 until his death in 1958, and worked closely together with Juan M. Arellano. Highly stylized relief carving of Philippine plants executed by the artist  Isabelo Tampingco decorate the lobby walls and interior surfaces of the building.

On the facade, there is a stained glass mural of rich flora and fauna mountaed right above the main entrance of the theater. Atop, there are Angkor Wat-inspired minarets lined on the concave roof that resembles a crown for what was once revered as the "grand dame" of Philippine theaters. Miniature ogival watchtower that looked like lotus buds stood high on each side of the facade. Bas-reliefs of zigzag and wavy lines accented its massive walls. The intricately designed wrought iron gates detailed with leaf designs and various lines. Broken Capiz lamps and pillars with banana leaf details flanked the theater's entrance.

Inside, there are statues of  Sensual movie dancers in ethnic poses that stood atop the side pillars of the theater. There are 2 mural paintings, 'The Dance' and 'The Spirit of Music' by the country's national artist Fernando Amorsolo. The auditorium has a beautiful rectangular stage decorated with a motif of mango fruits and leaves

We would appeal to all history and to all Filipinos as this theater is considered as one intangible cultural heritage that our forefathers that left to us.

The Manila Symphony Orchestra founded in 1926 made Manila Metropolitan Theater as their home until after the outbreak of the second world war . The orchestra  should have a concert under the watchful eyes of the Japanese soldiers with pianists and violinists fleeing from Japanese marauders clutching their music scores on liberation day.

Ms. Conchita Sunico became its head when it re-opens its doors to the public in 1978 . While Mrs. Manzano became the head until late 1990's .

Some of the Cultural and Variety shows held at the Manila Metropolitan Theater:

Other events includes:

This petition was delivered to:
  • Mayor of City of Manila
    Honorable Joseph " ERAP " Estrada
  • Office of the President
    President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and City of Manila


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