Much has been said and written about the Manila Metropolitan Theater. Sadly, everything good and beautiful about it can only refer to the past. The once elegant art deco structure still stands in the historic Plaza Lawton (now known as Liwasang Bonifacio), on the outside seemingly defiant to all the modernization going on in the rest of the city. Inside the theater, however, patent signs of decay and neglect (and should we say, apathy?) stare one in the face and leave a sickening feeling in the gut.
The grand dame of Philippine theaters is now no more than a faint echo, a sad whimper of its former splendor. There are hundreds of blogs that document this all too-real condition of the Met today. I’m just sharing a few photos here.
The dressing room, for example, speaks for itself. Old costumes lay in disarray, waiting for a custodian who may never come.
Not surprising for places abandoned for a long period, the dark halls of the theater are believed to be haunted by paranormal spirits.
The next photo shows the empty ballroom, while the one after that was taken with a group of visitors, mostly bloggers, rousing up the place. Note the white circular objects floating all over the second photo. You decide whether they are photographic orbs caused by dust particles, or spiritual orbs indicating other-worldly presence. I didn’t go there to ghost hunt and I didn’t feel anything weird when I took the picture, but something is telling me now that certain ‘entities’ were enjoying our company at the ballroom.
Two years after its vaunted reopening in 2010, the results of the good intentions to restore the theater to its old magnificent state are just not there. They remained at the level of good intentions, clearly. The question that begs to be answered: Will the Met ever regain its former glory, or is it just a matter of time before it faces the wrecking ball?
The Filipinas Stamp Collectors’ Club conducts a free Philippine Postal Heritage Walking Tour every third Sunday of the month. The tour covers the Post Office building, the Metropolitan Theater, Arroceros Park and other nearby historic places as the schedules allow. To pre-register, call Mrs. Josie Tiongson-Cura at 0917-9800708 (Monday to Saturday, 1PM to 5PM ) or Ms. Nena De Guzmanat 5270096 (Monday to Friday, 8AM to 5PM). Tour guide and Club VP Mr. Lawrence Chan may be reached at 09193901671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.