Saturday, June 4, 2011

Postal Heritage Walking Tour Part 2!

The second stop of our walking tour was the Metropolitan Theatre.

This was the most exciting part of the tour.. and interesting. Very very interesting.
The Manila Metropolitan Theater or MET is an art deco building designed by the Filipino architect Juan M. 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 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.
Recently, a bus terminal and parking building has been constructed at the back of the theatre.
The City of Manila, with the help of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) recently finished a plan of the rehabilitation of the theater.
The sculptures in the fa├žade 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.
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 theater is located on Padre Burgos Avenue, near the Manila Central Post Office. [source.]

Despite the said renovations ongoing, the complete restoration of the Met is a farfetch idea knowing that it would take at least 300-500 million (yes, we're talking millions here) to have it back in its former glory.

In the Theatre Lobby. Just imagine how fancy this place was during its peak in the 70's.
On a side note, ang sexy mo kuya Erick! *woot*


The theater seats were replaced with new ones, unfortunately, not with the theater's original wooden seats because obviously, it would cost quite a fortune.

Like an entrance to another world.
Backstage.
There was a certain storage room in the backstage area that made me quite uncomfortable. It was again another eerie feeling.
Hallways that seem to lure you to go and find out what's on the other end. (>__<)
Definitely not the Most Haunted but certain that there are some entities around.
Heading to the Ballroom. The ballroom is where all the weird thing happened. And amusingly, it seems that I'm not the only one who had an unusual encounter in the ballroom. Interesting, yes?
Welcome to the Ballroom. The weirdest room in the Metropolitan Theatre (by weird I mean, not visual-wise).
Large panel of mirrors at each end of the hall, fancy yet rusty and dirty chandeliers and cracked wooden floors.

So, what happened? When we entered the ballroom, I noticed that I only had 2 shots left in my camera.
Being excited to try a redscaled film, I snapped the remaining 2 from my B&W film and started to rewind the film. And then I stopped as I felt that I can't advance the spool anymore. I tugged carefully thinking that the camera might just be malfunctioning. A few more attempts, it resumed rewinding smoothly. Expecting that the film is ready to be taken out, I opened my camera and guess what -- my precious film, got torn. And so it follows that it got exposed. I salvaged the roll that can still be saved and hurriedly stored it. (I will still have it processed in case some shots can still be saved, I hope!)
Trying to shrug off what just had happened, I loaded another film. I was able to take around 5 shots when the lightmeter indicator went haywire on me. I turned the camera off and on again, tried to snap a shot yet failed.
Tried it again. 
And again... 
And again..
 -- until I decided that it's a futile attempt to revive Kibba (my camera). /quit.
I didn't put it as there was something unusual going on at that moment but merely just a misfortune but when I found out later that night that some people in the group had their own share of "experience". I was convinced.
And thrilled at the same time to hear more stories.
We headed afterwards to the balcony where one can oversee Manila.
We stayed there for a while and proceeded to Arroceros Park where you can see the Pasig River. Fortunately, the river was calm (and not stinky too) that time. Plus I was able to capture a good panoramic shot of the river. Sweet. :)
The Analog Nation group concluded with a meeting re: our online magazine (I'm still thinking of volunteering myself to help, but I have to make sure first that I can commit). I'm very happy to be a part of the group! Thanks to Kuya Mike for including me in the group! :) Can't wait to have more adventures with them awesome people! Go Analog!