Metropolitan Theater: A Beauty Neglected - The Filipino Rambler


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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Metropolitan Theater: A Beauty Neglected

The Manila Metropolitan Theater (Filipino: Tanghalang Pangkalakhan ng Maynila, or MET) is an Art Deco building inManila, designed by the Filipino architect Juan M. Arellano. It was 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 destroying some of the walls. After reconstruction by the Americans it gradually fell into disuse in the 1960s. In the following decade it was meticulously restored in 1978 but again fell into decay.

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.

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 used again once for the Wolfgang Band Concert in 2011. But in 2012, the theater is closed again due to decays inside the building. source

I first stepped into MET back in 1993 to watch the play Ibong Adarna. I remember how my jaw dropped in amazement. It was one of the best I've seen!

Of course, this was once Gov. Vi's haven. This used to be the weekly musical variety show Vilma!'s temporary studio back in the late 80s. Who can forget the famous line 'I love you, Lucky' she'd say at the end of the show?


Last Sunday, I had a chance to revisit the good old Met via the Royal Postal Heritage Tour spearheaded by Lawrence Chan.

I was disheartened. What was once a venue for many outstanding productions is now a rotten building crying for help.

Some say the theater is now home to some unseen entities. I wouldn't be surprised. Inside was gloomy, and dusty and dark.
Do you see anything in this picture? This is a photo I took at the lobby.

The Grand Ballroom


I tried to remove this last pic but it won't; neither would it rotate. Weird. BTW, that's the storage room.

I know there had been initiatives to restore MET back in its glory. Much has to be done and a huge amount of fund is needed to bring back its old state. I really hope the government will do something about this. Let's not put our heritage into dump. 

A people's relationship to their heritage is the same as the relationship of a child to his mother. 
 -John Henrik Clarke

** Let's connect. 



  1. kapag tumama talaga ako sa lotto ng bonggang bongga, mag do donate kao for MET's restoration!

  2. Isama mo na din daw ang GSIS building ahihihihi


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