Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Metropolitan Theater, The Darkest Secret

I joined the FREE Guided Royal Postal Heritage Tour yesterday, headed by Sir Rence Chan. A part of the tour's itinerary was to visit and see what is inside the Manila Metropolitan Theater, more popularly known as MET. The experience was a mixture of amazement, regret and disappointment. I wish I was able to watch a performance there when I was young.

MET, during its golden years, had a great reputation as one of the best theaters in the country, and could be lined up with the other equally awesome theaters in the world, I believe. Now I see it as Manila's lost gem - forgotten, neglected, abandoned, dilapidated, after losing all its luster and purpose in the fast paced modern life of the Metro.

The rehearsal room
And disappointingly, quoting an artile from wiki, "It regained its original use and prestige as a cultural center and finally closed down 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."

the balcony area
Had there been no administrative disputes, the MET could have been one of the remaining perfomring arts venues that our race can be proud of. The renovation and restoration of MET, though, is a tall order, considering the lack fund of the Manila government and the individuals behind the MET administration.

the upper area of balcony

Jericho looking for something?
The tour guides of MET encourage to not promote heritage sites like this by spreading scary stories about how haunted the place is. But, evidently, this serves as an evidence that the MET might really be haunted. 

We felt a heavy force when I suddenly separated my self from the group and went into a big room which looked like the big dance rehearsal room, with one of the walls full of mirrors for dancers to see themselves while practicing their moves. Then a colleague went in and tried to take pictures of the room itself, and then he began whispering "sheeet, nandyan na naman sya, nakatingin satin."

Besides the desire to capture the MET 'occupants' from another realm (lol), I took a lot of pictures of what is inside MET, in the hopes that I can also show you what Manila is losing, if they cannot find ways to restore, renovate and reopen this magnificent structure. It's more than just the architectural design, and the masterpiece artworks inside. It's all about the prestige that MET has brought to the country during its days. No ghost photos, unfortunately.

Here some photos inside the Metropolitan Theater.

Sign the petition at to save the fabulous Metropolitan Theater.

About Metropolitan Theater.

Conception of Theater

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, the idea to construct a theater which Manilans could call their own came in 1924 when the Philippine Legislature approved a project by Senator Alegre to build a people’s theatre in the Mehan Garden (now Sining Kayumanggi). It was not until six years later that the cornerstone was laid on a small part of 8,239.58 square meters of public land. Its grand inauguration on December 10, 1931 and zarzuelas, dramas, translations of foreign classics and stage shows that were to be presented before and during the war years.

Written and photos by Jericho Carillo

About Jericho Carrillo, he is activate member of the Heritage Conservation Society - Youth and working in an GL Advisor as Associate Client Advisor.

The About the Met information got from


  1. Thanks for featuring this. That rehearsal room is memorable to me. That is where I auditioned for my bluecard, and entertainer certificate for Japan. I also had dancing lessons there.