Thursday, May 24, 2007


Those who may still remember the grandeur of Galaxy Theater during its heyday may be saddened to see this photograph.

The Galaxy is one of the few surviving buildings designed by National Artist Pablo Antonio, Sr. It is of Art Moderne design, an architectural style that came about in the 1930s along with Art Deco. Many theaters along Avenida Rizal during the '50s and '60s boasted such designs in answer to America's Hollywood and Broadway.

Sadly, the Galaxy's present owners are planning to demolish it to make way for a 22-story condominium on the site.

Hopefully, according to Richard Tuason-Sanchez Bautista, resident architect of the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCAA), this is the first building in the area that may be saved from destruction and conserved; unlike the Avenue Theater, designed by National Artist Juan Nakpil, that was recently torn down and converted to a parking lot, much to the great dismay of our cultural historians and conservationists.

The NCCA as represented by Richard is helping the developer, Zosima Inc., headed by administrator Primitivo Garcia III, to preserve the Galaxy Theater building, or at least, its facade.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer published a detailed account of this matter, "Preservation, modernity come together in Manila."

Incidentally, it was Richard who was kind enough to provide me with a list of movie theaters along Avenida Rizal during the '50s and '60s and up to the present (some may have been already demolished as indicated). He also included some movie houses in some other areas of Manila. You see, I was unable to come up with such information when I went to the National Library last month.

So, ladies and gentlemen, here is the list:

Starting from Blumentritt to Plaza Lacson (formerly Plaza Goiti) along Avenida Rizal:

1. Manila Theatre- demolished sometime during the '90s
2. Cine Noli - still in business
3. Pearl - closed but still standing
4. Scala - designed by Pablo Antonio - now being used as a Christian church
5. Forum - designed by Pablo Antonio -
only facade remains; roofless and abandoned
6. Manila Grand Opera House - gone
7. Galaxy - designed by Pablo Antonio - still standing
8. Dynasty - gone
9. Capri - closed; buiding might have been demolished
10. Roxan -
closed; buiding might have been demolished
11. Odeon - gone
12. Avenue - gone
13. Universal - still standing but no longer operational
14. Jennets - open
15. Lords - open
16. Ever (formerly Rialto) - closed but building still standing
17. State - designed by Juan Nakpil - gone
18. ideal - designed by Juan Nakpil (
Pablo Antonio contributed in designs during various dates) - gone
19. Clover - gone
20. Illusion - gone

Along Claro M. Recto Avenue (formerly Azcarraga):

1. Roben - still operational
2. Vista 1 and 2 - designed by Juan Nakpil - still operational
3. Hollywood - still operational
4. Podmon - demolished; now LRT2 station
5. Dilson - still operational
6. Eastern - still standing but now a school
7. Tandem - still standing but closed
8. Miramar
- still standing but closed
9. Maxim
- still standing but closed
10. Manila Theater 1 and 2 - gone
11. Ever Gotesco - still operational

Along Ronquillo:

1. Majestic - gone

Along Ongpin:

1. King's - now a small mall (tiangge) with restaurant).

There was another
theater along Ongpin which has been converted to President Restaurant

Along Escolta:

1. Capitol - only the facade remains
2. Lyric - demolished

Along Florentino Torres:

1. De Luxe - demolished
2. Republic - demolished

Along Quezon Boulevard and Evangelista Street (Quiapo):

1. New Love - still standing but closed
2. Cinerama (now Isetann with multiplex theaters on fifth floor)
3. Gala - now a beer/strip bar
4. Crown - still standing but closed
5. Lider (Ginto) - still operational
6. Globe - now a small mall (tiangge) but Globe Lumpia House still open
7. Life - designed by Pablo Antonio - still standing but closed
8. Boulevard - gone
9. Times - designed by Luis Araneta - operational
10. Main - designed by Juan Nakpil still standing - now used by Dating Daan organization

Dalisay was also listed in this section, but I think Dalisay was once adjacent to Cine Noli in Blumentritt which is now gone.

Along Espana (Sampaloc):

1. Baron (Mercury) - gone - now Chow King restaurant

Along Dapitan:

1. Dapitan - gone

Along Herran:

1. Major - still standing but closed
2. Bellevue - still operational but may soon close
3. Dart - gone - now a supermarket
4. Paco - designed by Pablo Antonio - gone
6. Robinson's - open
7. Gaiety - designed by Juan Nakpil - closed

There was also another along Adriatico near Quirino

This list may remind some readers of others not included so please let us know.

Again, many thanks to
Richard Tuason-Sanchez Bautista of NCCA, as well as to Joy Tang and Manolo Noche of Heritage Conservation Society for their valuable input.

A view of Avenida Rizal from Carriedo Street (circa: 1960s)
Photo courtesy of University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries

* * *

Related link:

Quiapo and the Golden Age of Filipino Movies

* * *

Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!



posted by Señor Enrique at 11:30 PM


Blogger -= dave =- said...

Hm, Mayor Lim's first test in heritage conservation. Well it could be a test for Manila in general.

May 25, 2007 12:39 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

are all of these that are listed still standing? huwaw, i do hope that these would be preserved and not demolished to make way for another mall that we don't need anymore!

May 25, 2007 1:11 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Dave!

There was supposedly a recent Manila Bulletin article which highlights Lim's intention to focus on tourism and preservation of Manila's historic sites; didn't read it though.

And to quote from Dr. Zialcita's post in the Heritage Conservation Society's site:

"It was he (Lim), not Atienza, who started the first Historic Commission ofManila. Unfortunately, this just withered away during the term of hissuccessor.'

However, some of the things Lim proposes to do seem too drastic and fitinto the usual "Let us do away with what my predecessor did. I will do something new." He wants to remove the beer gardens from the Baywalk and to open Avda Rizal to traffic again. Although the Baywalk is indeed poorly planned and has spawned eyesores, and although Avda Rizal was too drastic a pedestrianization, it is wasteful to simply overthrow everything that Atienza did."

Hopefully, the new mayor may do a better job with preserving our cultural and architectural heritage, and promote the city's beautification efforts even more.

May 25, 2007 7:16 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Carla!

I created this post in two parts -- the listing last night and the status of the theaters this morning. Apparently, you read and posted a comment while I was still working on the status. Well, this update should answer your question.


May 25, 2007 7:19 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

I have been to most of those old movie theaters, even Gala theater for kicks during my high school days, Hahaha! Katuwaan lang yun.
I had fun memories of Universal Theater, sadly it is no longer in business. Kumpadre ng tatay ko kasi si Hwang Yulo, the owner/GM at kapitbahay namin. Maliit pa daw ako, dinadala na ako sa Universal since libre kaming lahat parati, until I went to college, sinasabit ko mga classmate ko to cool off there. (including some dating on balcony) :D

Whatever Mayor Lim can preserve, I guess we just have to be thankful, since most of those old buildings have span their lifetime and for safety reasons also, since I'm sure most of those were not to the newer building and safety codes.

Thanks again for spending some time in recalling our past.


May 25, 2007 10:01 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've seen many movies in Universal Theater also, Reyd!

Richard Tuason-Sanchez Bautista of NCCA deserves much credit for taking some time in providing us with this list. Without a doubt, reading the names of these cinemas will evoke a wondrous past when we were mere kids.

In terms of preservation, I think we have the technical know-how to preserve our old structures in such a way that they will conform with the current safety codes as they do in New York with their myriad hundred-or-so-year-old buildings.

May 25, 2007 10:42 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

Yes, I wish they could do the same preservation of the old buildings just like other cities of the world have done to their historical structures. The last time I was in Avenida in 2003, talagang namalik-mata ako, nawala na yung grandeur of those neon signs and active people walking or shopping along that avenue. To be honest with you, medyo madilim ang paligid talaga when we went out of the mall near Plaza Sta. Cruz and walk towards Avenida. Kaya mahirap i-compare sa Singapore, Bangkok or Tokyo's nightlife or business districts ang Avenida, we just have to deal with what we have.

Iba na talaga ang panahon, most younger kids would not appreciate what you guys are doing, but can't blame them, they are in a different world.

May 25, 2007 11:05 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

With the emergence of glitzier Glorietta, Greenbelt, Libis, The Fort, and other super malls in Metro Manila, I very much doubt it if Avenida Rizal could ever regain its glorious past.

But then again, I rarely frequent those places only because if I wanted such glamorous nightlife, I'd only have to go back and spend a couple of months in Manhattan -- no Asian city could ever beat Manhattan in terms of night life.

Preserving our architectural structures in some ways also preserve our heritage and pride. And this is the reason why New York City is quite formidable in its efforts with its preservation programs despite the ongoing growth of of its glitzier attractions such as the Disneyfied Times Square.

Nonetheless, the more our young people travel abroad, the more they will appreciate, I hope, our history and culture.

May 25, 2007 11:41 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

Missing from the list are Palace Theatre and Mayfair, both on a side street intersecting Rizal Ave.

Both second-run and thus double program, though Palace was still cheaper.

Radio along Raon is not mentioned also.

And another very old and small one along R. Hidalgo, cheaper than second-run. The name escapes me now.

May 25, 2007 11:46 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

And yes, there was a Savoy Theatre somewhere. Can't recall.

May 25, 2007 11:51 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with most of the cinemas you listed. When I was still in college attending PSBA, it was at Recto where I usually went to see movies. Then later on when I was already working, sa Ayala Makati naman.

It's really sad to see those old buildings go especially if you have fond memories of them. But sometimes it has to be done to make way for modernization and to catch up with the times.

May 25, 2007 12:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depends on where Dirty Harry, er Honorable Mayor Lim's stand on preservation. I'd like to think that if he is against preserving it, he'll let the pimps and druggies use it as their den. It will be a pretext so as not to anger our Good Heritage Conservationists should he decide to smash it down to ruins.
Yeah, that Galaxy Theatre is old, could be a fire hazzard also. Cheers and goodhealth Senor...

May 25, 2007 12:38 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Interesting list !
Maybe I should give you an assignement. ;-) Take a picture (asap) of all those movie theaters still standing!

May 25, 2007 12:41 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's sad to hear... i hope they would preserve them even just the facade... i also get frustrated whenever i see the Metropolitan theater, i hope they would preserve it even just the external of the building... the arichitecture of that building is awesome...

May 25, 2007 3:56 PM  

Blogger MJ said...

Sadly, here in Bikol, movie houses start to die - I mean prevalence of forms of entertainment (cable TV, pirated films, etc) has annihilated the movie house business. There were more or less 15 of them. Now, only two remain. The rest have been converted to shopping centers and "tiangge".

May 25, 2007 4:07 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You might have mentioned the Palace Theater before, Amadeo, in our previous exchanges. Mayfair, I remember (only the name, not location). Radio and Savoy, both a no for me.

Be that as it may, THANK YOU for adding to our list. I hope that some of our fellow bloggers, upon coming across this list, will get lost in some fond reminiscing :)

May 25, 2007 7:00 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've a feeling you hardly paid any attention to the name of the theaters you went to, Irene, only the movies and nothing else :)

As they say all things must pass, but for those worth preserving, we should, no?

May 25, 2007 7:02 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hahaha ... that is a funny remark, TruBlue! But from what I understand, Lim is not so trigger happy when it comes to shooting down our historical structures.

I think Galaxy is made of concrete and quite well-founded, too. It may be old and decrepit-looking but I don't think it's a fire hazzard ... hehehe.

Thanks, TruBlue. You have a good one, too!

May 25, 2007 7:06 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I was thinking of it before, Sidney, but the facade of most of these structures have been blackened by soot that I may only get depressed while taking photographs of them ... hahaha.

But it seems like a worthwhile project. It would be even better if somehow more information could be furnished or dug up such as name of owners, year built, first film shown, and etc. That way, it'd be even more enticing a project to pursue :)

May 25, 2007 7:10 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I completely agree with you, Lino. At least the facade. But then again, it may be easier said than done since I have no training in structural engineering or architecture.

Yes, the Metropolitan Theater ought to be preserved.

May 25, 2007 7:13 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That is so true, MJ. With the proliferation of such conveniences in home entertainment systems and pirated DVDs, there is no way for most theaters to compete. Sadly, some of these theaters still standing and operational are showing mainly bold or soft porn films.

May 25, 2007 7:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although far from the area, The Jai-alai building, another architectural heritage, is also part of the long list of casualties.

Now that Lim is the Mayor, I hope he has the sense of preserving them instead of demolishing them as what happened during atienza.

There were nasty rumors about the demolition of these buildings but I won't go deeper.

May 25, 2007 8:23 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

senor enrique,

i'm all for the preservation of these architectural icons.
in los angeles, a cathedral (st. vibiana's ?) was damaged by an earthquake several years ago (northridge?) and an effort was made to save the cathedral from the wrecking ball. it was repaired and then sold to a private company and is now a venue for big hollywood corporate parties. the last grammy nominees' party was held there and the one thing nice about it is .... you can take a break in wood paneled confessional boxes!!


May 26, 2007 12:00 AM  

Blogger mgaputonimimi said...

anu po ung theater na malapit sa lawton.. sa may lrt central station.. maganda structure din iyon na kaialanga e-save... sayang talaga...

May 26, 2007 12:13 AM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Salamat Eric! Finally, after a while you kept your promise and I commend you for the legwork and research. Amamdeo had added a few of those that was not mentioned in your list. Also, Cine Dalisay if I remember right, was located on the main boulevard in Quiapo. May I also add Cine Trabajo on the corner of Laong-Laan and calle Trabajo in Sampaloc. It is important that we remind the new generation of how Manila used to be and hopefully the conservation and preservation projects started by the ex and new mayor pushes through. Wow!! the memories of high school dates and "other stuff" that you brought back with the list of old movie theaters in Manila! Trivia question: Anybody among your (older)readers know or remeber about the "beinte singko isang posporo" trick at the Gaiety, Majestic and Palace theaters? Also the "mata ng kambing" sold by the cigarrette vendor, "tatang" just outside of the front entrance of the Majestic theater? BTW, very nice sepia photo of the the Galaxy theater facade.

May 26, 2007 1:03 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And the site where that Art Deco building once stood is now an empty lot, Myepinoy. That building was one of those on top of my list to visit when I returned to Manila because I spent a year or so as an amateur jai-alai player before I lfet for NYC. I have many fond memories of that fronton.

Same thing with the Manila Jockey Club. Though I never trained as a jockey .... hahaha .... there were many Sunday afternoons that my father and I would walk over there and stay for a couple of races. Now, it's gone; replaced by an SM mall. They could've saved even the facade of that historic structure :(

May 26, 2007 7:11 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi DatuPanot!

I guess, getting rid of our landmarks is akin to going in to someone's ancestral home and defenestrating old and useless objects that only seem to clutter the interior without so much giving respect to the history and sentiments behind those objects. It is the same with our architectural icons, no? Preserving them also preserves our heritage. Hence, this may be one of the leading reasons why St. Vibiana's was restored and conserved. Good for the folks at Los Angeles! New York also does a good job at preserving its landmarks.

May 26, 2007 7:18 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You might be thinking of the Metropolitan Theater, Mimi.

Yes, I also hope that we continue our interest in preserving that structure.

May 26, 2007 7:19 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

We owe it to Richard of NCAA, Noypetes. I was actually getting frustrated for my inability to get information on this subject.

So, Dalisay is not the one near Cine Noli. I thought it was :( I will update the above list and will add Cine Trabajo. Thank you!

As for your:


Trivia question: Anybody among your (older)readers know or remember about the "beinte singko isang posporo" trick at the Gaiety, Majestic and Palace theaters? Also the "mata ng kambing" sold by the cigarrette vendor, "tatang" just outside of the front entrance of the Majestic theater?


Please tell us ... hahaha!

Hey, speaking of side attractions, Globe Lumpia House in Raon is still up and running! I was just there the other day to enjoy two pieces.

Thanks, Noypetes! Now, what else have I promised to post? Hehehe.

May 26, 2007 7:27 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

By the way ...

I was never comfortable going to the Galaxy Theater.

The reason: much too close to MIT; didn't want to get caught by my teachers or my father whose office was on the nearby Florentino Torres :)

Avenue Theater was a safe enough distance from both to enjoy a movie whenever playing hooky a day after the periodical tests during my senior year of high school ... hahaha!

May 26, 2007 7:32 AM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

During the heydays of the "bomba flicks" and raging hormones of 15 year olds, we would get tickets for the balcony seats at Palace or Majestic, whichever is showing foreighn "bomba flicks". The ladies of the night hanging out in the balcony sections would offer us the "posporo trick". For .25Centavos, you get to light a posporo stick(marka gitara)while the lady holds up her skirt to show you her "hairy cueva entrada" with a little bit of fondling to tease you! The trick is to hold the light(fire) on the posporo as long as you can by holding on to the still hot burnt end to maximize the burning life of the stick all the way to the other end. The longer the fire life the more you see of the finger action on the "hairy cueva entrada" in the darkness of the balcony section amongst the lustful fiesta of lovers doing their own thing. Cheap thrill for 15 year olds and much to brag about at the tambayan at home. usually one guy would blow 2 pesos for the trick and would bring home the bragging rights for the day. The "mata ng kambing" sold by tatang is more for the older teens in their post pubescent penile accessory for an experience with the opposite sex.

Yeah! I really miss the lumpia at the Globe lumpia house. Glad to know that they're still in business.

May 26, 2007 11:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a tragedy that they are demolishing these these historical landmarks. These real estate developers do everything in their power to obtain the necessary permits from the government.. and as we know it , money talks :(

May 26, 2007 11:30 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

While I stayed in Manila only a total of less than 4 years, going to the movies was our main, and most times only, light diversion from studies.

Thus, a lot of memories are tied up with the moviehouses we went to.

Rizal Theatre was the upscale moviehouse located in newly-crowned business center, Makati. Is it still there?

King's in Binondo had a reputation for showing "bomba" films and as I recall, even live shows of the same genre.

Cubao started the giant-sized moviehouse when the coliseum was converted into one, or two(?).

Now, the mall multiplexes have taken over, even in the provinces where the malls thrive. Gone are the huge stand-alone moviehouses, many of them converted to cavernous merchandise stores.

this blog entry highlights this trend dramatically.

May 26, 2007 11:35 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Whoa! That was something else, Noypetes! Hahaha! They didn't have bomba films during my time then in Manila. The most salacious would be (from what I was told) the green jokes mouthed by our stage or vaudeville comedians over at Clover Theater.

But seriously, I bet this scenario you had just shared with us could somehow be incorporated into a short (growing up) story and submitted to Palanca. I think we need more of those fun, crazy, confusing, and wondrous Filipino-based rite-of-passage stories.

Perhaps, you should try and write one, Noypetes :)

Jen, the daughter, is now managing the store and has become a good friend. Not to worry, I'll eat a lumpia in your honor next time I visit Globe.

May 26, 2007 12:42 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi BW!

Myepinoy need not expound on it, but I can only suspect that it was money that eventually facilitated all those demolitions.

And this is the reason why we need to support organizations like the Heritage Conservation Society --

May 26, 2007 12:46 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The multiplexes killed many stand-alone movie theaters in Manhattan as well, Amadeo. But I think, due to community pressures, there were some that were saved and now showing classic and art films.

With my father taking me to the movies almost every Saturday after we had lunch in Ongpin when I was a kid. Some of these theaters have indeed become an integral part of my life. I'm just surprised I didn't end up in the film industry. I guess I was fine with the idea of being a mere member of the audience.

There were many great films I saw but one of the most memorable was when I was so entranced by Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark." Saw it at Avenue Theater.

May 26, 2007 12:56 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Amadeo mentioned the live bomba shows at Kings theater in Binondo and it reminded me of the old Playboy theater in Malate, famous for live "Toro" shows at noon! This moviehouse was located in a very seedy part of Malate near Vito Cruz.

Yes I would love to share what I can remember about all the crazy and fun Pinoy rights of passage that I went through growing up in Manila. I can relate them all to you and you can spare me the burden of chronicling them with my poor writing skills.

BTW, I would accept the Globe Lumpia House honor only with a loud belch after feasting on 4 lumpiang sariwa downed with 2 8 oz. bottle of Cosmos Sarsaparilla or Classic Coke!:-)

May 26, 2007 11:22 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

Wait Until Dark. A classic, indeed. But for me, not because of Audrey's superb portrayal of a blind person, but rather because of Alan Larkin, the bad guy.

Recall he had to play different roles so Audrey would not recognize him.

That little-known genre then, where actors played different roles in one film. Rod Steiger was very good at it. And even pretty boy Tony Curtis did it in Boston Strangler.

And of course, method actor himself, Marlon Brando, brought it to new levels though doing it in different films. Even playing a Japanese in Teahouse of the August Moon.

Those were the days!

And going to the movies appears to be such a crucial part of daily living. Being in a darkened room and wrapped in isolation from the outside. It led one clinical psychologist to suggest that it is like a transcendent experience, bringing one from reality to a fantasy world, where all senses and emotions are in play in a very heightened fashion.

And how true.

May 27, 2007 12:35 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

On the contrary, Noypetes, I think you are a wonderful and funny storyteller -- be it in English or Tagalog! You may want to at first write down in a journal all those fond memories and later on organize them in a more sequential order.

As for those toro shows, I was already in NYC when I began hearing about it from visiting cousins or newly-arrived Pinoys.

Four lumpia? Wow! That's a lot ... hehehe. A double order is usually what I order whenever I find myself at Globe Lumpia House. But I think they still offer sarsaparilla -- RC Sarsi, that is.

May 27, 2007 6:21 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's right, Amadeo! The menacing character as played by Alan Arkin. And those serial killer roles as played by Tony Curtis and Rod Steiger I remember quite well. The latter I also saw in Avenue Theater. Was it "No Way To Threat A Lady?"

After a heavy lunch in Ongpin, going to the movie was more than a transcendental experience for my father who would be easily lulled to sleep by the comfortable seat and the air conditioned interior of the movie house. He'd soon be snoring much to the annoyance of the other patrons ... hahaha. But I'd always wake him up.

But you're right, having those DVD players at home may be more convenient, BUT there is nothing like being inside a cavernous and darkened movie theater with a gigantic silver screen -- along with many other movie buffs in the audience, enthralled by a good film.

Yes, those were the days :)

May 27, 2007 6:32 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Folks, the movie house adjacent to Cine Noli in Blumentritt was Alegria which is now gone.

May 27, 2007 8:43 AM  

Blogger Gita Asuncion said...

senorE, this entry really saddened my husband and me. we grew up watching movies in these theaters in our youth...
so sad talaga what our leaders are, or shall i say, are not doing for our country...

May 27, 2007 9:57 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hopefully, Gita, with the new mayor at the helm, we might see less demolitions of our historic landmarks.

Of course, supporting organizations like the Heritage Conservation Society is crucial also if we really wanted to participate in the preservation of our architectural heritage.

May 27, 2007 2:17 PM  

Blogger pusa said...

hi señor enrique

thanks for visiting my phot blog... its an honor that you liked it, i've been a fan of your blog for quite a while now.

the state of these buildings also saddens me, especially when im passing through them everyday, to see them deteriorating each day... actually i've been meaning to take a photo of this lone signage in avenida, thankful that you did it,and yes sidney is correct in saying that it could be your personal project, take photos while they are still standing

truth be told, i only get a chance to see a single movie in one of these establishments and it was at odeon. the movie was schindler's list, i was in high school then and the movie was so controversial it is not being shown in cinema malls and we heard that odeon it running it, together with my classmates we troop to odeon and we even saw some of our teachers lining up :)

i know it was grand before but during that time, odeon already has a sleazy reputation of being a hookers den,but still it made me really sad when the signage was torn down and the whole building was replaced with a tiange mall

i really hope these establishments get preserved, i love old things, and as what i always says, i guess i was born in the wrong century

May 28, 2007 11:11 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Your efforts to document the City of Manila with a photo a day is very much appreciated by me, Pusa. More should do the same because somehow we don't have any photos of Metro manila so readily available, especially for appreciation of our future generations. So, kudos to you!

Odeon was once a favorite theater of mine wherein I have seen many great films. Sadly, it is gone; replaced by another tiangge, which makes me wonder who supports the existence of so many tiangges in Metro Manila. I guess, OFW dollars.

Anyway, hopefully, Mayor Lim will do a better job in preserving our city's landmarks.

Thanks, Pusa!

May 28, 2007 11:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The metropolitan theatre is undergoing rehabilitation now. The roof is being repaired and soon its utility system.

May 28, 2007 10:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The metropolitan theatre is undergoing rehabilitation now. The roof is being repaired and soon its utility system. - Richard Tuason-Sanchez Bautista, I don't know how to comment here

May 28, 2007 10:15 PM  

Blogger richard tuason-sanchez bautista said...

Im trying to get the name of that old movie house in Pasay along taft near buendia, it is now a garage / storage. It is another nice structure.

May 28, 2007 10:22 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Richard!

Many thanks again for providing us with this list!

As for the Metropolitan Theater, it's good to know that rehabilitation of it is now in full swing. It is really a beautiful structure. Hopefully, once refurbished, it will also be maintained diligenty for many years to come.

I wonder if they would allow me take a couple of shots of the rehabilitation in progress so as to spread the news?

Again, Richard, thank you very much!

May 29, 2007 6:11 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Also, Richard ...

Perhaps, Sidney is right. Maybe we should take pictures of the remaining buildings of these movie houses. If anything, hand over these photographs to the NCAA and HCS for their perusal. What do you think?

May 29, 2007 6:13 AM  

Blogger richard tuason-sanchez bautista said...

If you want, i can meet up with you regarding the metropolitan theare. You can get in touch to my office at 5235382

Also I forgot to add, in Manila theatres; Luneta and Masagana in TM Kalaw (both are closed na).

May 29, 2007 10:43 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That would be wonderful, Richard. I will call your office early next week.

I now have to revise this list because of the additions we have. This is great. Like I said, I'm sure a lot of people who will come across this list will be reminded of their fond memories of their youth since movie-going is a major part of life back then :)

Thanks, Richard!

May 29, 2007 12:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

truth is, i still remembe a very few of them when i was in college 30 years ago (ouch!). i wonder--where will the current cinemas be 10, 20 years from now?

May 29, 2007 3:52 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've a feeling, Dine, that the industry will have to further improve the 3D Imax experience so as to keep drawing the audiences into the theaters.

However, its major competitor will likely be TV-on-demand (as touted years ago). With high definition digital TV becoming a standard by that time, this will become a reality indeed.

May 29, 2007 7:02 PM  

Blogger richard tuason-sanchez bautista said...

for those how are into theatre updates, sheck this site.

May 29, 2007 9:29 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Richard! I had just checked out and bookmarked this site you recommend.

May 30, 2007 8:08 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anybody know where Astor, Inday and Main theatres are located

January 17, 2008 6:15 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Rey, I will email Richard and ask if he knew, and will then post here.

The only Astor I know of is my favorite theater in Times Square in Manhattan, but it's Astor Plaza :)

January 17, 2008 6:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

few of us here at the office are really Manila Boy and we remember most of the theatres that no longer exist. 5 of us been here in Chicago about 35 years ago and we disagree to where is the exact location of the movie houses. Like: Dalisay=was it at Rizal Avenue after Universal Theatre? How about Podmon=was it used to be Azcarraga theatre? And do you remember where cine CENTER was.

Alam mo kahit na bulag ang nakakadinig ng usapan namin alam niya na matatanda na kami kasi.......NAKARAAN na ang pinag uusapan eh. he, he, he.

January 18, 2008 4:23 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Welcome to the club, Rey ... hahaha.

Podmon was in Azcarraga (now Claro M. Recto Avenue). And Dalisay may be somewhere in Ronquillo Street in Santa Cruz or somewhere else in Quiapo. Once thought it was in Blumentritt, but got it confused with Alegria.

As per you inquiry yesterday:

Richard said, "Main is along Quezon Boulevard, the one with a bas relief in the facade and with a Villarcia Pawnshop. Astor, I have to check my records; Inday, i have no idea."

Let's wait and see if Richard will be able to pinpoint where Astor used to be.

Meanwhile, I want to say hello to all you you guys in Chicago!

January 18, 2008 6:27 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

kamusta rin daw kayo Senor, sabi ng mga taga Chicago na dahil sa lamig ngayon dito ang aming mga kutis ay parang SIKO ng kamay mo. brrrrrr...!. Kinukulingling na tenga ko dito sa isang kaibigan ko eh. He keep on asking me where the Savoy theatre was located then?

January 18, 2008 10:41 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Rey,

I though Savoy might have been in Quiapo, but no luck. I will ask some other old timers in Quiapo and Santa Cruz if anyone of them remembers Savoy, and will let you know.

For many years I lived in New York City; loved it, except for the winter months. If ever I go back to the States, siguro Las Vegas na lang kasi mas moderate pa ata ang weather doon.

Keep warm guys! If you have any other nostalgia questions, email me at and I'll see if I can help you out.

Enjoy the weekend guys!

January 19, 2008 7:06 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I called my uncle who used to drive a taxi in manila way back then and he said, Savoy was used to be in Harrisson st. in Pasay. And Inday Theatre was in Juan Luna near Maypajo or near Gagalangin.

January 23, 2008 12:26 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Wow! Persistance pays, doesn't it, Rey? And many thanks for sharing with us :)

Incidentally, you guys just inspired me to do a follow-up blog article on our local movie business.

Thanks again, Rey!

January 23, 2008 8:37 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Under the heading "Along Ongpin:" the other theatre you mention was it the Rex that was converted to President Restaurant? The link below is a picture taken 1945 of what I believe is Ongpin street.

March 05, 2008 12:10 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

If that were Salazar Street in front of it, then that must be the Chinatown theater converted to house Prsident's Restaurant.

Many thanks for sharing with us thir URL/image!

March 05, 2008 6:26 AM  

Blogger Arms Akimbo said...

isnt there a dragon theater in ongpin?

September 23, 2008 11:19 AM  

Blogger Arms Akimbo said...

my friend posted this in his blog.

September 23, 2008 11:34 AM  

Blogger James DR said...

Senor, natanong ko ang mother ko dahil naging portera/takilyera siya nuong araw before and after the war sa mga sinehan sa Manila. Gusto ko lang malaman kung saang lugar sa Recto dati nakatayo yung CINE MOON, CINE STAR (sabi niya sa Azcarraga?) at TIVOLI (sa harap daw ng Sta. Cruz Church?).

September 23, 2008 4:00 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi James,

Cine Moon, Cine Star and Tivoli might have been destroyed during the war, and were never rebuilt afterwards.


September 23, 2008 7:08 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Wow! that photo of Rizal Avenue and Azcarraga (now Recto) may have been taken during the bell bottom era of the early '70s, Els! And those are the Galaxy and Roxan theaters! If not mistaken it was at Roxan where I saw "To Sir With Love" starring Sidney Poitier and pop star Lulu.

I never saw much movies at the Galaxy because it was much too close to my school -- MIT ... hehehe!

As for the Dragon Theater in Ongpin? I'm not sure, I'll have to investigate. I only know of King's and Rex.

Thank you for sharing the photo!

September 23, 2008 7:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS for this winning post! --TechScribe

September 29, 2008 8:58 PM  

Blogger ScratchyGoose said...

that photo of Rizal Avenue and Azcarraga was taken in 1975. i checked the movie "they call him chop-suey" starring RAmon Zamora at and it listed the movie released in 1975. i remember that place. i was at MIT High School from 74-78

January 30, 2009 9:35 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you very much, R! Truly appreciate it :)

I was in MIT High School from 65-69.

January 31, 2009 7:48 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola Senior Enrique!

I was a PAPA ( Phil Amateur Pelotaris Association ) member
as well in the lat 70's. I've been living in the US for almost
30 yrs now and when i the visited
fronton on Taft Ave. 3 years ago,
i was saddened when the building
no longer existed! Shame on Ex Mayor Atienza for demolishing a historical site! What an IDIOT! He obviously cared only about kickbacks from construction projects. He allowed Manila to deteriorate. Not one Mayor in Manila thought about preserving
these historical buildings. Part of our heritage and History are gone because of people like Atienza.

Gracias Senior.


August 22, 2009 7:33 AM  

Blogger kcatwoman said...

my mom used to watch films in moviehouses like you said near it feels great that you gave an entry just for them



September 04, 2009 2:24 PM  

Blogger Bren said...

Dalisay is on Avenida Rizal between Avenue Theater and Raon St.

October 05, 2009 6:45 PM  

Anonymous Beyond Forgetting said...

Seen a photo from Life Magazine that the Palace Theater is at Ronquillo near Plaza Sta Cruz. Savoy Theater is also in Plaza Sta Cruz. There were two more... one to the West of Savoy which propably could be Tivoli and another one to the East of Palace at Ronqullo St which I remember having seen it in 1942 or 1942 ... I just could not remember the name. It is probably Mayfair.


March 07, 2010 8:21 PM  

Blogger Marissa Aroy said...


Happened upon your blog and I'm hoping you can help me. I'm looking for old photographs of Filipino movie theatres that may have posters up for American movies. I'm trying to show how in the 20's and 30's, there were American movies shown. Do you have any of these or could you point out who would have photos like this?

March 24, 2010 7:22 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's one along Rizal near Rasac playground named APOLLO Theatre. By 9:30pm, moviegoers are allowed to enter and watch the film free of charge. During those days we call it " Alaverde."

January 12, 2012 4:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's one along Rizal avenue near Rasac playground named" APOLLO Theatre. By 9:30 pm moviegoers are allowed to enter and watch the film free of charge. During those days we call it " Alaverde."

January 12, 2012 4:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to the Society theater

June 13, 2012 9:20 PM  

Blogger Bren said...

There was one "cine" in front and a little bit to the South of P Gomez Elementary School there at Andalucia before you go North on Dapitan St toward UST which was there around 1941 or 1942 when I was a student at that school. Almost in front of Osmena Park (now called Central Market) was this theater called "Rayah" if I am not mistaken. At that time it was showing a movie with Maria Montes and John Hall about "Hawaii or South Seas or something.

June 17, 2012 9:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... Hmmm I don't know what to say. I was fascinated with all your memories. You were all talking on the years that I wasn't born yet. ;-) I wish I was born earlier to those years so I would also enjoy the beauty of Manila. From how you guys, discussed on the different movie houses there were a lot of things crossing my mind...if how much is the ticket was, are those movie houses are fully air-conditioned, do chairs really clean and in good condition, does it smell good inside those movie houses, do every one seated in the chair and nobody keeps walking around and never seats, and a lot more.... Today it's really dangerous to go to those existing old movie houses! At my young age I was curious to see a movie at one of the oldest movie house in Recto. I tried to watch "Spiderman 3". When I handed over my ticket pass to the guy in charge, there were guys staring at me as if wondering what am doing here... As I entered the main door most of those guys outside followed and entered too. It was too dark and suddenly a guy whispered to my ear and said "service". I got nervous, I don't know what "service" means. I just ignored him and walked away from him. a few seconds, two older guys came to me and said "500 and come with us"! No way! It was a gay movie house! A lot of them are walking around the movie house and never stop until they find somebody who would let them play fire. I see people doing dirty things, like having sex and doesn't care of people around them. I see groups standing in one corner and having sex too. Nobody is watching the movie any more! Some are walking without a shirt! The air-con is not working but substituted with a big air machine. There were a lot of male prostitutes and they know each other! The smell inside the movie house is so bad! I kept on avoiding those who are approaching me. I am not so comfortable, I was so annoyed with all these people following me, and wanted a piece of my flesh! I went to the toilet and few new faces followed me again, I was so nervous. And when I entered the comfort room, I was tongue-tied! With the lights on I saw few men are having sex! Darn, I went rushing going out and some guys are even pulling my hands, tried touching my protruding part, trying to stop me from going out and offering sex with me! I almost run and I wanted to shout! Finally, I got out from the building! I was so scared, that somebody might put a knife on me and ask for my wallet and cellphone, or somebody might get mad at me and hit me because I don't allow them to do things on me. I will never go to any of the old movie house in Manila any more. It's not safe. The management knows what is happening inside and even the security guards does. It's really sad experience. No doubt this establishments' life will end very soon because there is hell inside them. Good always prevails evil. -

October 10, 2012 5:00 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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