by Coleen Nevado

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Met’s ballroom retains its elegant and vintage look.
(Photo by Coleen Nevado)

Abandoned in the city of Manila after years of neglect and indifference, the Manila Metropolitan Theater (Met) is now prepared to go through metamorphosis and leave its current state of absolute disrepair. The once Grand Old Dame of Manila is set for restoration as the National Commission of Culture and Arts (NCCA) is determined to end its decaying days and bring back the image of the iconic venue it once was.

NCCA has bought Met for P270 million and envisioned it to be a “mini Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).” Through the collaboration with architecture students from 12 different schools and universities in Manila, NCCA’s effort for the restoration has begun with a clean-up drive entitled “METamorphosis” as a starter for the course to change. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has also released a budget of P9.48 million for the initial stages of Met’s utter renovation.

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One of the destructed rooms inside that is yet to be repaired and renovated.
(Photo by Coleen Nevado)

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Works of art are remained to be seen inside the theater in spite its decaying state.
(Photo by Coleen Nevado)

Although the building externally was still in adequate condition and has maintained its aesthetic visual on the outside, Met’s state inside used to be an entire different story. Before its clean-up, the squalor look of the place was quite unbearable. Balcony seats and electrical wirings are gone and have been stolen, moldings at the stage area have fallen off and section of ceilings had been found unsteady.

The Metropolitan Theater was designed by architect Juan Arellano and was constructed during the Thirties. Although CCP is known to be the country’s main theater, Met used to be the grand venue for showcasing acts and performances such as concerts for kundiman singers and vaudeville plays. Due to the bombings in Manila, destruction was brought upon on some buildings and Met was not spared. This caused the end of its greatness.

The aim to return the theater to its respectable condition is now on its way, along with the revival of the significance it lost and the essence of the venue for culture and art.

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