MOVIEGOER: Some good news, for a change

Published January 28, 2021, 7:20 AM

by Nestor Cuartero

Inside the newly refurbished Metropolitan Theater

JUST A THOUGHT: Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.—Roald Dahl


   GOOD NEWS: New Year 2021 may have roared with a blast, killing two persons smothered in gasoline in a bus blaze in Quezon City, and leaving a whodunit-like mystery novel following the death of a female flight attendant during a New Year’s Eve hotel party in Makati.

   Yet, 2021 ushers some good news, too.

    The entire 17.93-km stretch of Skyway 3 has been completed and is now officially open to motorists.

    The elevated highway links the South Luzon Expressway with the North Luzon Expressway, reducing travel time dramatically. 

    A friend says driving from Quezon City to Alabang took her a record 21 minutes only.

     We tried taking the same route, too, last weekend, and what sheer pleasure it brought us over and above the free entrance.

     My friend is right. We clocked in at 20 minutes, shortening furthermore our usual travel time to Lipa.

     We had a blast trying to view Metro Manila from a different, higher, freer perspective. None of all that traffic, those encumbrances on the sidewalks, the illegally parked vehicles.

     Motorists have to be warned, however, that the elevated highway is snaky in many parts, with twists and turns here and there.

    Use of the Skyway 3, a project of San Miguel Corporation, is free until January 30. I hear one way will cost 274 pesos (aray!) when toll fees are in place.


      MET REOPENS: The second good news is on the side of culture.

      The National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the National Historical Commission have announced that the Metropolitan Theater in Manila, built in 1931, is set to reopen with a grand performance on April 27.

       The Met’s reopening is being timed with the quincentennial commemoration (500th anniversary) of the Victory in Mactan, which will be the theme of the presentation.

    Nick Lizaso, president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and head of the NCCA, says they’re not sure if they could accept a live audience, but are ready to video shoot the program for online showing.

    Full restoration of the 90-year-old theater is on its finishing stages, thanks to NCCA and Mayor Isko Moreno.   


    CULTURAL TREASURE: The MET, a declared National Cultural Treasure, has been closed for roughly 25 years, maybe more. The historic theater struggled with financial problems after surviving World War 2 and a renovation project undertaken by Imelda Marcos in the 70s.

    During its heyday, the Met was home to visiting international figures in classical music as well as homegrown zarzuelas and other theatrical presentations.

    For a time, during its lowest moments in the 70s, it was reduced to a boxing arena. In the 80s, it served as the home of Vilma Santos’ television variety show, VIP.  

    The Met was designed by architect Juan Arellano in art noveau fashion that was the rage in the 1930s. Its façade, which has been retained, features a segmented arch crowned with slender pinnacles. A giant stained glass mural bursts with a riot of colors.