Monday, February 21, 2011

Postal Heritage Walking Tour - Part Two: at the Metropolitan Theater

The next part of our Postal Heritage Walking Tour conducted by the Filipinas Stamp Collectors' Club was a trip to the Metropolitan Theater.

For the record: not a few of us think the theater is haunted--or at least has a unique ability to make our film cameras malfunction, our film to stop advancing, and to make film rewinding impossible.  One of us felt being poked in the arm; another felt someone tap his shoulder.

It was very dark inside the theater--we were told to bring flashlights.  Here is the view from the stage, with the camera on a fifteen-second exposure (just in case you think I captured ghosts). 

The poor state of overhead affairs.  We learned it costs at least three hundred million pesos to restore the theater to its former grandeur.

The theater lobby

The theater has a lot of rooms, stairways, passageways...a great place for hide-and-seek!

 In fairness to the one who vandalized this, he/she has correct grammar (note the apostrophe).

We learned that the theater has a grand ballroom.

Signs of dilapidation here and there.

The theater has passageways to the balcony where you can have a view of Manila.

The theater is currently being renovated.  This is a new-ish obituary page that was used to cover parts of the building.

So, what unusual experience did I encounter?  It had something to do with my film.

I brought three film cameras with me for the tour: the Usagi Camel, Diana Mini, and Blackbird, fly (BBF).  After taking my fifteenth shot with the BBF, I couldn't advance it anymore.  The roll in the camera was a 24-shot Sensia.  It was unusual for me because 1) the camera functioned properly until that moment; and 2) I still had at least nine shots before the film would fail to advance, meaning I've run out of film and would have to rewind the film back to the canister.  So, I tried to rewind the film instead--but I couldn't.  The rewinding mechanism was "loose".  With a sigh I went to a dark corner and opened the BBF to see what was up (and therefore exposing the film).  I tried to feed the film back into the canister but it wouldn't go in!  I asked Erick for help and he said there might be something wrong inside the film inside the canister. 

It is still a mystery to me, and I've sort of accepted that the whole roll is already ruined, but curiosity got the better of me.  When I got home I took the BBF again and, using a black shirt as a changing cover, opened the BBF again.  I cut the roll from where it was stuck and put it in a black film container--I'll try to have it processed still.  Who knows, it might contain some *interesting* images.  :P

When we were done with the theater, I found out the others had camera troubles too--the film bearing telltale marks of being ripped from the canister, a film roll being tossed out of the camera, TLR and SLR winders not advancing.  It was...weird.  And spooky.  But thrilling nonetheless!

[While the walking tour is free, it is advised to give a little something to the security guard--after all, it's not his job to guide excited tourists around the theater. ;) ]
Film photos coming soon.  The first part of the tour can be viewed here.
The Postal Heritage Walking Tour
Contact Person: Mr. Lawrence Chan
Mobile/Email: +63 919 390 1671,


Anonymous said...

hi lauren!nice blogs and pictures. LOL natatawa ko sa mga kuha ko hahaha. too excited to see your processed pics. hope we could hang-out again soon. i posted your blog entries on this tour sa facebook wall ng analog nation.

thanks sa yosi at sa usap yesterday. take care :)

fortuitous faery said...

what a spooky tour! if you played hide-and-seek here, i fear you might regret what you'll find!

i see "orbs" on that last photo. or you know, they just might be dust particles floating in front of the lens, as per skeptics' explanations on shows such as "most haunted!" :P

witsandnuts said...

Thanks for the tour! I want to revisit MET; been there during college (in mid 90s) when we watched a play. Your walking tour was interesting and a little eerie! :)

lauren said...

@lorna & yeng
Thanks :) Looking forward to the next photowalk too :)

@fortuitous faery
yup i think those are dust particles :D but i better look closely lest there's something "different" about them, heehee

oooh, how did the theater look then? must still be pretty neat :)

bleubug said...

The two tours you posted were great! I appreciate the pics and your commentary. :D I'm happy the theater is being renovated. It saddens me (even though I'm not Filipino) to see so much historic architecture ignored or destroyed in Manila.

A. Alexander B. said...

The metropolitan theater was restored to its former glory by then first lady, Imelda Marcos in 1978. She appointed Conchita Sunico to be its director. It was a very costly enterprise. Why do we have to restore it again today when we cannot maintain it properly anyway? It is more costlier to refurbish it than to maintain it.