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!

To be fair 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 (for National Artist Federico Aguilar Alcuaz) 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 Fuji Sensia slide film.  

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 (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,

Postal Heritage Walking Tour - Part One: at the Post Office

"Held every 3rd Sunday of the month, this free-guided tour caters to students, cultural hoppers, philatelists and people from all walks of life.  It's (sic) has the full support of the Intramuros Administration, Philpost and the City of Manila."
--from the Filipinas Stamp Collectors' Club's Postal Heritage Walking Tour brochure

Thanks to Analog Nation and the Filipinas Stamp Collectors' Club for an awesome (and educational) photowalk!

We met up at Liwasang Bonifacio.  It was fun to see so many cameras being fed film, examined, poked, buffed, and generally admired.

 Mr. Lawrence Chan (at left, holding a mini megaphone) was our tour guide.  He gave an orientation about the tour before leading us to the post office lobby.

It was sweltering outside but inside it was cool, thanks to the post office's architecture.
 There's an ongoing poster exhibit on World War II.

 I wonder if I have mail here.

  Taking a break slash photo op:

Beside the post office is a smaller building that houses the Postal Museum & Philatelic Library.

I would like to have a drop box like this :)

Behind these lovely ladies are storage boxes that contain philatelic bulletins--papers that contain information about the different stamps issued by the post office.  You can have them for free!  :)

Before continuing with our tour, the Filipinas Stamp Collectors' Club gave a lecture on the history of Manila structures using old, hand-tinted postcards.  They also gave away starter kits and a Philpost pencil!

At the end of the lecture was a raffle.  They gave out cute "post-valentine" items (stuffed little bears), commemorative coins and stamps, and rare vintage stamps.  I was hoping I'd win something, but as the items were given out to lucky winners and only one remained, I busied myself with looking at Lorna's stamps, which she bought.  Then I heard my name.  Whee!
So happy!
I'm glad I listened to them so I can tell you about this set.  This is the only set of stamps issued during the Japanese occupation.  Dated 1944, it has Jose P. Laurel as design, and the cover has a woman planting rice.  :) 

When I was around eight, I tried to collect stamps, but I did it wrong--I tried to peel the stamps off their envelopes!  Thinking I failed, I abandoned it.  Now stamp-collecting is coming back to my life in the form of these vintage stamps.  (Even through Postcrossing, I didn't examine stamps very much.)  [Oh, and hey I do have those UST@400 commemorative stamps.  Then I found out my mom also collected stamps when she was younger (I used to think every kid in the States collected stamps, heheh).]

Anyway, I find myself too lazy to write more words here--I keep thinking bah, someone else can write it better.  The information is available elsewhere.  And I am really just lazy.

I can't wait to have my film rolls developed so I can post more photos.  Next up is our tour of the Metropolitan Theater--will write about this is in my next post.

The Postal Heritage Walking Tour
Contact Person: Mr. Lawrence Chan
Mobile/Email: +63 919 390 1671,