A Study on the Viability of Corporate Sponsorship for the Restoration of the Manila Metropolitan Theater

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Background of the Study
The Metropolitan Theater proposal was first drafted in 1924 but it was only on December 10, 1931 when the Manila Metropolitan Theater was established. The art-deco design of the building, a very famous design in North America and Europe, was made by Juan M. Arellano with his brother Arcadio Arellano and American architectural planner Daniel Burnham. The sculptures in the façade of the theater were from an Italian Sculptor named Riccardo Monti. Filipino artist Isabelo Tampingco decorated the walls and interior surfaces of the lobby and the National Artist for Painting Fernando Amorsolo gave more life to the lobby through two of its painting namely “The Dance” and “History of Music”. Its stained glasses where contracted with the famous Kraut Art Glass and the proscenium was by the House of Pre-cast Company. Apart from the theater, the building also had a ballroom with chandelier from Europe, restaurants, offices, and shops, dressing rooms, verandas and interior gardens. The Met seated 1,670 people: 846 in the orchestra, 116 in the lodge and 708 in the balcony. It was during the World War II when Manila, the “Pearl of the Orient”, got devastated because of the Battle of Manila. The gun battles and bombings killed many civilians and destructed many famous infrastructures and that include the Met. Its foundation stood still only destructing its roofs. It was left uncared until it became an ice cream parlor, boxing arena, garage, motel, gay club and eventually a squatter’s area of 50 to 70 families. In 1978, Former First Lady Imelda Marcos, being inclined in the arts at that time, loaned to Government Services Insurance System (GSIS) and ordered for the restoration of the theater. They were able to return the Manila Metropolitan Theater’s old glory and brought it back to its zenith. Ms. Conchita Sunico was then assigned to be the theater’s director. Later on, many talents were discovered like Pops Fernandez, Leo Valdez, Isay Alvarez and Beverly Salviejo. Many other artists who then became very popular movie and television superstars like Dolphy, the Reycard Duet, Pugo and Tugo and Elizabeth Ramsay performed in the infamous theater. It was also a host for Vilma Santos’ very popular variety show in the 1980’s. The Met also housed Manila Symphony, a gallery of Philippine costumes and two rare grand pianos. The Metropolitan was really able to bring back to its old glory.

World class performers also joined the number of presentations done in the Met. It was then called “Pearl of the Orient” because it became a very popular site for many shows of cultures from around the world. In 1986, the Marcoses were driven away through people power. Because of that, Met’s administration was changed. Gemma Cruz-Araneta, who was then the Tourism Secretary, assigned Nenita Manzano to lead Metropolitan Theater’s operations. But in 1996, disputes between Met’s ownership arose between GSIS and the City Government of Manila. This caused for the operation of the theater to shut down. The Supreme Court ordered that no organization should benefit from the theater until the investigation was finished. Director Manzano gave Gemma Cruz-Araneta a complete set of plans which she turned over to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The stop in the operation left the building abandoned. Several typhoons that hit the Philippines affected the theater. The roof was damaged that caused water leaks. The Bagyong Rosing hit Manila and destructed the Met’s roofing causing its interior to be deteriorated. The Met then fell into decay.

As of now, the roofs were retouched and these alone already cost them 20 million. According to Engineer Walfrido Novero Jr., there are several phases that Met had undergone. Phases 1 to 3 are already done. They have already used 50 million of the budget for these phases which covered the renovation of the roofs and roofing systems, and a part of the Theater stage. Currently, they are working on...
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