The glory that was Life
RKC (The Philippine Star) - December 17, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - For decades and decades, Life Theater along Quezon Blvd. was the most prominent building in Manila’s busiest district, Quiapo. Erected in 1941, Life had art deco façade and interiors, in vogue at that time.

Life was meant to show exclusively Tagalog films in a first-class cinema. It opened with Ang Maestra, starring Rosa del Rosario and Rogelio dela Rosa.

The theater was destroyed during the liberation of Manila and was rebuilt in 1946 with the most modern conveniences and a seating capacity of 1,144.

Life Theater was owned by Romeo Villonco, who continued the theatrical enterprise of his father, Dr. Teofilo Villonco. The Villoncos were original partners of LVN Studios, whose initials stood for De Leon, Villonco, Navoa. The family also owned Palace Theater on Ronquillo St., Quiapo.

The rebuilt Life opened with a Hollywood movie, A Thousand and One Nights. After which English and Tagalog films were shown in Life until the mid-‘50s when it became the exclusive home of Sampaguita movies.

Like other ‘stand alone‘ theaters in downtown Manila, Life closed shop in the ’90s when moviegoers began trooping to the malls for shopping and entertainment. Life is now made up of booths selling cheap goods, a shadow of its old glory.

A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS ANG MAESTRA DE LEON DR. TEOFILO VILLONCO ENGLISH AND TAGALOG LIFE LIFE THEATER PALACE THEATER QUEZON BLVD ROMEO VILLONCO RONQUILLO ST.
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