NCCA starts restoration of Met Theater
(The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Years after it has been left in ruins and desolation, the Manila Metropolitan Theater (Met) will have a new life as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) set in motion the restoration of the historical theater building with a clean-up drive last Dec. 12.

Dubbed “METamorphosis,” the cleanup drive is one of the first steps that NCCA will undertake to fully restore the Met and bring back its lost glory. In the next two months, the NCCA will hold a cleanup drive every weekend. The lead cultural organization calls on students to give back to the community and volunteer to help in the rehabilitation of the historical landmark. Every week, the NCCA hopes to have a group of 50 students who will be scrubbing and washing the theater’s facade.

“We are happy with the support and response from the students from different universities and colleges. We want the students to be more involved in the restoration, because it will help them connect with their historical and cultural heritage,” said architect Gerard Lico who will be leading the restoration team. 

This volunteer-based activity will benefit the architecture students who are planning to do an in-depth study or write a thesis about this historical architectural treasure. Students from various universities such as MAPUA, De La Salle- College of St. Benilde, UP Diliman, University of Sto.Tomas, University of the East-Caloocan, National University, Technological University of the Philippines, Far Eastern University, Technological Institute of the Philippines, Bulacan State University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, EARIST, Letran and Centro Escolar University joined the cleanup drive, together with German “Kuya Germs” Moreno, his nephew John Nite and other artists who are under his management. 

After buying the ownership rights from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for P270 million last June, the NCCA will receive an additional budget of P270 million for the restoration of the building in the coming year.

In the past, there were efforts to restore the theater but they fell short. NCCA OIC-executive director Adelina Suemith shared that even before the cultural agency bought the building, there have been several occasions when they have met the needs of the MET. About 15 years ago, the NCCA gave funds to repair the theater’s roofing. Two years later, they donated a sound system but only to find out that the theater has no power supply.

“We have already addressed the water supply connection inside the theater. Our next project is to get the electricity back,” shared Suemith. 

The MET Theater, which is known for its art deco architecture designed by National Artist for Architecture Juan M. Arellano, has just turned 84 this year. First inaugurated on Dec. 10, 1931, the building has been declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the NCCA for its social and political contributions to Philippine society.

“The theater is not just an important landmark, but it is a symbol of Manila. It was the premiere cultural venue during the pre-war. It is a survivor of World War II. While the buildings and other infrastructures around it have been torn down and bombed during the war, it remained intact except the damage on its roof,” shared Lico. 

Also, the theater is home to various works by renowned artists. National Artist for Visual Arts Fernando Amorsolo painted two murals, “The Dance” and “The History of Music,” at the balcony. Filipino artist Isabelo Tampingco did the plant-themed carvings in the interiors; while artist Francesco Riccardo Monti made the Adam and Eve sculptures found at the main lobby. 

For details, call NCCA Public Affairs and Information Office head Rene S. Napeñas at 527-2192 loc 208, SMS 0928-5081057, ncca.paio@gmail.com or visit ncca.gov.ph.

 

ACIRC ADAM AND EVE ADELINA SUEMITH ARCHITECTURE JUAN M BULACAN STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF ST. BENILDE CULTURE AND THE ARTS NATIONAL ARTIST NCCA THEATER UNIVERSITY
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