The new and improved Manila Metropolitan Theater sees its first live performance

The historic Manila Metropolitan Theater (MET), which underwent restorations in 2015 and reopened this year, has finally seen its first theatrical performance in decades.

Lapu Lapu, Ang Datu ng Mactan, a production about the country’s “first Filipino hero” and the arrival of Christianity into the country, was live-streamed on social media last Sunday.

The new and improved Manila Metropolitan Theater sees its first live performance
Photo from Metropolitan Theater/Facebook

On their Facebook page, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) wrote a message of gratitude to all those involved in the show. “A successful premiere for Lapu Lapu, ang Datu ng Mactan! Salutations to all who make up this historic production, led by NCCA chairman and artistic director, Arsenio ‘Nick’ Lizaso,” the post read in Filpino.

“We thank everyone who joined us in welcoming Lapu Lapu, the Datu of Mactan – from the actors, our partners behind the curtain and the camera, to our online audience! Long live the opening of the Met!”

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The MET in 1945
Photo from Tatler Asia

The MET was first inaugurated in 1931 in the city of Manila.

It was designed by architect Juan M. Arellano, who used the art deco style that was popular during the 1925 Paris Exposition. H also made sure to incorporate distinct Filipino traits in the design of the building, utilizing flora and fauna for ornamentations and bamboo banister railings.

The MET soon became a hub for the arts that hosted shows for opera, ballet, orchestral music, theatre and film. While it lasted through the Japanese occupation of Manila and martial law, the cultural center eventually fell into disarray and was closed in 1996.

Almost 20 years later, the NCCA was able to obtain the architectural landmark for P270 million. They began to restore the building, hosting a soft opening in June 2021. It’s scheduled to formally reopen in December 2021.

Art Daniella Sison

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