The journey of discovering downtown Manila’s old movie theaters begins at the city’s geopolitical center: the district of Quiapo. While it may be hard to see Quiapo today as a haven for cinema, (except for the cinema released on those not-so-legal optical media) in the olden days, Quiapo boasts of some of the most notable movie theaters in the city, even though they may not be as numerous as that in the Avenida Rizal strip. In fact in its heyday, there were about a dozen or so movie theaters found in the district, many of which were concentrated along the stretch of Quezon Boulevard, Quiapo’s main thoroughfare.
Before came the blight, there was the bright. The bright that shone from the dozens of neon signages that illuminated the cityscape which was downtown Manila. For the people who lived in those bygone days, those neon signs were a form of welcome, a respite from those day-to-day struggles or whatever issue of the day that was bothering them. The bright lights would lead them right into a movie theater where they can enjoy the latest movie released in town. Or it could be a comedy act or some performer who will be having a show for that day. Yup, some of those theaters serve a dual purpose as well.…