Last June 2015, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), an organization that officially owns the Metropolitan (Met) Theater followed up with a task to relive the glorious days of the “Grand Old Dame,” back in 1931. To start off, several focus group discussions were conducted among stakeholders to further solidify the visions and concepts for a sustainable Met.

“In the interim, prior to conservation and infrastructural remediation, we want to engage public participation, enhance their appreciation of their national heritage, and giving the sense of ownership of the Metropolitan Theater,” Architect Gerard Lico expresses.

Architecture students from Adamson University, Bulacan State University, National University, Technological Institute of the Philippibnes Manila-QC, DLSU-CSB, Far Eastern University, University of Santo Tomas, Mapua Institute of Technology, TUP, PUP, EARIST, and UE-Caloocan passed as volunteers on the initial clean-up drive on December 12. “This is symbolic because we are also commemorating the 84th anniversary of the inauguration of the Metropolitan in December 10, 1931. This launch also coincides with the celebration of the National Architecture Week that is why this clean-up drive invited students of architecture as volunteers,” Lico says.

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Come January 2016, NCCA will resume and have an open call for interested volunteers for Met’s clean-up drive. This time, everyone is allowed to join the said activity. Universities and colleges are then highly encouraged to participate as a part of their civic education. Volunteers will be provided cleaning agents and tools, as well as hardhats for safety and protection.

Meanwhile, if the general public won’t be able to make it on the clean-up drives, NCCA is all eyes and ears to the suggested ideas, concepts, and visions for the restoration of Met.

“Beginning January, we shall have a clean-up drive every two weeks. This call for volunteers will be announced via our Facebook page or they could send us an email in advance expressing their willingness to participate. This will be no longer exclusive for architecture but an open call to individuals and organizations. We will also engage Universities and Colleges in the NCR to include the Met Clean-up as part of civic education in the National Service Training Program (NSTP),” he adds.

Through bayanihan and continuous efforts, Metropolitan Theater shall hopefully rise again and flourish back to its old glory soon enough.

“By cleaning up the Met by rendering sheer labor through the bayanihan spirit, one is devoting not only time and effort, and professing optimism and allegiance to the belief that Met is important and that it should be revived… When one cleans as a volunteer, the heritage structure becomes not only a building but a space collectively and one becomes emotionally attached. The building becomes meaningful in the public imagination and the experience of cleaning becomes a priceless contribution to a communal goal of saving of our heritage… Our pamana,” he concludes.

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Metropolitan Theater is at Padre Burgos Ave., Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila.

For more details about Metropolitan Theater’s restoration, follow National Commission for Culture and the Arts or contact [email protected].

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