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Manila has been known as the center of activities in the Philippines since the preSpanish time. It was even one of the first to establish its position in Southeast Asia during
the 17th century and was even described as the best situated city in the world and destined
to become one day the center of commerce and trade of the Pacific and Indian oceans by
French navigators and historians. (Zaragosa, 1990)
Its a shame that Manila has lost its former glory now with the current state of
Manila which lacks a sense of community. Focusing more on building infrastructures that
are promoting consumerism rather than areas that promote social interactions and
community development is the root of this problem. The people have been farther and
farther apart with the rapid urbanization that disregards the need for spaces that promote
creating social bonds. The involvement of local people doesnt seem to be a priority
which lead to the alienation created by the poor planning of the community in Manila.
The proposal for the New Arroceros District would revolve around the saying If
you want to know how the shoe fits, ask the person who is wearing it, not the one who
made it. (Wates, 2000). In order to revive and activate Manila back to its former glory,
the design should put communal objectives at center-stage. Creating an environment
where people feel they belong needs to get them involved in order to create a place
which is worth struggling to retain and develop. (Wates, 2016)
Presently, the area is alive and thriving but sadly of a different context. Informal
settlers and businesses co-exist with the organized structure of the urban fabric. The

following are observations from site inspections by Alverne & Magauay taken from their
study Understanding the Evolution of Urban Renewal within the Environs of
Metropolitan Theater: The New Arroceros District Master Plan Project.
With the stated current condition of the site in mind, the overall project objectives are:
To develop a master plan that will bring the City of Manila as a

benchmark for heritage revitalization.

To address the physical essentials of the local government of Manila so it
can deliver the necessary social service to its constituents, guest and


To plan and design structures that will allow diversity that would create


vibrancy in the district.

To ensure mobility within and outside the area though the integration of
different mode of transportation available in the site.

Restoration projects for the Metropolitan Theater and the Old GSIS building will
hopefully create a community with better awareness and appreciation of the concept of
urban regeneration as a solution to cities difficulties like better urban environments,
more economic opportunities, and improved quality of life. This, on a grander dream,
may consequently help regain the status of Manila in its prime era. (Alverne & Magauay,



The Manila Metropolitan Theater is said to be the most beautiful expression of

Filipino creativity and ingenuity in Art Deco aesthetics and architecture. Built at a time

when Manila was designed as the City Beautiful and the Philippines was titled the Pearl
of the Orient, the theater was home to the artistic talents who eventually became the
Philippines National Artists in architecture, visual artist, music, literature and dance, a
celebration of the best Filipino values.
After the ravage of the Second World War, the shift of entertainment and
educational technology to movies and digital media, the rapid urbanization of the city, the
Metropolitan Theater was forgotten into oblivion. The concerted conservation efforts of
the National and Manila city governments coupled by the support from culture, heritage
and academic sectors of society, have once again focused the peoples attention to the
very high aesthetic and architectural significance of the Metropolitan Theater. Once
again, it is envisioned to remind the Filipinos of their artistic achievements and inspire
promising new generations of National Artists. (Zerrudo, 2008)
Regarding the revival of the Metropolitan theater back to its former glory, Prof.
Zerrudo and his previous students conducted a survey around the site in the year 2006,
with the main questions about the importance of the Metropolitan Theater to the surveyed
and their preferred use for it. The most preferred uses for the Met were: theater, concerts
venue, movie house, caf restaurant, and bookstore. The following are the other results
from the survey:
Mode of transportation
Familiarity with the Met
Significance of the Met

64% - Female
54.8% - 15-20 years old
25.9% - Php 15,000
46% - Jeepney riders
78.2% - Familiar with Met
33% - Historical
31% - Aesthetic/Architectural

Table 1. Results of survey conducted about the restoration of the Metropolitan Theater

They conducted another survey which now focused on the people that are
involved and that work in theaters. The most preferred uses that resulted in this survey
are: convention center, museum & library, theater, school, and food & beverage
restaurant. The following are the other results from this survey:
Mode of transportation
Action to do on the Met

62% - Female
26.8% - 20-25 years old
26% - Php 20,000
40% - Private vehicle riders
95.8% - Renovate the Met

Table 2. Results of the survey which had people involved with theaters as respondents.

With this data in mind, Prof. Zerrudo said that We have to make sure that the
MET will survive, while reminding us that the available market around the area of the
Metropolitan theater plays an important part in its conservation and that restoring it just
to being a theater again might not be the best plan.
The proposal is now for Metropolitan Theater to be converted into a performing
and visual arts school. It is envisioned to be the bridge between the past, present and
future generations by bringing the glory of the Metropolitan Theater as a cultural and art
center before into a producer of artists that would then inspire future generations into
preserving and being involved in the arts as well. Making it into a place in which creates
future National Artists would greatly uphold its significance. Making it into a school
would also make sure that it survive, seeing that it would have an available market in
Manila. The following data was collected to further support the viability of the
Metropolitan Theater being converted into a performing and visual arts school:

Table 3. Summary of Enrollments in the Tertiary level as of November 62, 2010. (Suarez, 2012)

While discipline areas such as Education and Teacher Training, and Medical and
Allied Professions have six-figure enrollment rates, courses such as Fine & Applied Arts
and Humanities have consistently low enrollment figures, all consistently below 100,000
annually. The arts havent been at the top when it comes to enrollments but that raises the
need to further promote the arts and humanities as a critical part of nation-building for a
strong and vibrant culture.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) also released a list of priority
courses that were identified based on national development plans, manpower demands
until 2018 and a study of the Department of Labor and Employment that determined the
in-demand and hard-to-fill courses, skills and jobs that match the projected employment
requirements of key industries until 2020. Among the priority courses include the Arts

and Humanities. Echoing Vitriolo, the director of the CHED Office of Student
Development and Services, said that these priority courses are needed by the economy
and they support the government's development agenda. The priority courses are aligned
to the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan, the country's economic blueprint
which adopts a framework of inclusive growth. According to Dr. Inlayo, this strategy will
allow the student financial assistance programs beneficiaries to enroll in undergraduate
courses that will provide positive impact on national development goals. (Bacani, 2014)



Park N Ride - Multimodal Transport Hub

Arroceros Food Park

Livelihood Center


Manila Art Academy (Metropolitan Theater)





Demographic Data of Expected Users


Organizational Structure


Behavioral Analysis