The Ghost in CCP and Metropolitan Theater

Old buildings are always associated with terror - that all of them have cruel past and unwanted memories of people who once lived there, but that is not absolute. As those buildings are also connected with ghosts - ghost of those people who really loved the place, it only mean that they didn't want to depart on the structure because of its dear significance.

Not all buildings can be compared or synonymously be pointed to the Manila Film Center, whose past became so tragic that the dead still haunts the place for vengeance and justice.

One of our readers gave me an idea about the ghost living in the Cultural Center of the Philippines.[a] As I was finding information about the CCP ghost, I found one story about the Metropolitan Theater. So I thought, it could be much useful if I combine both old theaters in Metro Manila. Thanks to the stories created by Luce and Clarence Tuvera in They gave me enough history of the ghosts.

So let's get started . . .

The Manila Metropolitan Theater

Before the creation of the CCP, artistic performances were held in public places around the country. The Manila Grand Opera House, which was constructed in mid-19th Century, housed the stage plays, operas and zarzuelas and other important events in Manila. Then, there came the creation of Metropolitan Theater (or MET as what others call it).

The Manila Metropolitan Theater was the first theater created before the Cultural Center of the Philippines. It houses the Braodway of the Philippines - an Art Deco building of Manila. It was constructed in 1931. Juan M. Arellano is the Filipino architect who designed the MMT.

During the liberation of Manila by the United States and Filipino forces in 1945, the theatre was severely damaged, losing some of its roofing and destroying some of the walls. After reconstruction by the Americans it gradually fell into disuse in the 1960s. In the following decade it was meticulously restored in 1978 but again fell into decay.[3]

The Cultural Center of the Philippines

The Cultural Center of the Philippines is a government owned and controlled corporation established for preservation, development and promotion of Philippine arts and culture. It provides local and international productions with stage performances and exhibitions. In addition to it, the CCP is also the venue for festivals.

Leandro Locsin was the designer of the structure. It was originally planned to be constructed in Quezon City when the Philippine-American Cultural Foundation (PACF) raised fund for this new theater. However, First Lady Imelda Marcos persuaded the PACF to relocate the plan to Roxas Boulevard in Manila. Executive Order No. 60 was issued by Pres. Marcos for formalization of the project.

The construction was objected by Senator Ninoy Aquino because the money used came mostly from public fund and it didn't have congressional appropriation, and the institution was branded for the elites.


[Taken from Internet:[1]]

Who's that Girl?
By: luce

[ . . . ]

That day, during dad's shift, their crew were informed that the president's first lady, Imelda Marcos, will be watching the play. The Presidential Security Group (PSG) thoroughly swept the place for anything and anyone suspicious.

After that, my dad and the sound technician (let's call him Roy), went up to the control room behind the stage (it's elevated, think two story backstage) and started checking their equipment to get ready for the play. Their area allows them to see the stage without being seen by the audience. Imagine the recording studios with the glass panel - that's pretty much how it looks like. On the first level across them (still behind the stage) are two PSG men, stationed in that area.

The play started without a hitch but during the intermission, the two PSG guys came running inside the control room. My dad and Roy got a little worried - during that time, getting in trouble with the Marcoses either mean torture or death.

One of PSG guys spoke up and asked whether someone went through the room. My dad and Roy told them they haven't seen anyone go through the door. Unconvinced, the PSG guys pointed to a door on the right. Roy said that door has been locked for a long time but gave them the key anyway so they could check it themselves. They did and found the tiny room dusty and empty (no trap doors or anything).

For a couple of tough guys, they started looking a little shook up. They told my dad and Roy that just a few minutes ago, before the intermission, they saw a lady with long hair and white clothes entering the room--running, then disappearing. My dad and Roy looked at each other, shrugged and told the PSG guys that it happens a lot there (the whole CCP in fact).

Here's another tale I want to share with you guys about that place. In class, during high school, our teacher in English was discussing the details of our upcoming project. She then started sharing the woes of our upperclassmen (or women since I studied in an all-girls school) with their thesis.

I stopped listening at this point, deciding to scribble doodles on my notebook but a picture being passed around piqued my interest. My teacher said it was taken in one of the hallways of the CCP (the hall with the huge mirrors).

I can't remember if it's 3 or 4 of her students, but I can remember seeing 3 unwelcome images - one of a lady with long hair and a boy between 2 of her students, and a head of a man in front. The lady and the boy were in the mirror. Their images like smoke. The man in front is less discernible at first glance, it looks like it was super imposed. All in 35 mm of film.

No, I don't have a copy of that picture. I was a broke high school student (remember, 'tis the age of nice old film cameras) and was not a huge fan of the supernatural back then.

Another story which gave me much interest is The Dame by Clarence Tuvera.

[Taken from Internet:[2]]

The Dame
By: Clarence Tuvera

[ . . . ]

. . . Artistic Director Rolando Tinio received the invitation to join the festival, he gladly accepted it, taking it as an act of good will on the part of the CCP. He decided to mount his Filipino translation of Will Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night (Ikalabing-Dalawang Gabi), featuring his actress wife, the dame of classical theater in the Philippines, Ella Luansing Tinio in the role of Viola.

A week before the start of the actual festivities, however, Ella Luansing suddenly died due to a tragic car accident. We half expected to receive a call from director Tinio saying he will withdraw his company's participation from the festival, but he didn't. He did call to inform us that his daughter, Victoria Tinio will be taking over the role of Viola, and that we were to make the necessary changes in the list of cast for the official festival program.

I know many of the people in TP. I have worked with them backstage in at least two productions, one of which - Will Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (translated as Ang Trahedya ni Hamlet, Prinsipe ng Denmarka) - was when they were already at the MET.

I went to visit them two days before their Technical Dress Rehearsal, partly on official business (Director Tinio was supposed to deliver a lecture on Stage Management to festival participants, and I came over to inform him of the exact venue of the lecture), and partly out of nostalgia.

Even the whole stage design was tweaked to reflect the company's state of mourning, as shown by the black and white veils that hang from the battens and falls ever so gracefully down to the stage boards.

An extra character was also incorporated into the performance - a lady in black, laced evening gown whose face is covered with a thin black veil - appearing at certain scenes on stage. This extra character was played by TP resident actress, Divina Fabrique Cavestany who bears a striking resemblance to the late Ella Luansing Tinio (same facial features, same piercing eyes, same posture, though younger by a decade.) This character was to appear whenever the actors on stage would recite a soliloquy from other plays that Tinio incorporated into the script. These soliloquies were from characters in other plays that the late Ella performed in.

Needless to say, the rehearsal that I witnessed, as a whole, was creepy and depressing (considering that Twelfth Night is supposed to be a comedy of manners). Nevertheless, some of us who have worked with the company in the past decided to see the play on closing night (it ran for three weekends, excluding the actual festival week). That was to be TP's final performance, as Rolando decided to finally call it quits after 17 years of translating and producing classics of world theater for Filipino audiences. His main disciple and creative partner, Ella, is gone, and so he figured there was no more reason to continue. All TP alumni, on stage and back stage, were invited to a quiet dinner afterwards.

During final performance, however, as Divina's character weaved in and out of scenes, something extraordinary happened. Another lady in black appeared on stage, much to everyone's horror. The face was veiled, and yet there was no mistaking those eyes that pierced through the thin fabric. Divina actually stopped her entrance from stage left, then walked right back out, as the other veiled figure stood at stage right. Being the professionals that they were, the actors proceeded with the performance as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.

The audience, many of whom were regular TP fans and Classics of World Theater enthusiasts, was in complete silence: everyone knew the late Ella enough to recognize her presence. If it was a bad joke, it was done in poor taste.

The apparition appeared several times that night, often stopping Divina on her tracks. At one point, it made an entrance while Divina was already on stage. Everyone saw the two women in black on the stage at the same time. It was unnerving.

At curtain time, however, only Divina came out in her costume, sans the veil to take her final TP bow. As the curtain fell for the last time, the unnerved audience stepped out of the theater in such a hurry you would have thought there was a fire somewhere.

I don't know if many of the cast and TP alumni stayed for the dinner after the performance. I know I didn't.

[ . . . ]

TP: Teatro Pilipino

Note: The stories above are summarized for briefing the whole original story. You can visit the source websites.


The second story is proven true by the author himself. Though the incident happened in Metropolitan Theater, the ghost seemed similar to the CCP ghost. But I don't mean the Met ghost is the same ghost in CCP. What I mean is, ghost like them have unfinished business. Ella Luansing (the Met ghost), if she didn't die, she should have been one of the characters in the play.

Note: Try pointing your cursor on the underlined words or letters for an additional information or definition.


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