I was browsing a Philippine adult forum website and saw a newly created topic about this new hotel called 'The Manila Grand Opera Hotel' in Doroteo Jose in Sta. Cruz, Manila. The thread starter also invited members to write an 'FR' or a Field Report on their experiences inside the hotel. He also addressed some of the girl members of the forum to go with him for a stay at the hotel, his treat. I was struck with the name of the hotel, out of curiosity I went to the website where the thread starter placed a link and I found out that the hotel was indeed the site of the historic Manila Grand Opera House.
Some historic lessons first...
The Manila Grand Opera House (Filipino: Dakilang Bahay-Opera ng Maynila, abbreviated MGOH) was a theater and opera house located in the Santa Cruz district of Manila on the intersection of Rizal Avenue and Doroteo Jose Street. Built in the mid-1800s as the H.T. Hashim’s National Cycle Track, a circular wooden structure with a nipa roof, the complex served as the center of Philippine culture and the primary theater for the viewing of plays, movies and zarzuelas in Manila prior to the construction of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in the 1960s. The complex had undergone several incarnations and name changes before being demolished. A hotel now stands on the site where the theater once stood.
The Manila Grand Opera House was built in the mid-1800s as the H.T. Hashim’s National Cycle Track, a circular wooden structure with a nipa roof. In 1890, the name was changed to the Teatro Nacional (National Theater), where the Russian Circus and some American theater companies performed. The name was subsequently changed to the Manila Grand Opera House after an extensive expansion of the original theater and its conversion to an opera house in time for the visit of an Italian opera company in 1902, after the American takeover of the Philippines, and was used as the location of the inauguration of the members of the First Philippine Assembly on October 16, 1907.
The theater served as the home for theater productions, operas and zarzuelas in the Manila area until the onset of World War II. Toribio Teodoro, then referred to as the "shoe king of the Philippines", acquired the property in 1942 and used the MGOH as his residence during the Japanese occupation and the Second Philippine Republic, at which his house and shoe factory were seized by Japanese forces. Floods and a fire damaged the theater in 1943 and 1944, respectively, with reconstruction efforts commencing after the war.
By the 1950s, the theater, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for both theatrical and cinematic productions, was dubbed its famous title "The Theater with a History". It provided daily entertainment for Manila residents, charging 85 centavos for admission to one theatrical production and one movie. In addition to plays and movie showings, operas, concerts and vaudeville performances were occasionally staged in the complex. Ownership of the complex shifted from the heirs of Teodoro to former Philippine Ambassador to Laos Antonio Cabangon Chua in the 1960s, by which then the MGOH had become a cinema. Part of Cabangon Chua's plan for the complex include the construction of a hotel at the complex.
As economic activity shifted from the Avenida area to Makati City in the 1970s, the MGOH was converted into what was then dubbed the largest nightclub in Manila: Chicks O'Clock, catering to the working class near the Avenida area. The continued slump in Avenida eventually forced the closure of the club and the demolition of the theater.
Manila Grand Opera Hotel
Partially fulfilling Cabangon Chua's vision for the site and as a contribution to the revival of the Avenida area, the Manila Grand Opera Hotel was constructed on the site of the former MGOH. The eight-storey hotel will open at the end of August 2008, with its second building opening by 2009. It will be the only hotel with a direct connection to the Manila Light Rail Transit System, connecting to Doroteo Jose LRT Station, which is also rumored to be constructed on the MGOH grounds.
I've heard and read stories about the magnificent Manila Grand Opera House from old folks who used to watch stage plays and from old actors such as Dolphy who performed there during his younger years. Such celebrities I remember were Patsy, Pugo, Bayani Casimiro (Fred Astaire of the Philippines), Oscar Obligacion, Sylvia La Torre, Chichay etc. all have performed at the Manila Grand Opera House.
The Manila Grand Opera House should have been preserved for future generations to come to remind us Filipinos of the glorious days of our culture thru plays running in the 1800s and 1900s. I wish the Philippine government took over and bought the site for historical purposes. Although the Grand Opera Hotel looks very elegant based on the photo it is still nothing but just a place for lodging or just plain old boring you-know-what of which you can do elsewhere. A hotel standing in the historical site has stained our long lost cultural heritage that should have been preserved for eternity.
No longer will you read titles of stage plays or a classic movie in their menu but rates such as this...
Superior double 2,500
Superior Twin 2,800
Deluxe Room 3,200
Executive Room 4000
Presidential Suite 6000
Man, how dreadful things have changed !
http://www.manilagrandopera.com/ Sphere: Related Content