Old movie houses in Baguio
The Philippine Inquirer has an interesting story on old movie houses in Baguio, the so-called “summer capital” of the Philippines. Baguio was erected by the American colonial masters before the Second World War in the Cordillera Mountains to escape the sweltering heat of Manila during the summer months. (The master plan came from American architect Daniel Burnham, better known for the Flatiron Building in New York.)
Unfortunately the story is not complete in the web edition, and more importantly, has no pictures of these tropical Art Deco beauties that are now either closed, turned into tiangge markets, or serve as gay pick-up joints like the Family theatre in Dante Mendoza´s movie Serbis (2007). In any case, like their even more beautiful counterparts in Manila, they are left to rot.
Like in Manila, the mall cinemas are among the most important reasons for the decline of these theatres. From the article: University of the Philippines Baguio communication professor, Ma. Rina Locsin, who wrote a paper on the movie houses in Baguio, “views the construction of malls in the city as only a representation of a larger issue of transformation towards modernity in which the cinema is also a catalyst. She says the act of building the first movie theater, called “Garden,” in Baguio by Hubert Phelps Whitmarsh, the first civil governor of Benguet, in the early years of the 20th century pushed the city to the road to modernity and consequently, the beginning of the decline of the independent movie theater itself.”