Walk This Way: A Movie Tour of the City of Manila
When in Manila, it’s worth noting that Manila city, the capital of the Philippines, has been featured in a number of movies – both local and international! I learned about that when I went on a tour around places in Manila that were featured in films with Carlos Celdran, tour guide, cultural activist, and performing artist in cooperation with the Digital Film Program and the Architecture Program of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in celebration of Araw ng Maynila.
Check out our last article on Carlo Celdran’s Walking Tour here: Walk This Way: Walking Tour of Manila by Carlos Celdran
Our tour guide Carlos gave us a brief history of Manila while we were inside the bus and educated us on how our local language and the names of places in the Philippines speak so much about our country’s history. For instance, we have places called Sta. Ana or San Agustin because we were once under the reign of the Spaniards and we have places called Taft Avenue or Beverly Hills, or New York, Cubao because of the Americans who took over the Philippines afterwards. Interesting, right?
One of the places in Manila that has appeared a lot in movies is Roxas Boulevard. This part of the city can be seen in movies such as Ishmael Bernal’s Filipino Gawad Urian Award Winnning drama film Manila by Night, Lino Brocka’s 1971 Stardoom, Big Shot (1956), Tisoy (1977) starring Jay Ilagan and Christopher De Leon, Victory Joe (1946) and Babae sa Breakwater (2003).
Did you guys know that, back in the day, Manila was considered to be upscale? In Ermita, everyone spoke Spanish and Escolta was considered to be the equivalent of Greenbelt 5 and you could only land a job there if you were tisay/tisoy. The former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, actually used to be a saleslady in Escolta.
Our first stop was the newly re-opened Luneta Hotel, which was featured in a Chuck Norris movie called Delta Force, though in the movie it was meant to be a hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Taking a short tour inside Luneta Hotel
View from the top of Luneta Hotel
A bit of history about Luneta Hotel
If you’re an avid movie viewer of Pinoy films, you must have noticed by now that the city of Manila has always been pictured as a dark, dangerous and scary place. One good example of a movie that portrays Manila like that is Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag, specifically Luneta Park. Carlos took us there and these are the views that we saw:
Does that look like a dark, dangerous and scary place to you? Actually, back in the day, Manilenos used to go to Luneta Park every Sunday, strolling around or watching movies in the now defunct Luneta theater.
This Luneta theater is now just a storage place.
It died with the advent of DVDs, internet and basically the change of culture. Plus, 60% of the theatre movie screens in today’s malls are controlled by SM.