Philippine Cinematheque: Quintessential film experience


facade of the Cinematheque Manila

Filipino culture has taken a rise for the past two (2) years with the younger critical youth taking interest with what we Filipinos can offer may it be thru music, art, literature and films. Incrementally there are channels like Fringe festivals, Independent film competitions hosted by private companies and local governments for Cinemalaya, Sinag Manila, QCShorts Competition. Not to everyone’s awareness that there are venues sponsored and initiated by our national government under the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), whose mission is to “Bring Filipino films to Filipinos“. Currently, the Philippine Cinematheque is a vital part of the Sineng Pambansa or National Cinema program of FDCP it is functionally designed to host a film museum, well-managed screening room, and can host various related seminars. Its mission is to be an alternative and publicly accessible venue to the public who wants to enrich their appreciation for local and world produced quality films that are being overshadowed by Hollywood’s consumerism driven movies or your typical Start Cinema mistress led plots.

Part of the film museum are types of equipment measured to produce films

There are five (5) available screening venues for Cinemateque around the country:

  1. Cinemateque Manila: 855 T. M. Kalaw St. Ermita Manila
  2. Cinematheque Baguio: Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road Baguio City
  3. Cinematheque Iloilo: B&C Building Iloilo City
  4. Cinematheque Davao: Palma Gil St, Poblacion District, Davao City, Davao del Sur,
  5. Cinemateque Zamboanga: Legionaire St, Zamboanga, Zamboanga Sibugay
Site location for Manila venue (image courtesy if Cinematheque MNL’s Facebook page)

The Cinematheque activities are scheduled actively on a monthly basis and with a specific theme that they normally follow. I advise to constantly check their Facebook page for the updated line-up of events and screening schedules.


This 2000 sqm venue houses also The Museo ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Film Museum) at the ground floor. A small yet diverse collection of film memorabilia, equipment, posters, and photographs. It also has classrooms, a library, a souvenir shop and a café.


 workshops and symposiums on directing, scriptwriting, editing, cinematography, and all other aspects of filmmaking (image from Cinematheque MNL’s Facebook page)
A Stenchbeck film cutter and editor. The granddaddy of all post-film productions

Ticket fees are reasonable as it would only cost you 100php-150php per screening and often times they offer free film showings as well.

Collection of printed photos of memorable behind the scene footages of Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, Manuel Silos and the likes

It is a well-made 101 seater theater, and strange enough, the experience is a solemn one. There are no nagging children, annoying teenagers on their phones. People comfortably bent watching the film unfold right before their very eyes. Just sheer interest and being lost in the story itself.

Should you want to experience something different and would want to see an 8-hour long film of Lav Diaz’s you definitely need to go to The Cinematheque Manila or even to the other 4 locations in the country. The effort to prolong and enrich a country’s culture is a give and take effort from the government and us its people. Go out and always support all locally driven cultural advocacies.

For more information and events activities:

Cinematheque Manila

Address: 855 Kalaw Ave, Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines


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