Philippines // Manila //


When it comes to traditional performing arts – dance and theatre, for example – Manila hosts daily performances at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and a handful of other venues. The Araneta Coliseum in Cubao is the usual venue for large-scale events and concerts. As for films, every mall seems to have half a dozen screens. A good place to check upcoming events and buy tickets in advance is Ticketworld (t02/899-9991, or TicketNet (t02/911-5555,

Theatre, dance and classical music

The Philippines has a rich folk arts heritage, but a scarcity of funds and committed audiences with money to spend on tickets means it’s in danger of being forgotten. Folk dances such as tinikling, which sees participants hopping at increasing speed between heavy bamboo poles which are struck together at shin-height, are seen in cultural performances for tourists, but are only performed occasionally in theatres. The same goes for kundiman, a genre of music that reached its zenith at the beginning of the twentieth century, combining elements of tribal music with contemporary lovelorn lyrics to produce epic songs of love and loss.

Most performances at the following theatres are listed in the Manila English-language daily press, usually the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Philippine Star. It’s also worth checking listings websites such as


Most shopping malls in Manila house multiplex cinemas that show all the Hollywood and Asian blockbusters in the original languages, including The Podium mall (18 ADB Ave in Ortigas; t02/633-8976), with late-night screenings on Fridays and Saturdays; Greenbelt 3 (t02/729-7777) in Makati and Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Drive, Makati (t02/898-1440). Tickets are usually around P150. In the Malate area, try Robinsons Place in M. Adriatico Street (t02/536-7813). Tickets for Greenbelt and Glorietta cinemas can be reserved online at for collection at the venue.

A venue for arthouse and independent films is the UP Cine Adarna (t02/981-8500), UPFI Film Center building at Magsaysay and Osmeña avenues to the northeast of Quezon Memorial Circle, but screenings don’t take place every day, so call ahead.

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