10 Alternative Cinemas in Metro Manila

Where to go whether you're on the lookout for a film festival or a blockbuster.

(SPOT.ph) Movie watching can be a very magical experience. Sure, you may have a swanky home entertainment system in your own pad and a streaming subscription. But you have to admit that nothing beats sitting inside a cinema, your choice of snack on hand, and just immersing yourself in the story that plays on a big screen right before your very eyes.

But when you’re tired of the same old, same old—and by that, we mean the long lines, the kids causing a ruckus, fellow moviegoers making inappropriate side comments, and the worst, unapologetic spoiler-droppers—take refuge in these alternative cinemas built for serious movie fans. You might have to go out of your way to go to some of these, but we promise you, it’ll be worth it.

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Here are 10 places where you can catch cinematic gems around Metro Manila:

Cinema Silencio

Cinema Silencio is a movie screening pop-up that shows a wide variety of titles—from cult films to timeless classics from all corners of the world, and everything in between. If you’re constantly pulling long hours at work, you’d be happy to know that screenings are held late at night on weekdays, so you can catch films with your colleagues to unwind.

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When to go: Screenings are currently held on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. and are usually free. They post their monthly schedules on Facebook.

Cinema Silencio is at XX XX, 20B La Fuerza Plaza, 2441 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.

Black Maria Cinema

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Located just off the rotonda in Mandaluyong is this micro-cinema that shows not just local independent films, but also the best of world cinema, retrospectives, seminars and workshops, themed screening events, and extended runs of local indie film festivals. Aside from a small theater, Black Maria also houses a café called Santiago for your pre- or post-movie caffeine fix.

When to go: Schedules vary, so have a look at their Facebook page for dates and times before heading there. Tickets go for P150.

Black Maria Cinema is at 779 San Rafael Street, Mandaluyong City.

Areté

A rendering of the 840-seater proscenium theater at Areté 
PHOTO BY Ateneo website
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Opened in 2018, Areté is Ateneo de Manila University’s creativity hub. It hosts talks, performances, and, of course, film screenings. The first-ever Cine Areté Film Festival was held in September and October 2018, during which a selection of Cinemalaya movies were screened at The Doreen Black Box. Prior to that, it hosted Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino X ADMU, where entries of the festival's 2018 edition were shown. The Hyundai Hall, Areté's proscenium theater, seats 840.

When to go: Movie screenings at Areté are sporadic, so don’t forget to check out their Facebook page for schedules and admissions fees (if any).

Areté is at University Road, Ateneo De Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design Manila

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Apart from hosting lectures and art exhibits, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design also holds themed movie screenings at their multimedia room, The Loop, or  SDA Cinema. If you like watching thought-provoking and eye-opening titles, you’d want to pay this place a visit.

When to go: The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design hosts free screenings monthly. Check out their Facebook page for screening schedules.

The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design Manila is at G/F Benilde School of Design and Arts Campus, Dominga Street, Malate, Manila.

Tanghalang Manuel Conde

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Also known as the Dream Theater or the Audio-Visual Room, Tanghalang Manuel Conde is one of the smaller screening venues inside the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Named after a National Artist for Cinema, the theater hosts independent movie and documentary screenings (it gets particularly packed during Cinemalaya season), special screenings, lecture forums, seminars, and small conferences.

When to go: The Cinemalaya film festival is held annually in August. Throughout the rest of the year, keep your eyes peeled for screening schedules and ticket prices online, or visit the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) official website and the CCP Media Arts Division Facebook page.

Tanghalang Manuel Conde is at CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Magdalena Jalandoni Street, Malate, Pasay City.

Cinematheque Centre Manila

PHOTO BY Cinematheque Centre Manila
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Opening in 2016 as the first cinematheque in Metro Manila, Cinematheque Centre Manila regularly holds both free and paid screenings of Filipino classics and independent movies. It also holds special screenings to commemorate occasions and celebrations, such as the centennial anniversary of Philippine Cinema and Pride Month. But that’s not all: it screens select award-winning foreign movies, too.

When to go: The Cinematheque is open on weekdays and weekends, with screenings held between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., but don’t forget to check out the schedules on their Facebook page before you go! For paid shows, admission fee is usually at P100.

Cinematheque Centre Manila is at 855 T.M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila.

Alliance Française de Manille

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Love French films but don’t know where to catch them outside of the annual French Film Festival in Manila? Drop by the Alliance Française de Manille on Wednesday nights! The institution hosts Le Ciné Club, which screens new and classic French movies by acclaimed filmmakers like François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard for free. You can catch more films under Ciné Goûter on Saturday afternoons, with tickets ranging from P250 to P350.

When to go: Wednesday nights at 8:30 p.m. for Le Ciné Club and Saturday afternoons at 3 p.m. for Ciné Goûter. Don’t forget to check what’s showing on their website before you go!

Alliance Française de Manille is at 209 Nicanor Garcia Street, Bel-Air II, Makati City.

Cine Adarna

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The University of the Philippines' Diliman campus is home to the UP Film Institute, which offers film courses for both undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. It’s also home to two theaters—Cine Adarna and Videotheque—which regularly hold film showings and panel discussions with local and foreign filmmakers. Both host special screenings to commemorate occasions and celebrations, and features entries from festivals like Cinemalaya and Sinag Maynila for special runs.

When to go: Schedules aren’t fixed, so it's best to join the UP Film Institute Center-Cine Adarna group on Facebook or regularly check out their website.

Cine Adarna and Videotheque are inside UPFI Film Center, Magsaysay Avenue, UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City.

Cinema Centenario

PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela
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Nestled among the famed eateries and restaurants along Maginhawa Street is Cinema Centenario, opened in 2017 and so named to celebrate 100 years of Philippine cinema. Like most micro-cinemas on this list, it screens some of the best Filipino movies today and from past decades, which you can watch for only P200. Aside from screenings, Cinema Centenario occasionally holds Q&As, talks, lectures, and workshops with filmmakers, too.

When to go: Schedules vary, with screenings happening from morning until late at night. Head to their Facebook page for details.

Cinema Centenario is at 95 Maginhawa Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City.

Cinema '76

PHOTO BY War Espejo
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While Cinema '76 screens mostly Filipino films, it also shows foreign-language arthouse and mainstream movies, as well as Hollywood and independent flicks. They also host talks and Q&A sessions with filmmakers. In 2018, Cinema '76 opened a second branch in Anonas (just a stone’s throw away from the LRT), making it more accessible to film fans in the north and east.

When to go: Screenings usually start in the afternoon, with ticket prices ranging from P180 to P250. Check out their Facebook page for schedules and ticket prices.

Cinema ‘76 has branches at 160 Luna Mencias Street, Barangay Addition Hills, San Juan City and 3/F Anonas LRT City Center, 968 Aurora Boulevard, Project 4, Quezon City.

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