Popcorn & Soda: A look at Philippine Cinemas

Although there are websites that review movies, seldom have I found a website that reviews movie houses, especially in the Philippines. I’ve seen movies in different movie houses, some of which I often come back to because of the place, other times, of accessibility. There are many factors to consider in reviewing a movie house, or a cinema house, or a theater, or whatever politically correct name it should be referred to, but for all intents and purposes, I’m going to call it a cinema, since a theater is for plays, ballets, and operas, and a movie house may refer to the cinemas and the mall outside it, or simply a house made of movies. But call it with whatever floats your boat.

Greenbelt 1 Cinemas, Makati City
One of the oldest stomping grounds for kids in high school and college, this cinema has evolved in many ways, from a simple movie house, to one of a series of malls with specialty shops. First time I watched a movie here was when I was in high school, which was in the late 80s. They have remodeled the mall and cinemas since then. Now, there are better and nicer chairs that are very comfy, and the price is not too steep, an inexpensive way to escape reality. Leg room is ample enough for most tall people. Getting a ticket is easy but you have to take the escalator or stairs to go to the cinema itself as the ticket booth is at the ground floor whereas the cinema is at the second. I wouldn’t mind making this my regular cinema to watch my highly-anticipated movies. The only downside is that there are only two cinemas inside this movie house. It kinda limits your options. Whatever movie you choose to watch, you’ll be comfortable and won’t regret paying the price of admission. Jologs encounter probability: 4 out of 10

Greenbelt 3 Cinemas, Makati City
A somewhat better version of the Greenbelt 1 Cinemas, these cinemas are equipped with nicer chairs and can accomodate more people. Leg room is about the same. Digital sound has become a standard in cinemas, such as THX, SDDS, DTS, etc. Price is a bit higher, though, than Greenbelt 1 cinemas, but I fail to see the difference. I don’t see why I should be paying more for a different ambiance when all I want to pay for is to be comfortable while watching a movie. In the dark. Where I won’t be appreciating the ambiance, anyway. Jologs encounter probability: 3 out of 10

Glorietta 1 Cinemas, Makati City
Formerly Quad cinemas, these cinemas are almost as old as Greenbelt 1′s and has undergone the same evolution as Greenbelt 1. But it has a lower Jologs encounter probability rating because they moved to Glorietta 4. Jologs encounter probability: 3 out of 10

Glorietta 4 Cinemas, Makati City
Chairs are comfortable, and much like the ones used in Greenbelt 3 cinemas. Again, digital surround sound is a standard. Jologs encounter probability: 4 out of 10

Robinsons Galleria Cinemas, Pasig City
It’s been quite a while since I last saw a movie at this mall, but I always enjoyed going there, and the seats are nice. When Glorietta and Greenbelt were refurbishing their cinemas with new chairs, Galleria already had them. That’s all I can say about it. Jologs encounter probability: 4 out of 10

Robinsons Place Ermita Cinemas, Manila
When this mall was new, the cinemas were great. However, they were neglected and were in disarray for a while. There was this weird smell you only…smell…with old cinemas. Good thing the Midtown wing was opened, which housed three more cinemas that are at par with the Makati cinemas. I’m hoping it stays that way. Jologs encounter probability: 6 out of 10

Gateway Cinemas 1 – 9, Cubao, Quezon City
Nice chairs, good sound, and ample seating capacity, Gateway cinemas are much alike Glorietta 4 cinemas. Jologs encounter probability: 5 out of 10

Gateway Cinema 10, Cubao, Quezon City
If you’re the type of person who can’t watch a movie without a comfortable chair, Gateway’s Cinema 10 has you covered. Aside from a limited 40 person seating capacity, digital surround sound, and free and unlimited popcorn and soda, this cinema has La-Z-Boy chairs. And if you’re not in the mood for popcorn and soda, they have a snack menu to choose from, for a fee. Only downside for this cinema is the price. But if it’s exclusivity you want, this is the cinema for you. Jologs encounter probability: 1 out of 10

Waltermart Cinemas, Makati City
A sleeper hit, if there ever was one for cinemas. Same price as the Greenbelt 1 cinemas, but better chairs with folding armrests. What’s better is that it is closer to my place than the Greenbelt 1 cinemas. Only downside I can think of is that they open late, and only 4 or 5 screenings per movie. Jologs encounter probability: 4 out of 10

The Promenade Cinemas, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan
I’m having mixed feelings with this cinema. It has high-backed reclining chairs with folding armrests, which is the same chair used in the United States cinemas I’ve been to, that I’m sure I also saw in other cinemas but forgot where it was, but not in the previously mentioned cinemas above. The price makes it even greater as it is also in the same ballpark as the Greenbelt 1 and Waltermart Cinemas. What prevented me from making this cinema my favorite is the fact that there were pieces of gum stuck underneath the folding armrests, which my shirt fell victim to. It reflects the people who watch movies there, and it casts a bad light on them. Jologs encounter probability: 5 out of 10

SM Mall of Asia Cinemas 1 – 6, Pasay City
Let’s see, leg room isn’t ample enough that you bump your knees at the back of the chairs in front of you every time you slouch, comfort level is at an all-time low, chairs aren’t really comfortable because of the lack of ample leg room, and the crowd you’re with isn’t really a crowd you’d want to associate yourself with outside the cinema. But, seating is always reserved. Obviously, this isn’t my favorite place to see a movie, but I did see a number of movies simply because I had no choice, the commander-in-chief said so. Many a time have I shushed people for talking too loudly, with their cellphone or themselves, in this moviehouse. It would be a miracle if you don’t hear a cellphone going off for a text message during a movie. Jologs encounter probability: 8 out of 10

Although I wanted to for a long time, I still haven’t seen a movie in IMAX. And there are new cinemas at Cash & Carry that I would also like to try, although I think it wouldn’t have any difference compared with Waltermart’s or Greenbelt 1′s. Location, however, will always be a factor when choosing where to watch a movie. And of course, the movie itself, if it is screening at your chosen moviehouse.

On a post script note, the Jologs encounter probability is just a made up rating. The closer it is to 10, the more likely you’ll be sitting beside someone talking loudly on their cellphone or amongst themselves, as if they were in their own living room, which means you would be pissed off watching the movie, missing out on the whole experience of the story because you were shushing left and right at the inconsiderate people around you. Those insolent pricks.

16 thoughts on “Popcorn & Soda: A look at Philippine Cinemas”

  1. @bigenya: If I can find the time to visit it, why not? Only reasons I can’t do so at a whim is the location, and monetary limitations. Heh. :D Thanks for dropping by. :D

  2. I wanna try Gateway Cinema 10, my butt is itching for that La-Z Chair besides it has the lowest jologs encounter probability lolz

  3. @L.A: You’d really like it there. Make sure you go there with someone because the setup there is by pairs: a couple of La-Z-Boys separated by a small table for your popcorn and soda in 4 columns and 5 rows. The elevation of the chairs is nice, by the way. You won’t see the back of the head of the person in front of you even if you are fully reclined. :D

  4. Haha Ok I won’t go alone, got thing the chairs are a couple of La-Z Chairs. I’ll snag all the popcorn and softdrinks I want haha! Thanks!

  5. [quote comment="50396"]L.A said on 19 Aug 2008 at 11:57 PM: I wanna try Gateway Cinema 10, my butt is itching for that La-Z Chair besides it has the lowest jologs encounter probability lolz[/quote]I saw the new Batman movie there. I loved it. Will you should definitely review the Gateway Lay-Z boy theater. It’s the most private movie house I’ve been to. It even has a lounge with couches and magazines. You go inside and you even get your own table. It’s not really for going on dates though since your date will be too far from you.

  6. Personally, I prefer the cinemas in GB3 and Greenhills. Trinoma cinemas also have La-Z Boy seats, but not as expensive as the ones in Gateway. I think Shangri-La also has those, but I haven’t been there yet. It costs 300/person. I like these reviews! Maybe you can add these to your list:- Shangri-La- Podium- Trinoma- Powerplant

  7. @Cucci: I forgot I already tried the cinemas at Shangri-la and the Power Plant. I might do a second part of this story if I get a chance to go to Eastwood, Trinoma, and the Podium. Thanks for the suggestions.

  8. [quote comment="50405"]Will said on 20 Aug 2008 at 01:26 AM: @L.A: Good luck! Make sure you go to the bathroom before the movie starts. :D[/quote]I will haha :D[quote comment="50581"]PhilppinesNewsVote.com said on 20 Aug 2008 at 11:03 AM: [quote comment="50396"]L.A said on 19 Aug 2008 at 11:57 PM: I wanna try Gateway Cinema 10, my butt is itching for that La-Z Chair besides it has the lowest jologs encounter probability lolz[/quote]I saw the new Batman movie there. I loved it. Will you should definitely review the Gateway Lay-Z boy theater. It’s the most private movie house I’ve been to. It even has a lounge with couches and magazines. You go inside and you even get your own table. It’s not really for going on dates though since your date will be too far from you.[/quote]Awwwww….I thought it’s a good cinema for movie dates, well yeah seats are a little apart..too bad.

  9. The Coca-cola and San Miguel IMax theater at the Mall of Asia has the biggest screen in the world. That’s what they claim, at least. Kinda cool but Leg room is small. Even if it has the biggest screen it’s still nothing compared to IMax theaters in the United States.I wanna try Gateway Cinema 10 one of these days… :)

  10. I usually watch movies in Promenade and Theater mall. Virramall is just few walk away so pwedeng isabay ang window gadget shopping hehe.Downside with GH, hard to get a cab. Good side, plenty of restaurants to pick after a movie. another good thing is the reservation seats after 5 PM. no rush to get in the theater plus on week days, it is not as crowded like Gateway.Ang weird nga eh, I’m near gateway but I rather watch in greenhills. hehe.

  11. nothing beats greenbelt cinemas, i don’t feel scared when i get there. i feel safe in that descent place with descent people. i like waltermart cinemas in makati also and gateway in cubao.but the best is greenbelt.i like your “jologs encounter probability!”lol!

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