More than history: Remembering movies shot inside the Manila Central Post Office

May 25, 2023 - 1:33 PM
Smoke rises from the burning Manila Central Post Office after a massive fire, in Manila, Philippines, May 22, 2023. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

Movies shot at the Manila Central Post Office were remembered following the massive fire that hit it last Sunday, May 21.

Fire authorities got it under control after eight hours. Fire out, however, was only declared after more than 30 hours of the blaze.

By this time, photos and videos in reports showed the Manila Central Post Office, considered an Important Cultural Property, still standing but the ceiling had already collapsed.

Filipinos also took to social media to reminisce their fond memories of the historical landmark amid their shock and dismay over the tragic incident.

Cinema ’76 Film Society or Cinema ’76, a micro-cinema in Quezon City, posted about the acclaimed film of Dan Villegas “Hintayan ng Langit” in a tribute to the Post Office.

The purgatory or “soul station” setting of the romantic, slice-of-life drama was shot inside the 97-year-old building.

“In retrospect sa nakalulungkot na balita. Bukod sa pagpapadala ng mga liham, ang Manila Post Office ay minsan na rin naging parte ng mga pelikulang maari nating balik-balikan gaya ng Hintayan ng Langit (2018).

“Hintayan ng Langit” follows the soul of Lisang (Gina Pareño) who has overstayed at purgatory and met her newly deceased ex-boyfriend Manolo (Eddie Garcia) before she was supposed to cross over.

It was released in theaters in 2018. It was nominated and has won several prestigious awards.

Actress-singer Regine Velasquez was also saddened by the tragic fate of the Manila Central Post Office.

In an Instagram post, she reminisced about her role as Katherine in the movie “Ikaw Lamang Hanggang Ngayon” in 2002.

Katherine was a postal worker in Manila; thus, several memorable scenes were shot inside the Philippine Post Office headquarters.

Regine starred in this film alongside Richard Gomez, who was her love interest in the romantic drama helmed by Yam Laranas.

“Ano na kaya mangyayari kay Katherine at sa iba pang naging bahagi ng Manila Central Post Office?  Naging bahagi ng buhay ko ang Post Office napasok ko at nakakilala rin ng mga kaibigan duon,” she said.

“The Manila Central Post Office was a historical landmark it’s so sad that this happened,” she added.

Regine also accompanied her post with a still image of a scene in “Ikaw Lamang Hanggang Ngayon” that showed Katherine in front of the Post Office edifice.

In the comments section, her husband Ogie Alcasid also recalled filming a music video inside the place.

“Nag-shooting din ako dyan para sa video natin,” Ogie said.

Filipinos also previously worried about their national IDs, packages and other important documents that were engulfed in flames.

READ: Manila Post Office building fire sparks worries over parcels, national IDs

Heritage advocates and other concerned Filipinos also lamented the destruction of another heritage site and cultural treasure in Manila.

READ: ‘Built heritage emergency’: Advocates lament fire at Manila Central Post Office

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) initially estimated the fire damage to reach P300 million.

Reports also said that the fire started in the basement of the building.

Mark Laurente, chief of staff of the postmaster general, said that the fire started in the basement where paper materials and wood are stored.

As of writing, however, the cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.