Manila Film Center

Satellite image of the Manila Film Center at the CCP Complex in Pasay City.

Located at the southwestern end of the CCP Complex, the Manila Film Center is arguably the most well-known “haunted” building in Metro Manila. The story goes that then Manila Governor Imelda Marcos had the Film Center constructed for the 1982 Manila International Film Festival. On November 17, 1981, a scaffolding or floor collapsed during the construction and many workers fell into the wreckage. Due to the rush to beat the deadline, cement was poured over the mess, entombing the workers. By some accounts, up to 169 workers were supposedly buried in the Center and the story of the accident was killed as well by the Marcos Government.

Facade shot of the Manila Film Center. Photo by Mike Gonzales. Licensed under the GFDL.

Whether the story is true or not, most Filipinos avoid the Film Center to this day. There are plenty of anecdotal tales about hauntings and weird occurrences happening to visitors of the Film Center. Moreover, in the late 1990s, the Spirit Questors—a group of paranormal investigators—went on widely-publicized trips to the Center to talk to and appease the spirits. They claim having communicated with very angry souls who wished for justice and a proper burial.

In 2005, Howie Severino, a GMA News reporter, did some investigating of his own, and concluded that the entombing of the workers is just an urban legend. Though an accident may have indeed occurred, Howie says that there has been no evidence that workers had been left inside the Film Center and no relatives had come forward to speak of bodies still missing. Imelda herself claims that she has no knowledge of any bodies abandoned in the building.

After the Film Festival, there has been no major event that have taken in the Film Center. Today, the complex is the home of the Amazing Philippine Theater, an extravagant transvestite show that’s been popular with the expatriate and tourist Korean community. If you want, you can see snippets of their shows uploaded in YouTube.

Other buildings already featured here in Vista Pinas that form part of Imelda’s “edifice complex” include the Golden Mosque and the Coconut Palace.

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Posted on
August 28, 2007
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Cultural InstitutionsMetro Manila
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