A well-kept secret of the first shopping mall in the Philippines
To most Filipinos, Harrison Plaza is known as the first shopping mall of the Philippines and it is a well known fact that the shopping mall houses Rustans’ Shopwise and the SM Department Store and a bunch of other shops and restaurants.
While the mall is no longer in its golden years and while the mall has not modernized (it still maintains the architecture it has from the 1980s), it is still operational and remains to be a popular spot among residents of the Malate area in Manila.
A little known fact about the mall that even most websites, newspapers and magazines that have dug into the Harrison Plaza have never mentioned is the fact that the mall once had a cinema – in fact, the only mention of the mall’s former cinema was on an online forum back in 2002, and even that did not provide a detailed account of how the cinema was like when it was still operational.
These days of course, Harrison Plaza’s cinema serves as some sort of a multi-purpose hall and when we went there today, it played host to an auction by AppTrade, a leading auction house in the Philippines.
The Harrison Plaza Cinema is located right across the second floor entrance of SM Harrison. You will know where the entrance is when you see a small door on the wall closest to the railings across the SM Harrison second floor entrance. Since the small door is not leveled with the ground, a small makeshift staircase is placed to make it easier for people to enter.
Like the rest of the mall, even its cinema seems to be stuck back in time. The architecture of the cinema looks like how a common cinema in the 1980s might look like, sans the seats, the screen and the projector because they have been removed ever since the cinema stopped being operational.
The platforms where the seats of the cinema formerly stood were now used to display the items being auctioned by AppTrade when we visited the place. As you can see, most of the items auctioned by AppTrade for the weekend are furniture, kitchen appliances, kitchenwares and home decorations.
Apart from the home decor, kitchenwares, kitchen appliances and furniture that we found while looking around the auction, we also found this interesting item – a 35 mm camera.
The last part of this tour we did around the Harrison Plaza cinema was to this passageway at the back which we assume, used to be the techbooth. When we went into the passageway, there were even more kitchen appliances displayed but besides that, the place was nothing really special and definitely, there was no telltale sign that the techbooth was there. Perhaps it’s in a part of the cinema that is closed off to the public as of this time.
If you want to drop by the Harrison Plaza cinema (and to check out AppTech’s auction as well), you can still do so until tomorrow, August 21 which will be AppTech’s last day of their auction. After that, it will be unknown if the cinema still remains open for the public to explore. The Harrison Plaza cinema’s operating hours is the same as the entire mall’s, by the way – that’s from 10 in the morning down to 9 in the evening.
The Harrison Plaza cinema is located at the second floor of Harrison Plaza (across the second floor entrance of SM Harrison). Harrison Plaza itself is located at Harrison Avenue corner Pablo Ocampo St. in Malate, Manila.