FROM a non-partisan, non-commercial point of view, I think Cine Oriente has what it takes to compete with the middle-class cinemas found in the more upscale malls here in Cebu City.
Located in downtown Cebu within Colonnade Mall Cebu, Cine Oriente claims to be the “oldest continously operating cinema in the Philippines.”
There came a time in the ‘90s when the cinema was notorious for its shady reputation. The stories were like rock and roll except that they included only the sex and drugs parts.
In 2013 though, the cinema underwent a major renovation to a) preserve its historical status and b) compete commercially with the more modern cinemas in town. It has excelled with both points.
Five years after, I just had to see for myself if the stories about a gem of a cinema downtown were true. Of course, watching “Avengers: Infinity War” the second time for only P165 seemed like the perfect excuse to finally drop by Cine Oriente.
So drop by I did and try to watch the first screening which was 11:40 a.m. This was basically the only hiccup during the whole pleasant experience. Why? The mall was open for about an hour or more already, yet viewers had to wait for the guy in charge of the tickets who arrived late. Well, they did move the screening time a few minutes later to accommodate the customers. Well, that’s P165 for you, right?
But everything else after was a joy to experience. First off, since I came early, I called dibs on the best seats in the house. The screen was smaller compared to the large screen formats in some malls in the city, but imagine the place to look like Richie Rich’s personal home theater.
The place was clean, the seats were comfy, the screen was bright and colors vivid (2D Digital), and the best part of all? The surround sound was loud and stereo was fantastic. I’m not sure if the audio and acoustic were professionally tuned and set—they probably were. It got a little too loud sometimes (you know how Pinoys love their street discos really loud?) But it didn’t get that annoying, thankfully. Generally, we all want to hear the movie, right?
Oh, here’s another thing. Remember how back in the day you got a ticket, watched a film and you got to stay if you wanted to watch the film again? Or if you came in late, you could wait for the next screening to play so you could catch the parts you missed? Well, Cine Oriente allows viewers that. I don’t see the need to watch the same film twice in succession. But it’s nice to have that sort of freedom.
The popcorn is cheap too, P50 for a regular-sized treat. I did not use the comfort rooms. Parking could also be an issue. The audience was okay. Perhaps, it largely depends on what film is showing and what kinds of viewers it draws.
I’m not paid for any of this, but sharing good news like this makes me happy. Go catch a flick at Cine Oriente and let me know if the experience was a good one.