Before the mall on the hill took over cinemas in the city, there were small theatres which thrived with local support, giving income to its employees and delight to patrons. I remember that as a child, my grandmother who take me to watch as Sharon Cuneta movie at Pines theatre on its earliest screening, which was set at 10am or 11am, we would be first in line for the day’s movie armed with baon from home, so we don’t spend on snacks sold at the sinehan which was dubbed as too expensive. My granny would take the ticket to the orchestra, meaning it was down below, which was also cheaper compared to the balcony, which was high on the upper floor.

She would lead me to the front row seats which I thought were too close, but she said so we could see better and so that we won’t have any seatmates. The floor of the cinema was not that clean, in fact I remember it to be always sticky, but it was literally a front row seat to a movie and I was not complaining. So, we would sit through the two-hour movie would end, sometimes, we would stay a few more minutes to start the movie again, as my granny would want to have a full recap of the film or maybe just while away the time inside.

This ritual would go on for years with movies she would like to watch, always on the first screening but sometimes, she would give me a treat and allow me to buy something from the cinema store, all the stud sold there was readily available in our neighborhood sari sari store, but I swear, it states better when bought at the Pines Theatre. Atop the Session Road was Session Theatre, but as a child my earliest memories were not of movies but of trips to the pawnshop atop the theatre, Dehon. The old pawnshop, Dehon, where my granny and I would always go to when cash strapped, with her carrying a valuable possession that she would pawn, in the hope that she would get it back eventually.

It was always sad when we would go to Dehon, it would mean that we would need to part with a
family possession, the walk to town would be silent, with the granny wishing that the appraisal of the item would be high. The walk up to the pawnshop would allow me to peep into the cinema balcony area and I would always marvel at the beauty of the gilded gates as we walk up the stairs
When I got older and my taste in movies veered away from Sharon Cuneta, my group of friends would frequent Session Theatre once in a while, when there was enough for a movie, beside it, as far as I can remember, has always been Greenwich Pizza.

The movies at Session Theatre would be more on the Western side, English movies that were good for dates or group outings. I remember watching the Titanic thrice in that movie house, with three different companions. Today, both these movie houses are no more. Converted into a local pizzeria, Session Theater has ceased its showings of movies and yes, Dehon has likewise shut down, with many of our prized possessions left to the subasta. I still marvel at the gilded staircases as I go to the top floor of the pizzeria, Pizza Volante.

Pines Theatre has been converted into a shopping arcade of sorts, with shops upon shops of
merchandise, but remnants of the old movie house. All the movie houses in Baguio shut down, the one in Centermall, Abano and the ones with double movies at Magsaysay and New Lucban. One has been made into a bar and has become more successful than its days as a movie house had seen. The mall on top of the hill killed the small cinemas, now we are left with its remnants.

Amianan Balita Ngayon