It has been a tradition every Christmas day in Metro Manila to watch the different genre of Filipino Movies. I, including the rest of the family, make plans on which movie we’re going to watch first and how many movies we’ll be able to watch. Just imagine how our eyes look like after watching three to four movies in a row.
Last year, since we were still in Pasay area, we even watched the Parade of Stars that consistently happening the day before Christmas in the elongated road of Roxas Boulevard. Well, actually, I hate it when my sisters will drag me along to vainly wait for the semi-artificial creatures of entertainment to pass by. I don’t get any incentives on those — they totally look the same on what I see on TV.
On Christmas Day of 2009, we carefully schemed our timetable on how can we maximize the whole day of enjoying our yearly tradition. We arrived in Glorietta 4 as early as 9 a.m. and queued at the ticketing booth with persistent hope that Ayala Cinema Malls will accept credit card as payment. Gosh, I’m running out of cash, which is usual happening during my vacation holiday. So, yes, CREDIT CARD is not acceptable and I don’t have a choice but to puke out the last cents I have on my purse. We booked three movies; from the first airing show time at 11 a.m. up to last full show at 11 p.m.
This year, my MMFF movie marathon is a big disappointment because of one-hell-of-stupid reason: WE WENT TO SM CINEMAS!
We rarely go to SM Cinemas (except in IMAX); 1) because it’s too crowded, 2) it’s too cheap that we thought our safety will be compromised (I’m not thinking about that when I was still studying and to cut class and watch a movie will only cost me about 50-pesos), 3) I hate their popcorn, I will always go for Taters , 4) they don’t have reserved seats. It’s always a “free seating”, so if you find the movie pleasing and you have nothing to do for the rest of the day, you just simply stay on the same seat and watch the movie. And, you even can go out and come in again whenever you like — but don’t forget the ANGEL marked by the guard on your hand.
The decision to finally go to SM Cinemas was strongly encouraged by “thought convenience”. I’m used to making online booking every time I watch a movie here in Singapore. This is really handy because I don’t need to rush to get a ticket, so that I will not get the seat like two steps away from the screen — all I can see was the neck and breast of the main character in the movie. So, I was surprised that SM Cinemas finally upgraded their website and I can now make online booking – with my chosen movie, time and theater. And, another good thing is, I don’t have to get the ticket at the counter but they have installed ticketing machine that will scan the reference number and presto – you have your ticket instantly. That moment, I thought it was really cool.
Okay, I admit it, we’re quite late to start the marathon thing – we’ll be able to watch our first movie at 4 p.m. We were two hours early to proceed to the theater and buy our snack. But, I was totally taken aback when I saw a very long, crowded, piercing line up of people in front of Cinema 10 in SM Cinema North Edsa. I get it; it’s a free seating! Those who already went in cannot come out because people who arrived late and who paid for the next time slot were blocking them. But the most irritating part, the guard will continuously permitting other people to come in — without clearing the whole theater who obviously already watch the whole stream of movie. Everyone was complaining, yelling and children were bursting tantrums. I was worried that there’ll be a stampede that will turn this happy Christmas to monstrous consequence.
It was so terrible experience that we decided to refund our tickets for the next movie – and solemnly swear not to insinuate to watch at SM Cinemas, unless they will change this tactic of persuading people to choose their theater by offering a 50-pesos lower for a prize of frustration and dissatisfaction.