that isn’t at home is in San Juan. A 10-minute walk from Shaw Boulevard, Cinema ’76 is not as inaccessible as it might seem. The challenge, at least on Saturdays, is securing a ticket, as the cinema is small – maximum capacity is 60, but they sometimes accept around 70.
There’s just one room, so screenings are limited. You can make a reservation online, but you still need to arrive 30 minutes early to be able to claim your seat. There are around seven parking slots. We arrived at 2 p.m. and were able to reserve two of the last three available tickets for the 4:30 p.m. screening of Sakaling Hindi Makarating. We walked to Shaw to get some cash, then went back to pay for the tickets at 3. The waiting area is pleasant, but not pleasant enough to stay for an hour and a half. We found a nearby restaurant, and when we returned to the cinema at 4, there was a very long line of people trying to get in, most of them unsuccessful.
The theater seats are made from wooden pallets and cushions. There are pillows, too, although I’m not so sure about their cleanliness. These are popular seats, so again, you have to be early, or you’ll probably end up sitting on chairs along the aisle, which are provided for latecomers like ourselves (despite getting our tickets at 3 and going back to the cinema at 4, we ended up being among the last to enter the room).
If you plan to snack while watching, you’ll have to get a spot at the back. You’ll also need to bring your own snacks, or rely on the possibility of a fishball vendor being around.
It seems the surest way to get good seats is to stay in the waiting area so you’re first in line, which is what some people did. There isn’t much to do, other than browse the merchandise and use the bathroom, which is well-stocked with rolls of tissue and hand soap, but that can only be so entertaining. If you plan to wait, bring a book or something to keep you occupied. You could also walk around the neighborhood and count the plants growing in the sidewalk cracks.
So yes. Cinema 76: pretty comfy, the screen is small, it’s cheaper than the mall theaters (P150), but you have to be there early. Sounds like a lot to think about just to watch something. If you’re wondering why you should go at all, it’s because Cinema ’76 screens films that you won’t easily find in mall theaters. If you miss Mogwai, this could be the next best thing.
160 Luna Mencias Street, Brgy. Addition Hills, San Juan