MANILA — Angeline Quinto remembers clearly setting foot for the first time inside the restored Manila Metropolitan Theater (Met), the venue of her upcoming concert series celebrating her first decade in showbiz.
That was in June, when she was tapped to perform the capital’s theme song for its 450th founding anniversary, alongside Bugoy Drilon.
On stage, Quinto was an image of a seasoned singer, with a spotless rendition and clad in glamorous attire to match the patriotic occasion.
Memorable that number may be, more special for Quinto was realizing a dream she first aspired for as a child, when the Met was fenced and in decay.
“Sobra akong naging emotional, kasi naaalala ko ‘yung Mama ko,” she recalled to ABS-CBN News.
Quinto grew up in Sampaloc, Manila with her late mother, Sylvia, whom she lovingly calls Mama Bob.
“Everytime na dadaan kami sa Quiapo, sa may Pasig River, madadaanan mo talaga ‘yung Metropolitan. Hindi ko alam na Metropolitan ‘yung pangalan niyan. Lagi kong tinatanong kay Mama Bob, ‘Ma, ano ba ‘yun? ‘Yung building na palaging madilim?’ Kasi ‘pag gabi, nakikita ko ‘yun, puro yero, maraming yerong nakaharang,” Quinto recounted.
Mama Bob was an avid fan of showbiz, and so was well aware of what the Met once was before it was shuttered in 1996 — a popular venue for concerts, and beyond that, a cultural and historical icon.
“Sabi ng Mama ko, sobrang sikat daw ‘yung lugar na ‘yun noon. Diyan nag-ko-concert sina Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos. ‘Parang teatro? Parang Music Museum?’ ‘Oo, ganoon kasikat ‘yan, at saka maganda ‘yung lugar na ‘yan dati, pinupuntahan ng maraming tao,’” Quinto shared.
A budding singer herself, who would become a bona fide star years later, Quinto quietly wished at the time that she could perform at the venue her Mama Bob remembered so fondly.
In January 2021, the newly restored Met was unveiled to wide excitement, followed by an announcement that it is due to reopen within the year.
“Noong nakita ko siya, sabi ko, ‘Oh my God, bukas na siya.’ Kaya lang, noong time na ‘yun, wala na si Mama. Noong nakita ko ‘yun, ewan ko ba, may something na naramdaman ako,” Quinto said.
Mama Bob passed away only two months earlier, in November 2020.
Quinto’s grief admittedly weighed heavily still in June, when she entered the Met for the first time, but regrettably without her mother.
“Pagpunta ko sa parking, naalala ko lahat — ‘yung nag-dyi-jeep kami ng Mama Bob, dumadaan kami sa labas nu’n,” she said, recalling she was emotional for most of that day.
Describing the Met of her childhood, Quinto went on: “Ngayon, ang ganda-ganda na. Ang galing talaga. Nakakanta pa ako. Iba ‘yung feeling.
“Ganoon pala talaga, ‘pag merong espesyal na nangyari, o istorya, na pinaggalingan ‘yung nangyayari sa buhay mo, mas nagiging espesyal pala talaga siya.”
Quinto’s anniversary concert, dubbed “10Q,” consists of 10 shows at the Met, each with a special guest performer, to be livestreamed on 10 dates from October to February on KTX.ph.
Aside from marking the milestone, “10Q,” Quinto said, is also her ode to Mama Bob, whom she believes will still “witness” her latest dream-come-true at no less at the Met.
“Lumalaban ako patuloy, kasi marami pa akong pangarap na gustong matupad. At lahat ng pangarap na ‘yun — kahit wala na ang Mama Bob — gusto ko pa rin matupad, para sa kaniya pa rin,” she said.