My movie theater experiences here in Cebu

The movie watching culture here in Cebu is very different from to the one in Europe. While in Europe it’s often practised as an evening “going out” event, here in Cebu it’s more common to watch movies at daytime—usually to escape the noontime heat.

Popcorn: The staple at the movie theaters

I’ve always loved going to the movies. Here in Bogo, we don’t have a movie theater, so almost every time we visit Cebu, we try to escape into the movie world for a few hours.

Here, movie theaters are mostly inside the big malls. You can buy tickets at the ticket counters or online too. All movies are shown in their original language.

Here are my personal pros and cons of the Philippine movie theater experience:


The Price. The price for a 2D-movie ticket is around ₱180 (around 3€). The price is always the same, it does’t matter if it’s a weekday, weekend or evening. Most of the times, these tickets are free seating. For IMAX, the price is around ₱420 (around 7€)

The Repeat Viewings. Once the movie ended, you can just stay inside the movie theater and watch the same movie all over again (assuming it’s not the last showing of the day). You get a stamp on your arm when you leave the movie theater in the middle of the movie. This way you can get in and out as often as you want.

The stamp you get when you want to get out during the movie. This way you can get in and out as often as you want.

The Start. Unusual in that it deviates from the concept of the Filipino time. Movies actually start at exactly the time it is supposed to start, without suffering through 30 minutes of commercials and trailers. If you like to attend the singing of the Philippine national anthem—which is sang by the movie audience before every first showing of the day—you may go inside the cinema 30 minutes earlier.

The Atmosphere. People are not ashamed to laugh out loud in funny scenes, screaming from fear in scary scenes or breathing out a loud “Phew” from relief. This might be disturbing for some people, me personally, I find it adds a special entertainment bonus to the movie experience.

The Food. You can buy food (like ice-cream, hot dog, burgers, etc.) at nearby fast food restaurants and bring them inside the movie theater. This is, in my opinion, definitely a good thing. You don’t need to buy the overpriced snacks at the cinema kiosks. And let’s face it, watching a movie without snacks (finger food) just isn’t fun.


The Temperature. It is freezing cold inside the movie theaters. Even the locals feel the same way. Bring extra long sleeves or your sarong!

The Background Talkings. While I added the atmosphere to the PRO side, unfurtunately, there is also a negative side about it. There are always some people in the background that don’t show respect for the other moviegoers. They talk or don’t switch their phones to silent mode. When will these kinds of people ever realize that the rest of the moviegoers are paying customers too.