Of all the cultural hubs in Malaysia, Manila was one of the oldest. Established by the Spanish in the 16th century as an entrepôt or trading port, it had a long history of European settlement, cultural interaction with its neighbors, and it became, in the 19th century, a thriving theatrical city. Towards the end of the 1840s until about 1898, there were at least 26 theaters all over the city. And each theater would be running different types of performances, from operas to dramas, to comedias and zarzuelas. And some of these theaters are the favorites of visiting opera companies. When they arrive, they would rent out the biggest theaters and the whole six month opera season would be running here. So, you could just imagine how huge and how diverse the different kinds of theater that the people in Manila are seeing or subscribing to, in such a sustained period of time. >> So you've already mentioned some of the genres, can you perhaps explain a little a little bit more into detail what these genres are. >> Comedia is a particular kind of Spanish verse drama that was popular in the Philippines. It's not only being performed inside the theater. Whenever there were festivities all over the country, it would move around, so not only mobility comes in, but within the different islands. Remember that the Philippines is an archipelago with different islands, so it would travel around. But at the same time, within Manilla itself. Zarzuela is is slowly becoming popular again in Spain, and it arrived in the Philippines. And zarzuela is a kind of an operetta. So, it's party spoken, partly sung theater and it's one of the most popular genres in the Philippines, but also at the times when there were Italian and French opera companies arriving in Manilla. They would reside in Manila for about six or sometimes nine months, running a full opera season with 20 to 25 operas in repertory. And many of these performances, many of these titles of operas are the ones that have been standardized as repertoire up until today, so you would see Il Rigoletto, Verdi operas, Puccini operas Donizetti running in repertory in Manila. >> All this theatrical activity going on in Manila, there must have been a supply of skilled theatrical and musical laborers, a stable activity. >> When these Italian opera companies arrived in Manila at this period, they arrived at Manila with the city and it's different districts having already their own different orchestras. Now, these orchestras are there to accompany the religious activities, and city activities. But, by the time theater arrived as this early form of entertainment industry, they supplied its labor. So the Italian opera companies would move around in different parts of Asia, but they did not find the same let's say, set of laborers already available, as in Manila. But what they did is they provided the demand, these entertainment companies around Asia, that when the cities decided that they would want their own band, for example, performing the latest tunes in their cities, they look to Manila as a source.