It may have been in the name of safety, but the long lockdown and ensuing quarantine have certainly made us miss the more carefree days before the pandemic. Thankfully, recreational establishments are beginning to open up again, albeit with some additional safety measures.
Going to the conventional cinema may not be a wise move, but SM Cinema has a safer alternative: the drive-in movie.
Opened in SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds and SM Pampanga Amphitheater, the drive-in movies offer a safe way to enjoy the cinema again with a new twist: watching from the comfort of your own car. To experience this, Ford Philippines generously lent us a new Ford Territory SUV to experience it.
Long offered in countries like the US, drive-in movies are still a relatively new concept to Filipinos. Nonetheless, their arrival is timely, particularly at a time when gathering in large crowds can be potentially dangerous. At the drive-in, movie goers remain in their cars, which can make the experience as luxurious as the car you choose to take.
Even if you opt to bring a van, the maximum number allowed per vehicle is five. Sorry, no pets allowed. For those lucky few with a convertible, you can only watch with the roof up. No motorcycles allowed either.
Each passenger will have to be scanned for temperature and required to fill up a contact-tracing sheet. Face masks and face shields are required.
We recommend you arrive early to the screening as guests will no longer be allowed to enter once the movie starts. Cars are parked according to the order of their arrival: early guests front and center, while later guests are towards the back and sides.
The audio is transmitted via FM frequency so you’ll need a working radio to enjoy the movie. The use of air conditioning is allowed, but only for 10-minute durations to prevent the carpark from choking in noxious fumes.
No need to worry about snacks as the ticket price includes a sandwich, popcorn and drinks handed to you as you drive-in. Portalets are positioned on either side to answer any calls of nature.
Each ticket costs P400 per person inclusive of snacks. To maintain contactless transactions, all tickets should be purchased through SM Cinema’s website.
Your own Territory
The Ford Territory was an apt vehicle to take with its roomy interior and steeply reclining seats. Unique features like LED mood lighting allowed us to give the cabin a soft orange glow (or any color you choose). For the short durations we could turn on the air conditioning, the car’s built-in seat vents helped cool our backs more quickly.
The large number of cupholders meant more than enough space for our drinks and snacks. The sound system certainly gave the movie’s FM broadcast some depth thanks to customizable settings.
Best of all, its large center LCD screen can be turned off while still functioning, eliminating the annoying glare for a better viewing experience. Our movie, Train 2 Busan: Peninsula, took care of the thrills.
Overall, the movie experience was enjoyable, thanks to the comfortable car and safe experience. It certainly not as immersive as a conventional cinema, but is a welcome alternative given the current situation. It’s well worth experiencing at least once and makes for a great activity with the family.