Cinema in the Philippines started in 1895 right after Manila had its first electric plant installed thus providing an energy source for film projection. Señor Pertierra presented a series of stills and chronophotographs entitled Espetaculo Cientifico de Pertierra at his salon on January 8, 1897. Real cinematograph was introduced by Leibman and Peritz on September 1897. Ticket prices were expensive at two pesos for first class seating and one peso for second class seating. Viewing during this time were restricted mostly to Spaniards and some wealthy Filipinos. (Sotto 28)
The culture of film viewing and film making did not prosper in the Philippines until the early 1900s, during the American colonial regime. Albert Yearsley converted the Orpheum, a vaudeville house into the Empire, a movie theater. Other movie theaters followed suit. Film viewing became available to more Filipinos rather than just a very select upper class. Film making on the other hand were mostly done by foreigners, particularly the Americans. Despite being part of the colonial power, the themes of the films made were mostly nationalistic and patriotic such as the life and works of Jose Rizal, the life of the three martyrs Gomez, Burgos and Zamora and the sarswela Walang Sugat.