Ermita takes its name from a hermitage (ermita in Spanish) containing a 16th-century image of Nuestra Señora de Guia that once stood on the site of today's Ermita Church.
Under American rule, this district became Manila's equivalent of Capitol Hill, with many important government structures rising around the large greensward of Luneta (now Rizal Park). Some of these government units have since moved out and the buildings turned into exhibition space for the National Museum and its sister institution, the Museum of the Filipino People (which occupy the old legislative building and the old Finance Department building, respectively).
Ermita is served by three railway stations, all on the LRT Line 1. From the southernmost station, moving north towards the river:
- Pedro Gil (on Taft Avenue). Near the Philippine General Hospital.
- United Nations (on Taft Avenue). Near Rizal Park, the Supreme Court, and the National Bureau of Investigation compound.
- Central Terminal (on Arroceros Street). Near Mehan Garden, the Manila Metropolitan Theatre, the Manila City Hall, and the eastern walls of Intramuros.
By water bus
The Pasig River Ferry [dead link] stops at Quezon Bridge (Lawton) station, near - you guessed it - Quezon Bridge, which is not far from Liwasang Bonifacio and the old Metropolitan Theatre. The ferry service has reported to be suspended for an indefinite period.
Taxis from Ninoy Aquino International Airport will cost you a poverty-inducing ₱550 unless you insist on taking a car with driver from any of the rental car companies. Fares on the official yellow metered airport taxis starts at ₱70, but beware: some airport taxi drivers place meter tampering devices (batingting) to double the fare and extort money from unwary travellers. Regular metered taxis are also legitimate and can be had just by walking away from the airport a bit. As with the ride from the domestic airport, barring severe traffic, a trip to Ermita should not cost more than ₱200.
Museums and other points of interest
- 1 Manila Ocean Park, near Roxas Blvd (behind the Quirino Grandstand on the western end of Rizal Park), ☏ , fax: . 10AM to 8PM on weekdays (last entry 7:15PM), 9AM to 8PM on weekends and public holidays (last entry 8:15PM). Opened in 2008, this is Manila's first major oceanarium. Although not quite as large and well-equipped as some of Asia's more famous oceanaria (including those in Hong Kong and Singapore), it's still a popular attraction among locals and could be a very interesting diversion for families with children. The centrepiece is the Living Ocean exhibit with large aquariums and an underwater acrylic walkway. From ₱595 per person.
- 2 Museo Pambata, Roxas Boulevard cor. South Dr (right next to the U.S. Embassy compound), ☏ , , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 8AM to 5PM (Aug-Mar), 9AM to 5PM (Apr-Jul); Su 1-5PM; closed M and holidays. This museum is geared towards keeping children entertained (and informed) through educational hands-on exhibits and special activities. Themed galleries cover a variety of subjects ranging from history to science to art. Don't put a short leash on the kids here: they're expected to touch and play with most of the stuff on show. Admission ₱100 adults/children. Streetchildren, infants (under 2 years), museum workers and teachers (with valid IDs) get in free.
- National Museum of the Filipino People
- National Museum of the Philippines
Parks, gardens, and monuments
- 3 Rizal Park (Luneta), Roxas Blvd. Nearest railway station: United Nations (LRT-1). Manila's green lung, this large urban park stretches from the Quirino Grandstand in the west to Taft Avenue in the east, with the historic walled district of Intramuros bordering it to the north. The park's most famous landmark is the Rizal Monument, a stone obelisk with bronze statuary erected near the site of Philippine national hero José Rizal's execution in 1896. All distances in the Philippines are measured from the large flagpole near the monument, which serves as the country's Kilometre Zero. Other prominent features include a statue of Lapu-Lapu (the native chieftain who repulsed Magellan's expedition in 1521) and a giant relief map of the Philippines (set within a reflecting pool near the Taft Avenue end). Well-known landmarks within the park's boundaries include the Museum of the Filipino People (inside the old Finance Department building), the Department of Tourism building, the Manila Planetarium, and the National Library. Many locals (including taxi drivers) still refer to the park by its old name: Luneta.
- Liwasang Bonifacio
- Mehan Garden. See Asia's first botanical garden, opened on the late 1850s, renamed after John C. Mehan, the park superintendent.
- [dead link] Department of Tourism, T. M. Kalaw (on the opposite side of Rizal Park from the old Finance building). Almost a twin of the former Finance Department headquarters nearby, this Neoclassical building is a prominent feature of the eastern end of Rizal Park. The colossal statue of Lapu-Lapu - a fairly recent addition to the park - stands between the two buildings, and the giant relief map of the Philippines is just a short walk away.
- Embassy of the United States of America
- Luneta Hotel
- 4 Manila Central Post Office Building, Liwasang Bonifacio (near the Manila Metropolitan Theatre building). Never mind the ill-conceived pink and yellow paint job - this grand Neoclassical structure from the 1920s is a fine exemplar of the massive government buildings that were erected in this part of Manila during the American colonial period. It is the headquarters of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost).
- [dead link] Manila City Hall.
- Quirino Grandstand
- Supreme Court.
- Metropolitan Theater (Next to Arroceros Forest Park and Mehan Garden), Padre Burgos. An Art Deco building designed by Filipino architect; Juan M. de Guzman Arellano, first opened in the 1930s and then was severely damaged after the liberation of Manila by America and the Filipino forces in 1945, it was again reconstructed by the Americans however by the 1960s it fell into disuse but again reopened in the 1970s, and then again it fell into decay.
Take a walk up and down Adriatico street. Bars, restaurants and some pretty nice sidewalk cafes.
- 1 Robinsons Place Manila, Pedro Gil cor. Adriatico (behind the Philippine General Hospital compound), ☏ , , , . Daily 10AM to 9PM. An urban shopping complex with the usual amenities: food court, cinemas, department store, supermarket, etc. 7 levels, 330 stores. Located near Pedro Gil Station (LRT-1).
- 2 SM City Manila, Natividad Almeda-Lopez (Concepcion) cor. Arroceros (across the street from the Manila City Hall building). Part of the nationwide SM "Supermall" chain, this shopping centre has all of the standard features of an urban mall (including a food court, cinemas, a department store and a supermarket) as well as scores of shops spread out over 6 floors. Located near Central Terminal (LRT-1).
- Dads Saisaki Kamayan, 523 Merchant Bldg., Padre Faura St., +63 2 8528 1723. Kamayan literally means to eat with your hands in Filipino. Their native buffet has a wide range of Filipino food to offer for just under 10 US$/person. Specialties include the lechon (suckling pig) and grilled seafood. Kamayan also has branches in Makati and Quezon City and is usually located alongside its sister restaurants Dad's (Western food buffet) and Saisaki (Japanese food buffet).
There are bars and nightclubs literally left and right. Go bar hopping. If you're into strip clubs, they got those too.
L.A. Cafe - The district's biggest 'meat market'. It's open 24 hours per day. Two floors, live bands/music, TV screens. Good food, drinks and music.
- 1 Sunny Bay Suites, 1438 Roxas Blvd (across from South Harbor seafront), ☏ . This hotel offers rooms equipped with air conditioning, desk, television, shower, kitchenette, satellite/cable TV and dining area. Has a Japanese restaurant that serves breakfast and a massage service. Rates start at ₱1720.
- 2 Cherry Blossoms Hotel, 550 Jorge Bocobo Extension, ☏ . All rooms are good for two persons with free breakfast. Best rates on official website start at ₱1600.
- 3 Casa Bocobo Hotel, Jorge Bocobo St. cor. T.M. Kalaw Ave., Ermita, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Casa Bocobo Hotel is a no-frills budget hotel located in the neighborhood of the world-renowned Rizal Park. The two-storey, 47-room hotel provides air-conditioned rooms, orthopedic beds, hot & cold shower, cable service via an LCD TV and direct distance dial phones. Their coffee shop, Cafe Bocobo, specializes in Filipino and Asian cuisine. Simple dishes yet superbly crafted and reasonably priced. Rates start at ₱2263 net single/double with breakfast.
- 4 Santos Pension House, 1540 A Mabini Street, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Fan room with outside bathroom. Fan and A/C double rooms with own bathroom. ₱560/₱690/₱990.
- 5 Manila Lotus Hotel, 1227 A. Mabini corner Padre Faura Streets, ☏ . A/C rooms equipped with cable TV, mini bar, daily newspaper and hair dryer. Some of its facilities and services are restaurant, bar, function room and massage service. ₱1926.
- 6 City Garden Suites Manila, 1158 A. Mabini St, ☏ , fax: . A/C rooms equipped with cable TV, and refrigerator with mini-bar items. Some of its facilities and services are Internet access, business center, lounge and cafe shop. ₱1781.
- 7 Midland Plaza Manila Hotel, M. Adriatico St, ☏ , fax: . Occupying two floors of the Midland Plaza Building, you can look down on Manila life from your room and enjoy your time here with a kitchenette, wifi, cable TV, and balcony. Best rates on official website start at US$40.
- 8 Pearl Manila, General Luna St. cor. Taft Ave. & United Nations Ave, ☏ , fax: . Here you can take in the sights and sounds of Manila from the outdoor pool, and there's also a restaurant for trying out some Filipino ulam. ₱2118.
- 9 Best Western Hotel La Corona Manila, 1166 M H Del Plar corner Arquiza St, ☏ . A 54-room hotel awarded 2006 Best Guest Services Awardee of Best Western International, might feel a little compact but offers free breakfast and wifi. Best rates on official website start at ₱2600.
Spa and massage
- Mont Albo Massage Hut United Nations Avenue, GF Mayfair Tower United Nations Avenue st. Corner Mabini St, ☏ . Unlike most other spas in Manila, the theme of Mont Albo Massage Hut is old Filipino paying tribute to the humble local nipa hut. Facilities would include waiting lounge, massage/body scrub cubicles, massage chairs, shower and suob (steam) chamber. Massage for ₱350.
- 10 Hotel H2O, part of Manila Ocean Park (between Rizal Park and South Harbor seafront), ☏ . Offers rooms and suites that boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, aquarium walls, or city/bay views. All rooms are fully equipped with private toilet and shower, LCD TV with cable and pay-per-view movies, Internet access, and mini-bar. Some of its amenities include Makansutra Asian Food Village, Club H2O Lounge, fitness centre and spa, and a swimming pool. Best rates on official website start at ₱4758.
The international telephone country code for the Philippines is 63. The area code for Metro Manila (including Ermita) is 2.
Within sight of Rizal Park is Ermita's famous next-door neighbour, the historic walled city of Intramuros.