Every city has its sleazy underbelly, but when the city in question is Manila –already a pretty damned sleazy place – then the sleazy underbelly has to be pretty special, and for Manila, that place is Ermita.
What to say about this gem of a place? It is the kind of town where five-star hotels have homeless people camping outside them, people sell stolen phones, and a gentleman need never go lonely. Oh and it’s near the airport, and has bars, so we use this as our Manila base.
How to get to Ermita
If you like traffic then Manila is heaven! If, like a real human, you hate traffic then mostly just avoid Manila. Ermita, though, is easily connected to the airport, as well as offering shuttle service from genuine sin city of Angeles City to the legendary Swagman Hotel.
Accommodation in Ermita
The hotels of Ermita tend to fall into the 3/4-star category. The best value, in our humble opinion, is the Best Western La Coruna, Green Lotus Hotel, and the aforementioned Swagman. Expect about $50 and a decent breakfast. The hotels are very guest friendly…
What to see in Ermita
If you want to talk tourist stuff, then they have the Ermita Shrine and Rizal Park, but Ermita exists for its bars and nightlife. The famous Hobbit House used to be here, but it’s closed now, meaning lots of jobless hobbits (also known as midgets or dwarfs). They are not to be confused with elves, who are mythical creatures. If you are a fan of mythical creatures it is possible to find a goblin here (see what I did there).
What to eat in Ermita?
A very full dining scene exists in Ermita, with there being lots of street eats, Arab food, the German Club, and formerly the Hobbit House. Most of the regular bars here have at least a few dishes on the menu. The Swagman Hotel does some decent steak and Aussie-inspired food.
Nightlife of Ermita
Ermita is all about the nightlife, nightlife that can be split into 3 categories: girly bars, local bars, and expat bars. We’ve listed some of our favourite places to drink in Ermita.
- LA Café – LA Café is an institution, and famous for many reasons. Open 24/7 and with a clientele that includes single men and freelancers.
- The Southern Cross – Another institution with quite the Australian older gentleman feel to it.
- Cowboy Grill Ermita – Another institution, and rare to see other foreigners here. No freelancers; just live music, a disco, and locals getting loaded on tequila.The best bar in Ermita.
Is it worth visiting Ermita?
Ermita is beautiful in its depravity, it’s near the airport, and it’s a great staging post for getting out of Manila. It’s well worth a visit.
Getting out of Ermita
As lovely as Manila is, getting out is one of the best things you can do. If you’re flyingthen it’s under $10 to take a GrabTaxi to the airport – do not use Mania taxis,as they will rip you off. Alternatively get the bus from The Swagman Hotel at 11.30am, 3.30pm, or 8:30pm. There’s no longer a shuttle service from the Southern Cross Hotel.