Images from Ermita: Manila, Philippines

It was Spanish language that guided me to Ermita.



When an Indian tries to learn Spanish in the Philippines. Click here.



When you are living in a country, listening to a language where almost every single word sounded like Spanish, you develop an inclination to learn Espanol. And so I signed up for a Spanish course at Instituto Cervantes, which was bang in the middle of Ermita, a district in downtown Manila. While the Instituto Cervantes campus itself had seduced me to bring my camera to class many times, it was the streets of Ermita which brought out the shutterbug in me.

El dia de libro in Institituto Cervantes

Hanging mannequins in the El Dia de libro (day of books) celebrations at Instituto Cervantes


In Spanish, Ermita means hermitage. During the American rule, this was the key district of Manila, housing the creme-de-la-creme, and hosting the creme-de-la-creme. It still has some of the best landmarks of Manila, like the Rizal park, Manila ocean park, and the National Museum of the Philippines. But to me, the essence of Ermita lies in it’s omnipresent street-life.



See a little bit of Spain in the Philippines. Check out my pictures of Vigan!



Kids in Ermita

Acrobatic kids playing in the streets of Ermita, is not a very rare sight as you would imagine.


You can get to Ermita by train (yellow line), or take a taxi from elsewhere in Manila for about 100 Pesos. Remember to bargain though. After you have spent your good time to see the common landmarks (Rizal park etc, which I mentioned above), you can check out a little bit of Jai-Alai game at the Philippines Jai Alai center.


Jai alai in Manila

Who would have thought that they played jai-alai in Manila?


And once you are done with all such prominent tourist attractions, just stroll around in the streets. A few warnings for good measure:

1) There is a fair share of petty crime in Ermita. Do not act like a stupid tourist, and keep your camera close to you.

2) The traffic can only be described as chaotic. You’ve been warned.

Street photography in Ermita

Street-watching in Ermita

To get around, hop into one of the tricycles that ply the roads. You will be surprised to notice that there is a good number of female tricycle drivers in this area.

The tricycle drivers of Manila

Tricycle drivers of Manila

Tricycle rides cost anything between 20 to 50 pesos. If that is too expensive for you, hop onto one of the colorful jeepneys on the road, which charge a flat 8 pesos per ride, regardless of the distance. Just ensure that you admire the artwork on the jeepneys before you hop on.

Jeepneys of Manila

Jeepney – the king of Philippines roads

Streets of Ermita

Faith walks everywhere in this poor street.


Tired of Manila’s city-life? Check out Magalawa, a hidden beach not far from Manila.


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Unless mentioned otherwise, all pictures are taken by the blog admin. If you would like to use them for any commercial or non-commercial purposes, please contact for approval.



About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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