Rizal Park and the Ermita skyline
Ermita is a district in downtown Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
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 subsequently 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-1 (Yellow) Line. 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  stops at Quezon Bridge (Lawton) station, near - you guessed it - Quezon Bridge, which is itself not far from Liwasang Bonifacio and the old Metropolitan Theatre.
Taxis from Manila International Airport will cost you a poverty-inducing 550PHP if you insist on taking a Car with driver from any of the rental car companies. The yellow taxis are official. metred airport taxis, the meter starts at 70 Peso. 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 200PHP
Museums and other points of interest
- Manila Ocean Park, near Roxas Boulevard (behind the Quirino Grandstand on the western end of Rizal Park), ☎ +632-5677777 (fax: +632-5672309), . 10AM to 8PM on weekdays (last entry 7:15PM), 9AM to 9PM 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. Bear in mind that the complex may still be in its "soft opening" phase during your visit; completion works are under way and some parts are not scheduled to open until 2009. Admission 400 pesos adults, 350 pesos children (4.5 feet and below). Note: New opening hours will take effect on 16 June 2009 - 10AM to 7PM on weekdays (last entry 6:15PM), 9AM to 8PM on weekends and public holidays (last entry 7:15PM)
- Museo Pambata, Roxas Boulevard cor. South Drive (right next to the U.S. Embassy compound), ☎ +632-5231797 to 98 / +632-5360595 ([email protected], fax: +632-5221246), . Tue-Sat 8 AM to 5 PM (Aug-Mar), 9 AM to 5 PM (Apr-Jul) / Sun 1-5 PM / closed Mon 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 pesos 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
The Rizal Monument in Rizal Park (Luneta)
- Rizal Park (Luneta), Roxas Boulevard, . Nearest railway station: United Nations (LRT-1 / Yellow Line). 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 situated 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. When asking for directions or giving instructions to a taxi driver, it's worth keeping in mind that many locals still refer to the park by its old name: Luneta.
- Mehan Garden. See Asia's first botanical garden, opened on the late 1850s, renamed after John C. Mehan, the park superintendent.
The Department of Tourism building (Rizal Park, Manila)
- 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
Manila Central Post Office Building
- 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 currently serves as the headquarters of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost).
- 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, unfortunately again it fell into decay.
Take a walk up and down Adriatico street. Bars, restaurants and some pretty nice sidewalk cafes.
- Robinsons Place Manila, Pedro Gil cor. Adriatico (behind the Philippine General Hospital compound), ☎ +632-3020109 / +632-3020119 / +632-5264914 / +632-5258452, . Open daily 10 AM to 9 PM. 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 / Yellow Line).
- 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 / Yellow Line).
- Kamayan, 523 Merchant Bldg., Padre Faura St., +632-528-1723 to 24. 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).
- Queen Sheeba, 1323 Del Pilar St. An Ethiopian restaurant in the heart of Manila. Also serves middle eastern food. about 250pesos per main dish.
There are bars and nightclubs literally left and right. Go bar hopping. If you're into strip clubs, they got those too.
Manila Bay 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.
- Cafe 28, 1665 Mabini Street (2 doors south of Citystate Tower Hotel), . 4pm to 4am. Mix with others from all over the world in a comfortable environment. Cheap beers and nice food. Pool table and great music. I love the place.
- Gran Prix Hotel & Suites Manila, Tesoro Building, 1325 Mabini Street, ☎ +632 3533329, . It offers air-conditioned rooms all equipped with a cable TV, telephone, keycard lock system, and a private toilet and bath. Some of its facilities include The Namayan Restaurant and Bar, conference room, parking, room service, and dry cleaning and laundry service. Rate starts at PHP 1,999.00.
- Chill-Out Guest House, 4th Floor, Lucky 888 Building, 1288 Marcelo H. Del Pilar Street, ☎ +63 (2) 450 8023, . New, clean guest house with a helpful staff, who are ready to sit down with you and advise you if you need any info about your trip. Great place to meet other travelers. They have a big common room (with open kitchen) where they organize small parties with all the guests. Free WiFi. Best rates on official website start at PHP 780.00.
- Transient Inn, 556 Quirino Ave, Tambo, Parañaque City, ☎ "+63. Quaint little hotel just 10 minutes from the airport run by a young Japanese owner, Kento. Prime location close to the airport and Mall of Asia, and only 10-15 minutes from Ermita. Kento has been living in Manila for a few years and can advise on where to go locally within the city. Staff are very attentive. Free WiFi. PHP 1200.
- Cherry Blossoms Hotel, 550 Jorge Bocobo Extension, ☎ (632) 5247631 to 36, . All rooms are good for two persons with free breakfast. Best rates on official website start at PHP1,600.
- Casa Bocobo Hotel, Jorge Bocobo St. cor. T.M. Kalaw Ave., Ermita, Manila, ☎ (63 2) 5263783, . checkin: 2 PM; checkout: 12 NN. 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 PhP 1,900.00 net single/double with breakfast.
- Hotel Indah Manila 350 A J Villegas St. Tel: +63 2 5361188, 5362288.  Rates start at ₱2000 for this modest 76-room hotel. Facilities include Café Indah and conference and function rooms. Airport and city transfers, tour assistance, and laundry service are available.
- Mabini Pension, 1337 A. Mabini St., ☎ +632-523-3930 (fax: +632-524-5404), . Rates start around 680PHP for single with fan and shared bath. Friendly, helpful staff compensate for the fairly run-down location.
- Manila Bay Hostel, Unit 401, Bel Air Apartments Building (with 24-hours Chowking Chinese fastfood resto on 1st floor), Roxas Boulevard near corner of T. M. Kalaw Ave, ☎ "+63. This hostel and tourist guesthouse is nearest historic Rizal Park, exactly across Museo Pambata (Children's Museum), across the street from Manila Bay and next door to Starbucks Coffee shop & 24-hours Yellow Cab Taxi. The owners of Manila Bay Hostel have entered into a management agreement with Green Mango Inn to improve services to international guests, so all reservations or inquiries via internet can be emailed to [email protected]
- Swagman Hotel Manila, 411 A. Flores St., 1000, ☎ 63 2 523-8541, . The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms, all equipped with cable television, mini-bars, and a private toilet and bath. Some of its facilities are an Outback Cafe, business center, currency exchange, and free airport transfer. Rates on official website start at PHP 2,250.00.
- Lotus Garden Hotel, 1227 A. Mabini corner Padre Faura Streets, ☎ (632) 522-1515, . 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. From USD 46.00.
- City Garden Suites Manila, 1158 A. Mabini St., ☎ +632-536-1451 (fax: +632-524-4844), . 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. From US$45.54.
- Midland Plaza Manila Hotel, M. Adriatico St., ☎ +632-302-1858 (fax: +632-521-8522), . The Midland Plaza is literally in the middle of the land. Best rates on official website start at US$40.
- Pearl Manila, General Luna St. cor. Taft Ave. & United Nations Ave., ☎ +632-400-0088 (fax: +632-400-0077), . Best rates on official website start at US$42.
- Best Western Hotel La Corona Manila, 1166 M H Del Plar corner Arquiza St., ☎ (632) 524-2631 to 35, . Best Western Hotel La Corona Manila is a 54-room hotel. Best Western Hotel La Corona Manila was 2006 Best Guest Services Awardee of Best Western International. Best rates on official website start at Php 2,600.
- Hotel H2O, Luneta, ☎ +63 2 238 6100, . 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 PHP 4,758.
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.