TRAVEL COLLAB | Four Historical Places You Need to Visit in Ermita

Friday, September 02, 2022

Ermita Manila

Once known as the home of Manila’s high society, Ermita’s streets were lined with lavish mansions. Unfortunately, this famous district was heavily bombed during the Second World War, which turned the posh neighborhood to rubble. After the war, Ermita bounced back with major commercialization that transformed the upscale suburb into a flourishing commercial district with plenty of banks, malls, and hotels. As a tourist, you can take your pick of any hotel in Ermita Manila folks speak highly of. The area has various accommodations from traveler’s inns with essential amenities to the more upscale five-star hotels.

Even with the sprawling modern commercial establishments, Ermita retains its link to the past through the various historical places that still stand today. So if you want to travel back in time or want to learn more about Manila’s colorful history, make sure to visit these historical places in Ermita.



RIZAL PARK


Rizal Park Ermita Manila

You can start your historic tour of Ermita with the famed Rizal Park. Located along Roxas Boulevard, Rizal Park is one of the largest urban parks in the Philippines. Formerly known as Luneta, the park was renamed to honor the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

The park houses the monument of  Rizal, which was built in 1913 and is made of bronze and granite. It’s also the park’s centerpiece and one of the most popular sculptural landmarks in the country. The monument doesn’t just feature the statue of the hero, it also serves as his final resting place. As a significant piece of history and a symbol of the country’s national pride, the monument is a must-visit for all Filipinos.



THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS


National Museum Of Fine Arts Ermita Manila

Within the vicinity of Rizal Park, you’ll find the National Museum of Fine Arts. The grand building once served as the old Legislative Building when it was inaugurated in 1926. It formerly housed the Senate, House of Representatives, and National Library. In 1934, the Constitutional Convention was held in this building.

Today, the imposing structure houses extraordinary works of 19th-century Filipino masters, national artists, leading modern painters, and sculptors in its 29 galleries. In the main gallery, you can view the beautiful and impressive iconic painting of Juan Luna, the Spoliarium. The painting shows a vivid and raw depiction of the horrors of Spanish colonization. The painting has made its rounds in different museums abroad and remains to be one of the major highlights in the National Museum.

The Spoliarium is surrounded by other greats works of revered Filipino masters like Felix Hidalgo’s, La Tragedia de Gobernador Bustamante. In the gallery, you can also view some of the finished and unfinished works of renowned artists, including Fernando C. Amorsolo, Pablo Amorsolo, Fabian de la Rosa, and Fabian de la Rosa. Even if you aren’t an aspiring artist or art aficionado, visiting the museum and looking at the artworks will leave you feeling inspired.



THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY


National Museum Of National History Ermita Manila

If you have a penchant for nature, you must visit the National Museum of Natural History. It was constructed in 1940 as the Agriculture and Commerce Building and was designed by Filipino architect Antonio Toledo. The building features the neoclassical style of the late 1930s that remains apparent.

Before its opening last May 2018, the National Museum of Natural History’s magnificent architecture was enhanced by adding a dome roof that’s visible from various angles. Right at the center of the museum, you’ll be greeted by the “Tree of Life”. It’s an awe-inspiring structure that supports the exterior dome and serves as a symbolic connection to the unique ecosystems in the Philippines.

Of course, you can explore more of the Philippines’ natural riches in the museum’s 12 permanent galleries. They’re filled with displays of botanical, zoological, and geological specimens found in the country—from magnificent mountain ridges to incredible marine reefs. These are set up using different interactive displays, video guides, diagrams, and illustrations that everyone can enjoy.



MANILA HOTEL


Manila Hotel Ermita Manila

While visiting Ermita, consider staying in one of its historical gems for a night or two. The Manila Hotel is the oldest premier hotel in the country with a history of notable clientele like General Douglas McArthur, who stayed in the penthouse while serving as the Military Advisor of the then-Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1941. Other celebrities and world leaders that stayed in the five-star hotel are Michael Jackson, John Wayne, Marlon Brando, former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, and author Ernest Hemingway.

The hotel was built in 1909 and features a glamorous interior that you’ll immediately notice as soon as you enter its lobby. It’s adorned with sparkling chandeliers with seashells and crystals, majestic Doric columns, marble floors, and wooden furniture made of Philippine mahogany. Even if you don’t check into one of the hotel's 570 rooms, you can experience its beauty by dining at the bars and restaurants inside such as the Café Ilang-Ilang and the Tap Room Bar.



Ermita has so much to offer its visitors, such as beautifully-maintained parks, museums, and hotels. So when going to Manila, make sure to drop by any of the places mentioned in this article. These places aren’t just marvelous, they also serve as glorious reminders of the country’s rich history.

 

~ CONTRIBUTED BY KD REYES, PHOTOS FROM WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

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