Yesterday, 3 friends and I spent Sunday afternoon walking around Ermita, Manila. Most of us Manileños know Ermita as the red-light district of the city. Ermita also depicts a clash of opposites: on one side of the street there’s a Robinsons and an SM, then on the other there are the poorest of the poor lying on stale sheets of cardboard. No wonder one of my friends was quite emotional during the whole afternoon, hahah. Anyway, the points of the walking trip were the National Museum, Rizal Park, and Qian Do Lami, a small noodle joint. I wanted us to catch the Baywalk sunset, except a friend was (yet again) late!
Admission in The National Museum and Museum of the Filipino People is FREE for October since it’s Museums and Galleries Month. Admin has just restored some of the galleries and rooms (a lot are still under renovation, and drills were echoing somewhere behind the building) and they’ve also increased their collections. Some of the stalls have reserved plaques in them. I read somewhere that Luna’s The Parisian Life will be exhibited sometime later this month, so do take the opportunity to visit if you have the time! The entrance is along Padre Burgos Street, within walking distance from LRT UN Avenue Station. You won’t find a good shot of the masterpieces in this post because I’d like you to experience the museum yourself.
I felt I could just sit there and look at Spolarium the whole day. Luna must have been crazy — but then all artists are kind of that! I didn’t know where to begin with the piece — my head only managed to spin How?How?HOW?? the whole time.
The curator of this gallery was a firm hothead; understandable, since she had to deal with people and pesky little kids hahaha. Although museum policy says SLRs are not allowed without a special permit, I wasn’t called out when I brought mine out.
The museum has around 10 galleries (I stopped counting after the 6th) housing paintings, sketches and sculptures, plus a Natural History collection (bones and botany) as well as a Textiles collection (my fave of all the galleries!).
We spent 2 hours in the museum. At that rate we already flew by a few of the galleries. We missed the Museum of the Filipino People since it was closing time by then.
So, we walked to Rizal Park (via Finance Road) and rested our aching feet before heading on to A. Mabini Street for Qian Do Lami. A. Mabini is a pungent, narrow one-way road full of antique shops, bars, and hotel and casino behind-the-scenes ehem*ehem. There are also lots of shabu-shabu restaurants around the Pedro Gil intersection. As for the restaurant itself, I got the tip through Carlos Celdran’s Facebook Page. It’s a small place one can easily pass by in a vehicle without so much as a second glance.
Surprised myself by finishing my bowl ahead of the others. I rushed through it, and was utterly satisfied! I had to loosen my belt afterwards hahahha. Big servings, and Php129 is sooo worth it. I planned to order fried dumplings on the side, good thing I didn’t.
This trip was a lot of firsts for us. It was my first time to walk A. Mabini — now I have a better map of Manila in my head. For 2 of my friends, it was their first time to visit Rizal Park and truly see the city. We still have a lot to cover before seeing the whole picture, that’s why I can’t wait for the next one! We had lots of hahas along the way, and the afternoon was solid proof that good company always makes aching feet feel like nothing.
How to commute to Ermita:
* Take a Quiapo bus along Commonwealth or Quezon Avenue, get down in Taft Avenue. Fare is Php20+ from Quezon City.
* Take the MRT or a bus going to MOA until Taft MRT Station (Php14 from farthest station, Php20+ by bus from QC). Switch to LRT Yellow Line (or take a jeep to TM Kalaw Street, haven’t tried yet) and get off UN Avenue Station (Php15).
* As much as possible, don’t take a taxi. Traffic along Taft IS HELL, and you don’t want to get lost in Manila.
Walking directions to Qian Do Lami:
1727 A. Mabini Street, Malate, Manila. Directly in front of Tune Hotel.
If you’re coming from either TM Kalaw or Quirino, look to the skies for the Hyatt Hotel and walk towards it along A. Mabini.
Via Pedro Gil (MRT), The Hyatt can’t be seen until you pass Robinsons. Once you hit A. Mabini, turn left.
Tune Hotel is just a few blocks south of Hyatt. It’s also within walking distance of Malate Church.