This photo taken in 1901 shows that the Ermita Fish Market continued to operate into the early twentieth century.
In the 1950s Ermita was in decline as a fashionable residential area and was beginning to transform into an entertainment district.
By the 1970s and 1980s it had become a major Tourist and Adult entertainment destination with excellent Hotels, Restaurants, Night Clubs and more than one hundred Bars. There were also markets selling native products and souvenirs.
In the late 1980s General Lim was elected Mayor of Ermita and promised to clean it up. Many believe his actual motive was to transform it into a new financial centre to replace Hong Kong with its impending hand back to China.
He was successful in closing down all the bars and in the process bankrupting most of the other supporting businesses including Hotels and Restaurants.
Ermita did not find a new purpose after the “clean up” and has become just another slum area of Manila with derelict buildings, increased street crime, and even more beggars and ironically prostitution continues in now uncontrolled streets.
There is however a glimmer of hope in the revival of Ermita. The centre of this potential revival is the LA Café which opened in 1999 where the old Rosie’s Diner was. Inside are wall to wall “Freelance” girls all ready to make new friends.
Check out LA Cafe
In 2002 a Philippines Court ruled that the General Lim’s closure of the Bars of Ermita was un-lawful. Thus the impedance to re-opening bars in Ermita has been removed.
Return of Dancers to Ermita
The exciting news in 2004 was the opening of the Jurasic Bar at 1505 M.H. Del Pilar St opposite the LA Café. This bar actually relocated and has the same owners as the LA Café but it is the mezzanine level with its rows of bikini style dancers that is encouraging.
Check out Jurasic Bar
The latest bar to open is Butterfly Bar next to Amazonia (same owners). This is an Angels style bar like the Ermita bars of old with Gogo dancers Check out Butterfly Bar