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St. Paul University Manila’s tour holds promise for Ermita-Malate revival

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The facade of the Chapel of the Crucified Christ in St. Paul University Manila was among the few structures left standing along Herran Street (now Pedro Gil) during the liberation of Manila. Photo by Patricia Benito
The facade of the Chapel of the Crucified Christ in St. Paul University Manila was among the few structures left standing along Herran Street (now Pedro Gil) during the liberation of Manila. Photo by Patricia Benito

St. Paul University Manila has joined establishments in Ermita and Malate in reviving the luster of the two districts, considered as the center of entertainment and business in the 1980s before the local government’s tightened regulations on nightlife establishments caused the closing of many businesses in the early 1990s.

To bring back attention to ErMa (short for Ermita-Malate), the university along Pedro Gil initiated a project of helping revive the two districts through a heritage tour. They began with cultural and heritage mapping activities and visioning workshop until they developed an itinerary that Travel Update Philippines, along with invited ErMa barangay officials, tried on September 23.

During the trial run, BS Tourism and HRM students from the university served as tour guides and tour escorts all throughout the tour.

Two of the restaurants visited in ErMa were Jade Vine and Ang Bistro sa Remedios. With dishes that have stayed the same through the years like Jade Vine’s kare-kare and Ang Bistro sa Remedios’ Ang Sikreto ni Maria, even after years of existence loyal customers still visit these places.

Students assumed tour guide roles during the trial run. Photo by Paolo Abellanosa
Students assumed tour guide roles during the trial run. Photo by Paolo Abellanosa
Roel Supendio, chair of the university's BS Tourism program, narrates what happened during the liberation of Manila. Photo by Paolo Abellanosa
Roel Supendio, chair of the university’s BS Tourism program, narrates what happened during the liberation of Manila. Photo by Paolo Abellanosa

The tour also included churches that barely survived World War II — Malate Church and St. Paul University’s own Chapel of the Crucified Christ — or rebuilt after the war like Ermita Church.

Only the walls and facade of Malate Church, or formally called as Our Lady of Remedies Parish, remained during the war. Its exterior was slowly deteriorating over the past decades, leading the church’s management to restore the structure. The last phase of the project will be finished by the first quarter of next year.

The oldest Marian image in the Philippines in the background. Photo by Paolo Abellanosa
The oldest Marian image in the Philippines in the background. Photo by Paolo Abellanosa
Hiraya Gallery in Ermita is dedicated to featuring social realism. Photo by Patricia Benito
Hiraya Gallery in Ermita is dedicated to featuring social realism. Photo by Patricia Benito

Ermita Church, on the other hand, is home of the oldest Marian image, the Nuestra Senora De Guia. Besides being graced with the presence of the image, the parish, formally known as Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Senora De Guia, is also blessed with one of the three papal chairs that was made for and used by Saint John Paul II when he came in January 1995.

Hiraya Gallery, a studio dedicated to social realism; Luneta Park; and the 97-year old Luneta Hotel were also visited during the heritage tour.

The university plans to roll out the tour by first quarter next year.


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