Ermita (historic district of Manila)


(Historic District of Manila)

By Apolinario Villalobos

Once the elite’s enclave

of Manila’s Hispanics,

crumbled to the ground

during the World War II,

it metamorphosed into

a lively district that

would come to life

at the strike of two.

At three, made up women

would lend color

to its drab surroundings,

at four, customers of

different shades

would peek through doors

if what’s inside was

for their taking,

and at five, with blaring

jukeboxes and enticing neon lights

Ermita would become fully awake

to begin another nocturnal life.

In this side of Manila by the bay,

while the sun slips sleepily

down the horizon yonder for the day,

Ermita would come to life –

a made-up face of the city.

The last days of ’94 however saw

Ermita’s lights fade;

No longer were there

made up women and sailors

who would tease each other

along corridors.

No longer were there

blaring music and

dancing neon lights

that made gay life beat

through seemingly endless nights.

Drab buildings became more stoic

to their surroundings,

robbed of life and earthly pleasure

that for years made Ermita

a temporal delight…

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