Travel to Philippines: Manila: Binondo, Escolta, and Ermita: Photo 17
A mile to the south, on the south side of Intramuros, is another core neighborhood in decline, Ermita--shown here at the fine-sounding United Nations Avenue. Spencer and Wernstedt wrote in the 1960s that it was "strongly westernized with many fine hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and apartment buildings, and with several modern specialty shops and retail stores catering to the well-to-do and the tourist." No longer. A good indicator is the building on the right: originally a Hilton hotel, it was downgraded to a Holiday Inn and then downgraded again to an independent operation, the Manila Pavilion. If you want to disagree, you might point to the Starbucks sign in the upper center, but the prices inside the shop are probably the lowest you've ever seen in a Starbucks.
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