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Ermita: A Filipino Novel

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  717 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Ermita as the major character in this novel, was first introduced in F. Sionil Jose's novella, "Obsession." Fabulous protitute, a woman wronged, she is now exposed in her exquisite nudity, surrounded by people like her, Eduardo Dantes, publisher, Senator Andres Bravo, General Bombilla, socialite Conchita Rojo, and Rolando Cruz, Ph.D. in history turned public relations spec ...more
323 pages
Published 1998 by Solidaridad Publishing House (first published 1988)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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K.D. Absolutely
This is the story of Ermita "Ermi" Rojo a high-class prostitute in the Philippines. She is born to a wealthy family during the liberation, 1945. Her father is a Japanese soldier, part of the retreating Japanese forces. When Japan was about to lose control of Manila, they burned houses, killed all men and children that they saw roaming around the city and raped all the young girls. One then was the rich scion of the prominent family, the Rojos - Conchita Rojo, Ermi's mother.

Since Ermi is a produ
Ervin Patrick
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
My first Sionil José read!

Though I was only able to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera and half of One Hundred Years of Solitude, I can say that F. Sionil José writes like him (Marquez). Anyway, the novel's early parts bored me. But, later on, I was interested by the life of the little Ermi Rojo. I wanted to know how, as the prologue foretold it, she was going to be a prostitute. Well, her life was quite interesting but quite dragging, for me, near the end. There were thin
Mikaela Lavilla
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Best Filipino novel I've ever read. I never wanted to drop this book until I finished it. Well-written. ...more
Maria Ella
This is one challenging read. I read this in the first time, sometimes in an irritated mood, that is why I first rated it with three stars.

But as I participate in a reading buddy/discussion with some of the guys, I gave this novel another try and rereading all those chapters for me to post my sentiments. As I closed this book, I cried. I cried because all of us wish for happiness. But in Ermi's case, she cannot comprehend what she is really looking for.

Let me immerse in all these feels first. I
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ermita, one of the streets in Manila where many bars and prostitutes proliferate, was also the name of the heroine in Sionil’s novel. She had been conceived in a painful, traumatizing way: a rape child.

Being a rape child, as a consequence, her mother despised her until the very end, for Ermi’s mother reminded of that beast, and having a Rojo blood in her veins, Conchita’s sister adopted her, albeit treated her like a stranger.

She lived in penury with the household help of the Rojo family. Toget
Monjihar Akmad
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is rare. I had a hard time finding a copy of it. But, finally, I found one at National Bookstore: SM North EDSA. This urge started to creep to me when one of my schoolmate during college days brought this book at school. I was really intrigued with this book because he never stopped to talk about or even promote the book to the entire university (like he was paid do it). But according to him, his copy was from Switzerland and it was a gift from his friend; Swiss national. So, this book ...more
Carla Rodis
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Read this when I was in High School. We were assigned Viajero but I loved Ermita. Probably the best Filipino book I've read so far. ...more
Gabriela Francisco
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
"I can see... my country dying slowly... the fissures that divide us, isolate us from each other, are insidious and deep -- a government of men who in their greed think only of themselves, a people grown obsequious and pliant, vegetables without a sense of outrage. How then can we protect ourselves from our leaders and most of all, from ourselves?"

I was born in Ermita. There is a hospital there that I've frequented ever since early childhood, so it sort of feels like home. I thought I'd read thi
Richard Marney
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every year when they announce the Nobel Prize for literature, I cross my fingers hoping F. Sionil Jose’s name will be called out. Whether he wins the prize does not diminsh his immense contibution to Filipino and indeed world literature. I read this novel again today after more than a decade and found it as enthralling as I did the first time. For those who have had the opportunity to spend time exploring the country and its wonderful people, outside of the 5-star hotels, beaches, and shopping m ...more
Jun 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: filipiniana
This book is about the struggles a beautiful, budding lady has to go through in order to achieve what she so desires... which she apparently is not sure what. It provides a look into the underground of Manila-- one wherein drugs, prostitution, politics and whispered rumors are what lay the foundations (read: rules) of this underlying society.
Ron Jayvee
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Ermita is one of the place in Philippines.A place formerly frequented by the wealthy in Manila. This novel is about the life and stuggles of a women being reminiscent of a place of the same name in the City of Manila.
Drae Pantorilla
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: phil-lit
Though some say that it mirrors Manila under colonization, to me it isn't really of a historical novel. It's depicts more of an internal conflict especially towards how we see ourselves and how we want others to see us. ...more
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rusty Atencio
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
January 1945, some months before the deliverance from Japanese occupation, Manila is chaotic, hungry, and gripped by fear. And just before the Americans stepped in to salvage the city, Conchita Rojo was raped by a Japanese soldier in her very room within the confines Rojo mansion. She was quick to lunge the bayonet to his attacker to save her life, but too late to save herself from the assault, thus, Ermi Rojo was conceived.

This book follows the life of Ermi who was immediately abandoned after
Xerez Vera
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Set during the Japanese occupation and the Marcos dictatorship, the story follows Ermita and how she struggles to free herself from the shackles of her past. Ermita is a compelling piece about obscenity, corruption, innocence, and survival vs morality.

Book is filled with poignant, beautiful prose. Every word, no matter how much it feels like so much as a ramble, feels purposeful. Every sentence was written to set a very vivid world. However, while it is written most beautifully, I could still h
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Indeed Ermita is the story of the Philippines. A must read for Filipino Millennials.
Vien Dueñas
Sep 15, 2019 marked it as to-read
Rainier Moreno-Lacalle
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The strength in Sionil Jose’s writing like the Ermita is the vivid description he gives to the readers. It’s like you are there in the setting without leaving gaps inside your head.
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the book I've been looking for.
A Filipino book with so much sense.
A book that tells about history and the people behind it through fiction.
A book which compels you not only to think, but act upon the things for your country.

I'm looking forward to read more F. Sionil books.
It's a shame that the ordinary Filipinos aren't exposed to these kinds of books. :(
It's a good topic for conversations.. and for a while, I've dreamt of being a literature student to at least, give justice on how to dig
Dec 28, 2011 rated it liked it
I felt like I was in a bit of a time warp reading this. To get the full benefit of the allegories and the occasional humour, you'd need a minimal background of Philippine politics and social strata. If I had read this in the 1990s I probably would've loved it. Now it's a snapshot of a bygone era, but it still has heavy relevance today. I was slightly turned off by the weird quasi-sexual-philosophical musings. Full review on my blog, . ...more
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
To be able to write a novel that fits well into a setting from the past is very admirable, and F. Sionil Jose has never failed in doing so. Reading Ben Singkol and his other novels is really a must. My favorite Filipino Author. :)
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this book when I was in college and suddenly, I realized what I should have realized a long time ago. The power of words. The book was so beautifully written, it hurts. The book was so real you could actually see, feel, touch Ermita Rojo.
Maricar Agundo
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was a gift from a very good friend. It's well written and made me travel back in time. I was hooked to it; once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. This is the only Filipino book I loved and enjoyed by far. ...more
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
well-written.. hard to put down *thumbs up*
Heyz Zelle
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Sionil Jose's greatest work. ...more
Joseph Marc
i think its a good story

Sean Lalu
How do i read this one?
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
F Sionil Jose at his best.
Decolonize D Native
Mar 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
opens big and promisingly but then becomes pretty woman story of hooker with heart of ginto...
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Francisco Sionil José was born in 1924 in Pangasinan province and attended the public school in his hometown. He attended the University of Santo Tomas after World War II and in 1949, started his career in writing. Since then, his fiction has been published internationally and translated into several languages including his native Ilokano. He has been involved with the international cultural organ ...more

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