Red-light district, a place where houses of prostitution and other sex-oriented businesses are commonly rampant, is what is frequently associated with Ermita.
Ermita in Manila is the home of some of the country’s most popular landmarks such as the Rizal Park which is commonly referred to as Luneta, Manila Ocean Park, and the National Museum of the Philippines. It is also where many educational institutions are located like the University of the Philippines Manila (UPM).
It may just be like any other district in the city of Manila during the day, but it really comes to life when the sky turns dark.
In Ermita, many night clubs and bars are found where these “sex-oriented business” takes place.
But despite this not-so-decent image people have for Ermita, it is also the home of places even people of younger age can go to just like the Hobbit House.
When we went to the Hobbit House. It was already late in the afternoon but just like any other establishment in the district it was just beginning to be filled with customers.
When we arrived at our destination we were immediately welcomed by two midgets at the front door.
It really shows how they really value their crew members because of the poster outside which in which all of the crew are there dresses in costumes and with the background of something that is really related to The Hobbit and this same picture is also used in front of their menus.
After all the pleasantries we headed to the door. The door was something that really impressed me, it was something that really looked like it would transport you to another world.
Once we entered the establishment, we were greeted by many pictures and paintings of dwarves from the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and the novel and movies The Lord of the Ring. There are also some actual pictures of some midgets.
The interior is just like any other bar in the area. It is filled with round tables, has a bar area on the side and a stage where singers may they be popular or not can perform.
The place it lit by lamp-like chandeliers which adds to the hobbit theme of the place but also to the atmosphere because it is dimly lit.
There are also statues of midgets around the place.
There were already many customers in the place when we went there and I saw how there were many kinds of customers that enter this establishment. There are a group of friends wherein one is a foreigner and there were also a family which consist of the parents and even their children. This only showed how the Hobbit House is appropriate not only to older people but even to the younger ones.
But what will really catch your attention are the crew which consists of almost all midgets, who will serve you the whole duration of your stay. They will serve you with smiles on their faces and warmth in how they interact with their customers.
Miss Mary Ann Crisostomo, the general manager of the Hobbit House, said that the place is often visited by not only typical tourists but also some local and even international personalities, like our very own president, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the international singer, Ed Sheeran.
The Hobbit House, despite being located in a red-light district, has a very socially significant advocacy; they hire there crew whom are all midgets to help them too.
The Hobbit House hires their midget workers not only for business but they also help this people have jobs despite the discrimination they usually experience because of them being small in stature.
This establishment wants to help more people like them to be able to support themselves and their own families through giving them the opportunity to work.
As the business grows, like the branch that they opened in Boracay, they are able to help more people who are in the same place as their current employees. People who are experiencing discrimination and are sometimes are hindered of their right to work.
So by going to the Hobbit House, people doesn’t only experience a good time but they are in a way also helping these people have a more decent life rather than what they current have just because they can’t work because of their appearance when, in fact, they are very capable of doing work to support themselves.
These “hobbits” are not only an inspiration for the owner to establish a unique business but also to us common people. They inspire us that our physical appearance doesn’t define who we are and what we are capable of doing. They show how they can function like any ordinary person.
And that is what really struck me, how they were able to smile genuinely to people who sometimes look at them indifferently.