Baguio City is known as the Philippines’ summer capital and is renowned for its cool weather and pine trees. But if you ask anyone who has been there, the creepy forest atmosphere coupled with its somewhat dark history play a role in giving Baguio an eerie vibe that can be fun but unnerving as well.
In 1846, The Spaniards, The Philippines’ first colonial masters, created military outposts in the mountains of Benguet in Luzon following continuous efforts to conquer the natives of the land. One of those places was Baguio, The ideal weather made Baguio the ideal summer retreat where our foreign colonizers could escape from the blaring heat of the cities. The town flourished and grew in size and by the time the American Colonial period began, Baguio was already a bustling town.
The Americans formally named Baguio as the summer capital of the commonwealth and it became the headquarters of the Americans during the hot months. They expanded the town with the help of city planners from the US then built a military base in what is now called Camp John Hay.
World War 2 came around and when the Japanese brutally invaded the Philippines in 1941, Baguio was taken over and the battles with the Japanese ushered in the slaughter of many soldiers from all sides. At one point, Camp john Hay was taken over and used as a Japanese military base while neighbouring camps were used as internment camps for Filipinos and Americans. To liberate Baguio from the Japanese, Allied Forces carpet-bombed the city adding more death and destruction in their wake. During those tragic times, many innocent people lost their lives and you can’t help but feel their presences echo when you walk the streets at night.
Fast forward to about half a century later, Baguio had already gotten back to where it used to be as a place where tourists and locals could enjoy their holidays in the crisp mountain air. That would change once again when tragedy would strike in the form of a 7.8 earthquake that destroyed much of Baguio on July 16, 1990. Many buildings, hotels, homes and other infrastructure were destroyed along with the lives of countless people. Stories of bodies being pulled out and people getting trapped in the rubble of the Hyatt Terraces Plaza spread all over the news and all those already born then we were witness to truly unforgettable images of tragedy and grief.
Nowadays Baguio is back to its old form as one of the country’s more popular travel destinations and is a now a highly urbanized city complete with shopping malls and other tourist attractions. But despite modern Baguio’s new exterior, some places within the city can’t seem to shake off their gloomy pasts. On a recent visit, we got to reading up on different supernatural experiences that people have had in Baguio City. With all the tragic events that have taken place in Baguio, it’s no surprise why so many people claim to have had supernatural experiences in the City of Pines. Astonished to find so many stories, and curious to see where these stories happened, we went on a road trip to check out these locations for ourselves and to get a glimpse of where Baguio’s darker history took place.
Leonard Wood road
Constructed in 1920 by one of Baguio’s oldest clans, the House was built as a vacation home for the Laperal Family. The good times ended in World War 2 when the Japanese army occupied the house and used it as their garrison.
Listed as one of Baguio's most haunted places, This house has a very dark history wherein a lot of people are said to have been brutally tortured and killed. One of them was the Laperal's helper who was raped and killed in the house and is said to still make her presence felt until today. Drivers usually avoid this route at night to avoid the house. Sightings of ghostly figures standing by the windows and and the famous white lady who appears standing on the 3rd step of the house's entrance.
East of downtown Baguio along Leonard Wood road
Set up by the American government during in 1908 as a camp for teachers who came from all over the country for summer trainings. The large campus is also used as a transient home for backpackers.
A notoriously haunted place in Baguio, Teachers Camp is famous for the numerous spooky experiences that people have had while staying there. Teachers camp was said to be built on ancient native battlegrounds which may explain all the ghostly activity that occurs within the property.
In 1990, the Luzon earthquake brought down the 6-storey Nevada Hotel located at the end of Loakan Road. In its ruins, Nevada Square was built and is now a venue for bars and restaurant.
During the earthquake, the hotel collapsed and killed a lot of people. Nowadays, Security guards, people who work in restaurants, and customers of Nevada Square can attest that hauntings are evident in this place whether it's night or day. Checkout this link written by Tony Perez regarding ghostly stories in Nevada Square.
SITE OF OLD HYATT TERRACES BAGUIO
In 1978 a property then known as Baguio Terraces was purchased by Hyatt Bangkok and Hyatt Terraces Baguio was created. The luxurious hotel was a favorite of Manila's elite where they would spend summers in cool Baguio while making the most of their lavish accommodations. It stood until the earthquake brought down the building 12 years later- the worst damage out of all other properties in Baguio as a result of the catastrophe.
The hotel was hit hard by 1990 earthquake. The front part of the building is said to have collapsed on the interior, instantly killing 50 people. Many people were buried alive, severely injured and killed and it took weeks to finish pulling out the bodies of all the people who perished in its rubble. A gated fence around an empty lot is what remains of the Hyatt Terraces in Baguio but that doesn't mean there is nothing going on over there. Strange lights and ghostly apparitions are seen in the lot and it is said that there was once a bus stop in front of the gate where the spirits of dead employees would often appear and were often seen by motorists driving by the South Drive.
Upper Session Road
107 year old Casa Vallejo used to be called dormitory 4. The owners of the property have maintained its beauty considering it is one of institutions that survived the carpet bombing of the Japanese. Presently, the quaint hotel holds 24 rooms that are available to guests and can be convenient for backpackers since it is centrally-located near session road and SM Baguio. It also has a great restaurant called Hill Station.
Besides being Baguio's oldest Hotel, Casa Vallejo was once used as a war detention and refugee center during the war. Apparitions and unexplained incidents are known to happen while guests are at the hotel. Guests have told stories of an old man standing by the foot of the their bed and there are said to be spirits of two women and a man who haunt the halls of Casa Vallejo.
Located at Loakan Road, this old house was transformed into a hotel and restaurant for some time but is presently abandoned. We don't know much about this place but the overgrown plants and creepy ambience add to the ominous feel of the property.
There is a famous story of a huge Acacia Tree that once stood in Loakan Road in front of Hotel Veneracion that was said to be a home for spirits and elementals. Many accidents and unexplained incidents are said to have happened around the tree so it was decided that the tree had to go. A group of men were tasked by the authorities to cut the tree down, but one by one, the men who cut the tree got sick and died. You will notice that the road in front of Hotel Veneracion is unusually wider than the rest of Loakan Road.
The Diplomat Hotel was originally built as a seminary and vacation house for Dominican priest and nuns. During WW2 the hotel was the setting for some terrible events that have left their marks on the walls and atmosphere around the property. After the effects of the war had died down, the seminary was transformed into a Hotel and managed by a famous spiritual healer in the 70s.
The story goes that to get away from the surging Japanese forces, many people sought refuge in the seminary in Dominican Hill. After a brutal battle, the Japanese eventually seized Dominican Hill and showed no mercy with the killing of priests, nuns, women and babies. The babies were said to be mercilessly staked by the fountains that adorn the interior of the property. Ghostly apparitions of headless priests are said to roam the empty halls and mysterious sounds and voices can be heard there at night. The foreboding appearance and thick atmosphere alone are enough to send shivers down your spine.
CAMP JOHN HAY
Camp John Hay was originally built as a military base by the Americans and used as a rest and recreation facility for American soldiers in the Philippines. The hill station housed military personnel and their dependents. Today it has been converted into a major tourist spot where there are parks, privately-run hotels, a golf course, duty free shops and restaurants.
During the war Camp John Hay was bombed by the Japanese and used as an interment camp for american detainees. Many horrible acts and deaths took place in Camp John Hay and its not hard to see why many stories are told of strange things happening within Camp John Hay's boundaries.
Photos property of Lívph
Psalms 91:1-16 "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."