The country’s summer capital has reopened its borders to vacationers who are completely vaccinated against COVID-19, a week before All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
Photo Courtesy: The Manor at Camp John Hay
Since Halloween is fast approaching, whether you’re a history buff or just someone looking for a good scare, here’s a glimpse of one of the most haunted places in Baguio City and the Philippines, the Diplomat Hotel.
The Diplomat Hotel has been considered one of the country’s most haunted locations. It has been used to film Halloween specials for several television stations, as well as being visited by the Ghosthunters International group.
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The Diplomat Hotel is now known as Baguio City Heritage Hill and Nature Park. But despite that, most people, whether tourists or residents, still refer to it as the Diplomat Hotel.
Who designed the Diplomat Hotel Building?
Fr. Roque Ruao, O.P., a civil engineer and member of the order, designed the structure. He was the same architect who designed the main structure on the existing University of Santo Tomas campus.
It was constructed in 1913.
According to the Diplomat Hotel’s historical monument, construction began in 1913 and was completed in 1915. However, it was named Dominican Hill and Retreat House back then. The Dominican Hill and Retreat Residence at Baguio City’s Dominican Hill served as a vacation house for Dominicans by that time.
It was converted shortly into a school.
The Dominican Retreat House and Hill had been converted into the Collegio del Santissimo Rosario School around 1915 to 1918. The building was used as a school for a short time, but that was it. The year 1928 when it was converted back to Dominican Hill and Retreat House due to a lack of students.
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It became the Refugee Center of the Dominicans.
During World War II, the Dominican Hill and Retreat House were converted into the Refugee Center of the Dominicans. The building served as a haven for refugees fleeing the Japanese military.
But invaders from the Japanese military occupied the Dominicans’ Refugee Center, converting it into their new command center. There were rumors that the children and babies in the facility had been massacred, and the nuns and priests were beheaded. It’s understandable why some people claim to have seen or heard imagery with their heads cut off or to have heard random wailing sounds. Those ghostly sightings and eerie noises may have originated during this period.
Later on, the Americans attacked the building which was already a Japanese headquarters. The Japanese, on the other hand, committed mass suicide within the place.
Photo Courtesy: Lendl Peralta/flickr.com
Where did the Diplomat Hotel get its name?
If you’re wondering how the Diplomat Hotel got its name, it got it as a result of the acquisition by the Diplomat Hotels Corporation. The property was converted into a hotel and was renamed the Diplomat Hotel. Antonio Agapito “Tony” Agpaoa, a businessman, psychic surgeon, and spiritual healer, managed the place. Sadly, Tony Agpaoa passed away from a heart attack. The Diplomat Hotel has halted operations since Agapao’s death and became temporarily closed to the public.
The building was recognized as a Cultural Property.
Now, the location has been renamed Baguio City Heritage Hill and Nature Park. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines recognized Heritage Hill as a Cultural Property.
Photo Courtesy: Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap
It was proposed to turn into a creative hub.
The city council has proposed turning the historic Diplomat Hotel atop Dominican Hill into a creative hub, and plans for its conservation are in the works as Baguio continues to look for methods to boost the creative sector’s economic growth.
According to ARCH LICO, a research-oriented design consultancy firm headed by Architect Gerard Lico that specializes in landmark and heritage conservation, the Diplomat is envisioned to include a 90-seater auditorium, a lobby, galleries, workshops, artists’ studios, a library, cafe, and a rooftop viewing deck as an artist’s hub.
Indeed, it is a challenge for the local government to shed off the hotel’s eerie image and transform it into an arts hub while maintaining its otherworldly charm. Looking forward to the transformation?
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Some people come to see the area because of its fascinating history. Some people come to see the rustic charm of the area. How about you? Dare to spend your vacation in one of the country’s spookiest hotels?
History of Diplomat Hotel. (2019, October 24). Baguio City Guide. Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://baguiocityguide.com/history-of-diplomat-hotel/
Patag, K. J. (2021, October 26). Fully vaccinated travelers may now visit Baguio City. Philippine Star. Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://www.philstar.com/nation/2021/10/26/2136821/fully-vaccinated-travelers-may-now-visit-baguio-city
Beltran, S. (2021, September 27). Imagine the ‘haunted’ Diplomat Hotel in Baguio—like an ethereal creative hub. MSN News. Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/national/imagine-the-haunted-diplomat-hotel-in-baguio-as-an-ethereal-creative-hub/ar-AAOQM6m