With the rapid urbanization in Baguio City the landscape has already changed, many of the original settlers who migrated and lived abroad have that common impression of the City of Baguio upon their return and that is, the city is different from what it was before. One of the things that made Baguio popular was the different “urban legends” or ghost stories that was passed on from generations of Baguio folks. I for one is a witness to the different stories that were told by Baguio folks. These ghost stories in Baguio made the city popular of course apart from the annual celebration of the Panagbenga Festival. If you have been in Baguio long enough you might have heard of some of these stories and they are not just urban legends as some of those stories found their way into local newspapers. Here are five of the haunted places in Baguio City that along with the stories behind it, at least from what i can remember.
The Five Haunted Places in Baguio City
- Diplomat Hotel – now known as the Heritage Hill and Nature Park, it was formerly a hotel and prior to that it became hospital where the priests, soldiers and nuns took refuge during the second world war. If you try to explore the entire building and the grounds around it, you will find several tunnels which are believed to be the escape tunnels used by the priests and soldiers during the second world war. One story i’ve heard if from a classmate of mine who along with their friends found their way to diplomat hotel during the 90’s at that time no construction or improvements was done in the area, they were out for a night of drinking session and what happened next shocked them as one of their friends saw a white figure walking or floating towards where they are having their drinking session, which prompted him to run and the rest followed after they reached a safe place he asked why they all ran and they said they felt something cold that made the hair on their body stand and they got scared.
- Loakan Road – the story of the Loakan road started with the tree at the middle of the road. This tree several meters away from the Forest House was said to be the home of a white lady. According to stories during the road widening project many attempted to cut down the tree but to no avail as every time a person tries to cut the tree that person fell ill. Finally when it was cut, the person who was able to cut it died several months later. There were also stories of cab drivers being hailed by a lady in white in one of three cemeteries along Loakan road but when they stop the lady disappears. One of the memorable stories that i remembered was a bus full of employees going to one of the popular semicon companies in Loakan, during the 1990’s at Halloween night the bus that they were riding broke down at the middle of Loakan Road and if you frequent that stretch of Loakan road at night during that time it was pitch black and the worst thing happened even the lights of the bus died, their driver uttered some words asking permission for them to pass through the road and after doing so the bus started again and the lights went back.
- The Laperal White House – this house along Leonardwood road is said to be haunted by the people who first lived in the house who were killed by Japanese soldiers during world war 2, how true is the claim? I am not sure. According to the urban legend people who pass by the place at night would sometimes see white figures or a figure of a woman or a girl looking out the window. There were also claims that the grounds is haunted by a headless priest. I am not sure about any of those, but because of curiosity, last year, when the place was opened to the public due to a bamboo art exhibit we took the opportunity to tour the place, did i feel anything unusual? Not really, until some of the guests started running down.
- South Drive Area Near The Former Hyatt Hotel – as we all know many people both guests and employees died at the Hyatt Hotel, today the area of Hyatt hotel is ground zero. According to the story, a particular waiting shed fronting the Hyatt hotel was the waiting shed where most employees of the hotel take cover and wait for their ride home especially during the rainy season, up until today the pedestrian lane is being maintained and according to taxi drivers whenever they pass by that area they always honk their horn. A friend of mine told me that the first time he passed by the area he did not honk his trucks horn that his vehicle broke down without any reason, his companion told him about the story and they gave a short prayer asking for forgiveness and after their prayer he tried to start the vehicle again and it worked as if nothing has happened.
- Teacher’s Camp – this place is more than 100 years old and witnessed several world wars. This area is also near the Laperal white house and is also near one of the scary story that was told by our taxi driver friend. There were lots of stories that were told to us by friends who stayed at one of the cabins at teachers camp, one thing that stuck to my mind was when a group stayed in one of the cabins and as they were about to leave the cabin for a night out one of them forgot something so they had to go back to the cabin, to their shock the furniture and their things were already in disarray, five minutes after they left the cabin, they could not explain it, it could have been anything, it could have been a person playing a prank on them or it might be a poltergeist we don’t know.
Yes times are changing, with social media and the internet the world is getting smaller and our belief to the supernatural diminished, the landscape of Baguio is truly changing and the Baguio of old is entirely different from today, but not much has changed in these five places, now the question is why?