Monday, August 31, 2009

diplomat hotel - baguio city

the only sound were just raindrops. the floors were all wet and we were standing right infront of its lobby. no one else was there just the two of us and the fog surrounding the hill.we've heard so many stories about this structure, which made us curious how it looks like today. known to many as a haunted place over a hill. a structure built in 1915 under the Dominican order over a 17hectare land on top of Dominican hill overlooking the city of Baguio.constructed first as a vacation house but was then converted into a school then later turned into a vacation house again. it was during the World War II when several refugees were killed there. just few years after the war ended, it was reconstructed with its original framework and design almost restored.during the early 1970s, it was transformed into a hotel, the Diplomat Hotel Baguio. after several years, it ended its operations and was closed in the 1980s. as it was degraded through the years, many claimed that it has became a haunted place.it was drizzling when we arrived at the place, the gate was closed but then a security guard approached us and allowed us in. we registered in the log sheet and went around its compound.since it was now raining, we entered the main lobby but still drops of water were falling from the ceiling. the place seem to have been abandoned through the damaged walls but the flooring was relatively shiny and clean.no matter how old it was, the structure remains to be elegant through the look at its framework. two small garden fountain inside the building remains to be beautiful. a nice circular stairway can also be seen on one side of the garden.though the place seems to be abandoned and damaged, it still is a beautiful structure. looking at the design of its windows and walls, one can still be awed at how beautiful it could have been before it was abandoned.since the place is believed to be haunted, we made sure that we prayed for the souls of the people who died there. there's a small prayer garden just outside the building. today, we've heard rumors that some Koreans were interested in buying the place because of its beautiful overlooking view of the city. others say, that the a group wanted it to convert into a museum.it has a resemblance of Bacolod city's The Mansion Ruins, which is now a beautiful tourist spot in that region and so i hope that whatever is the plan, they will still retain the structure's design.here ends my Baguio trip with my cousin Claire and I'd like to thank Tito Roland and Tita Jul for this trip. it was my nth time in Baguio, but it still is a city one needs to explore.

Friday, August 28, 2009

maryknoll ecological sanctuary - baguio city

just as we thought we've reached the end, we still didn't find the spot. we were inside a hectare size area of ecological sanctuary of Maryknoll. people may be familiar with the famous Baguio Botanical Garden but very few know about a sanctuary run by nuns. considered as an eco-trek area where one can reflect or simply enjoy the lush green view.upon reaching the center, we were given a map which will be used for us to be guided inside the sanctuary. a guide to what they refer to as the Cosmic Journey. 14 stations that symbolized the formation of the universe and how it has evolved.each station is represented with symbols and a sign that explains how the universe was formed. according to the staff, the whole walk can take to about 30-45minutes. she was a bit surprised because it was raining and we were that determined to do it.we just waited for the rain to stop and started our journey with a warning that the path may be slippery. my cousin Claire and i started the walk searching for station one which was a bit challenging because you'll have to walk a number of meters to find it though it has a walkway. part of the journey was to ring the bell that symbolized ones support to nature. this sanctuary values the balance of humanity, its environment and the evolution of its traditions.each station has a signboard that has a brief description of what the station represents. some were in the form of ruins while others as ornaments. the interesting thing here was not just the scenery but the excitement of finding each of the stations.the slippery path didn't hinder us from proceeding because the idea of thinking what the next station will look like was so appealing. pine trees and different plants cover the area with some cascaded rocks on areas where we need to go down.this place was built after the earthquake that hit Luzon which happened in 1990. a number of structures were damaged and several people died on that tragedy. with this the Maryknoll nuns who has been in Baguio overseeing the convent school decided to make an ecological park that explains the connection of humans, the cosmos and the culture that evolved.one can take time resting on some of the stations that has benches, though during our time it was all wet. other stations were in man-made caves which represents the Tabon cave and the Sagada cave to symbolize how the early inhabitants of the Philippines started.one will pass over a hanging bridge above a cliff that leads to the next station. stations ahead has several Igorot houses where one can explore by climbing over wooden ladders. we noticed that the huts were distinct from one another, it's because each hut represents the three Igorot tribes which are Ifugao, Ibaloi and Kalinga.when we reached the last 3stations it rained hard, good that we had with us an umbrella to continue with the walk. the final station symbolized the different spirituality, from Buddhism to Christianity.the whole walk took us almost an hour because we spent time taking photos of the place. don't forget getting lost inside the sanctuary is part of the activity. one just have to enjoy and commune with nature.Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary is located at Campo Sioco along North Sto Thomas road. you can take a short taxi trip going there or commute by taking a jeep along Perfecto street just across Harrison road. there's a minimal entrance fee of P30 which goes to the maintenance of the site.
you might want to consider this the next time you visit Baguio. for other information, check out their official website at Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

wright park - baguio city

today what is synonymous to many is that Wright park is a horse riding park. as one would jokingly call it as ride park. for the many times that i visited Baguio, i never had the interest of riding horses despite it, being a popular activity there. but it's more than that. though a large part of it is the horse ride loop, it extends to the man-made lagoon of the Mansion which has a memorial structure called the Wright park circle. this park was named after the former Governor-General to the Philippines Luke Edward Wright who was in command during the early 1900s. he was later transferred to Japan then became the secretary of war in the United States of America.today, this park holds a number of domesticated horses for tourists to enjoy a ride around the pool of pines. you get to choose which horse you'd want to rent. my cousin Claire made sure that she gets to experience it as the city is quite known for this horse ride. you will find it funny when you see albino horses with pink colored hair polls, some with a superman logo or yellow flowers over their ears. Claire chose an albino horse with a name "Boy". "yes. just Boy" said the owner after i asked him twice.the park also holds a stretch of souvenir shops selling native woven piece of cloth, key chains, bonnet, and the usual souvenirs. but one can still find more souvenir shops at the Mines View area.ornaments of sorts are also sold around the area. we've seen some unusual plants being sold there. colorful and quite unique here in the city of pines because of its climate.that's to some of the usual spots of Baguio, but as one returns to this city several times. you might sometimes end up visiting the same sites. but let's also look at some of the unusual tourist spots that you might want to consider in your next trip to the city of pines. that's to the upcoming post.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

the summer capital of the country - baguio city

many other cities in the country has already bloomed as great tourist capitals but the city of pines remains to carry the title as the summer capital of the Philippines. the city has been the rest and recreational area of the American soldiers way back 1903. developed by the American urban planner Daniel Hudson Burnham under the approval of the former US president Theodore Roosevelt. before the American occupation, the city is known as Kafagway, an Ibaloi village. it was designed for a population of 20,000 but it's current population has already reached 300,000."away from the traffic and snarled city, Baguio is airy and pleasant" as the book Lonely Planet Philippines describes. two of the most significant places would definitely be The Mansion and the John Hay Air Station or now known as Camp John Hay.significant because these were the places where most of the American officials stayed during their vacation. it was not spared during the World War II, where the Mansion was used by the Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita as a headquarters.after the war, it was endorsed to the Philippine government and was then declared as The Mansion or sometimes described as the Malacanang of Baguio. it has a giant gate and is strictly guarded by the military. one can enter the area but only up to the gate entrance part for photo shoot.Camp John Hay or sometimes considered as Club John Hay holds some of the most beautiful structures in the entire city. from old mansion houses to hotels, all elegantly located within the area. one should know that one third of the city is Camp John Hay. very few knew that this was named after John Milton Hay who was an American diplomat, journalist, private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln.
the whole camp has 246hectares of century old pine trees, golf course, old camp sites, and jogging areas. it remains a must-visit spot in Baguio.

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