Baguio City, located in the mountains of Benguet province, is the summer capital of the Philippines. People flock to Baguio during the summer months to bask in the cool weather and pine-scented mountain air. Aside from being the summer capital, Baguio also has the reputation of being one of the most haunted cities in the Philippines.
Baguio was built by the Americans when they claimed the Philippines as a colony. Baguio City was planned by Daniel Burnham, famous for city planning Chicago. Baguio was heavily bombed by Allied planes during World War II as part of the American army’s carpet bombing tactics. It is this event, plus many more tragedies, both natural and man-made, that Baguio’s ghost stories stem from. Here are some of the more popular ones:
Kennon Road. There are two major ways to get to Baguio from Manila; one of them is through Kennon Road. There have been stories of young girls or old women flagging down buses from the side of the road. Sometimes, a bus will stop but the phantoms will disappear. It is said that the spirits appear near the site where a bus fell off a ridge decades ago.
The Baguio Cathedral. Many priests and nuns refused to leave Baguio when the city was evacuated during WWII, and many of them were killed in the Baguio Cathedral. Some say that in the wee hours of the morning when everything is quiet, one can sometimes hear the soft moans of the dying.
Casa Vallejo. Casa Vallejo is a stylish boutique hotel located at the end of Baguio’s Session Road. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It was a German prisoner of war detention center in 1917 and was later used to house key American personages. Hotel guests have reported feeling like they’re being watched, and it is not uncommon for guests to quickly check out at odd hours of the night, refusing to return. That said, the place is still worth a visit because of the businesses it houses: there is Hill Station, one of the best restaurants in Baguio; Mt. Cloud Bookshop, which specializes in Asian-published books (and whose resident spirits like to recommend reading material by dropping books onto unsuspecting browsers); the Baguio Cinematheque, that sometimes shows hard-to-find Filipino films; and the neighboring North Haven Spa, which offers local massage techniques alongside more regular fare.
Laperal White House. The Laperal White House is a beautiful mansion located along one of Baguio’s main roads (Leonard Road, just beside Teacher’s Camp). It’s pretty hard to miss. The American colonial structure was built in 1920 and was home to one of Baguio’s most prominent families. The house became a Japanese garrison during WWII, where it is believed that many people were tortured and killed.
People have heard voices arguing in empty rooms, and some visitors have felt an irrational unease when inside. The two most prominent ghosts are a woman who appears at one of the second-floor windows and a little girl who plays by the stairs. Locals believe that the little girl died when she escaped her nanny, ran into the street and got run over. The woman at the window is believed to be a nanny (no one is sure if she’s the girl’s nanny) who was killed in one of the bedrooms. The house was bought by a mall tycoon and is now a museum that focuses on bamboo artwork. Of course, people stop by for a taste of Laperal House’s ghostly history as well.
Teacher’s Camp. Teacher’s Camp is one of the most haunted places in an already pretty haunted city. The camp was set up over a hundred years ago to house and train teachers and is now used as a place for retreats and events.
There are stories of strange sounds and footsteps along an empty hallway. Popular ghost stories include the image of a crying lady in one of the kitchens and a headless priest roaming the property. There are also stories of guests waking up during the witching hour and coming face to face with a bloodied lady standing beside their bed.
Loakan Road. Loakan Road’s reputation as a bewitched area stems from the giant acacia tree that used to stand smack-dab in the middle. All efforts to cut it down have resulted in workers getting sick or into accidents. The tree died of natural causes in 2001, and it was only then that the local government was able to clear it from the road.
Hyatt Hotel. The Hyatt Hotel used to be one of the busiest hotels in the area. The structure crumbled during the strong earthquake that hit in 1990, trapping and killing many people. To this day, people have experienced strange apparitions, sounds and scents emanating from the ruins. Some say cries for help can sometimes still be heard. It is still common practice for motorists to honk their horns as they pass the ruins to warn passing spirits so they don’t get run over. The lot remains vacant; it is believed that not all the bodies have been recovered from the ruins, and some remain there to this day.
Diplomat Hotel. The honor of the most haunted hotel in Baguio City goes to the Diplomat Hotel. Now in ruins, the Diplomat started out as a Dominican monastery built at the turn of the century. Many of its residents were massacred during WWII – nuns and priests were beheaded; babies were killed. The seminary was converted into a hotel after the war, and even then, guests and employees have claimed to hear wailing at all hours of the day, and to see apparitions, some of them headless and carrying their own heads. The hotel closed in 1987 and lies in ruins today. The area is used for photo and video shoots, and is a regular haunt of paintball enthusiasts. Locals who live near the area say that they can still hear otherworldly sounds to this day.
Haunted Baguio Tour. It’s only recently that someone from Baguio has capitalized on the city’s supernatural history.
Visitors can now book Haunted Baguio Tours and be treated to the scary side of what could be the most haunted city in the Philippines. Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/baguiohauntedtour. (First appeared in MYS Universe blog, https://yvettetan.com/2016/10/12/baguio-the-haunted-city-of-the-philippine-north/.)