Every Halloween episode on Philippine TV features a Baguio ghost story. Almost everyone in the place has a ghost story to tell and they don’t even have to camp overnight in old ruins to be haunted. The place is quite old and there were a lot who died on two significant occasions in the city’s history that would warrant the lingering presence of restless spirits. There was that episode in World History when the Japanese and the Americans brought their war to the city and there was that devastating 1990 earthquake. Hell, yeah, it makes Baguio the perfect place to hunt for ghosts or for ghosts to haunt.
I myself got curious about those stories so elaborately told on TV every November 1st where people would be shown screaming and running from something unseen and psychics would be shown either talking to the dead or giving their analysis on orbs and impressions on talcum powders. I am drawn to the supernatural. Unfortunately, the supernatural is not drawn to me.
So this year, I decided to poke around two of Baguio’s most featured haunted areas: Diplomat Hotel and the White House. History in a nugget: Diplomat Hotel used to belong to a faith healer known as Tony Agpaoa. The place has a long history that traces back before the World War II bombings. After Agpaoa died, the place shut down and was left untended. Years later, people would claim to experience some ghost sightings around the area. The White House is owned by a prominent Baguio family, the Laperals. My friend pointed out a case assigned to us in class where one of the Laperals was a party. It’s an interesting family but their house gained more interest among ghost hunters because of the ghost stories the caretaker experienced in her years of looking after the house.
Nah, I will not retell ghost stories here. It’s a shame I can’t though. I was hoping I could when I went to visit these famous ghost sites. As I mentioned earlier, I went with three buddies to try and experience what these ghost hunters experienced.
We first went to Dominican Hill. There are jeepneys going up to Diplomat Hotel but it stops just outside the old hotel’s gates. You can also take a taxi, any Baguio driver would know where Diplomat Hotel is. While we were on our way there, my expectations were heightening. Fog thickening as the jeep approached the place. I thought it was perfect for a ghost-hunting experience. It was chilly and the place looked somber. Disappointment followed shortly. They were renovating the hotel and they closed the staircases leading up to the big cross where the most supernatural experiences were supposedly felt. No ghosts made their ghostly selves be seen or felt to us that day.
As soon as we realized no ghosts were going to introduce themselves to us that afternoon, we headed to the White House. By that time, my camera’s battery ran out of charge and no one else brought a camera. Our camera phones weren’t photo-friendly too. I saved whatever amount of charge I had to take pictures of my friends. The afternoon sun was glorious that day. There was a Bamboo Exhibit going on in the White House so the place was open. I don’t know about the other people who went there but we were there, primarily, for the ghosts. The exhibit was just an added bonus. The artists who made the art exhibits were brilliant. The designs were intricate and imaginative. The ghosts, however, paid us no mind as we roamed around the White House. I fell in love with one of the bedrooms. It was so well-lighted by the afternoon sun that I thought it was a perfect place to study. I didn’t feel anything unusual except for the stuffy air in one of the bedrooms despite having opened the balcony doors and windows. No exciting pictures because the camera died so let me just show you a glimpse of the house’s fireplace and how you can do creative shots with it.
No ghosts. Maybe next Halloween, huh?
There’s always something wild and unusual to do in Baguio. It’s never boring in this pine-scented (at least in most areas) city. I grew up in the city and up to now, in my 20+ years of existence (okay, I’m exaggerating here, it’s not that long), I can still find new adventures just around. Ghost-hunting, food trip, trekking, art admiration, massage/spa hopping, and a whole lot more.