The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

Baguio City is undoubtedly one of the places in the Philippines that's rich with ghost stories. Given its history {the many who perished in the big earthquake of 1991}, some flock the City of Pines not just to feel its cool breeze and eat strawberries. They want to see ghosts!

Unlike them, I don't seek ethereal beings whenever I go to Baguio. I really love the city. I love the cool weather and the people are amazingly friendly {it's probably because of their nice weather}. I prefer this city over beaches. 

I have a lot of love for dilapidated-but-previously-magnificent buildings. I was really glad when my brother brought us to the Diplomat Hotel. It was my first time to go there. I've been hearing a lot of spooky things about the place which really piqued my interest. The first time we went was around past 8 in the evening. My brothers and my sister's love slave were up for some ghost hunting that night. I don't believe in ghosts, but I wanted to know if the stories were true, so I went. The guard frobade us to go inside the building, so we just walked around the grounds. Did we see anything?

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

There was all. We didn't feel, hear or encounter any spirits. Not that we were bummed about that or anything. We were very much thankful, of course!

I insisted on going back the following morning to take shots of the Diplomat Hotel and survey the once  glorious place. We got there around 9 in the morning. The first thing that you'll notice about the place, aside from the Diplomat Hotel itself, is the breathtaking view. I mean, wow! It's a 360 degree view of Baguio City! It's similar to the Palace in the Sky. This place is definitely going in my If-I-win-the-lottery list! 

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

The Diplomat Hotel is situated on top of a hill {Dominican Hill} near the Lourdes Grotto. It reminds me of that antiquated Gothic castle overlooking a neighborhood from the movie Edward Scissorhands.

In 1911, the Dominican Order bought the place from its previous American owners and turned it into their place of sanctuary. During WWII, many sought refuge in the area; but when the Japanese soldiers found them, they bombed the place.

It wasn't until 1973 when a businessman slash faith healer, Tony Agpaoa, renovated the building and turned it into a 33-bedroom hotel to house his European clients. The Diplomat Hotel closed down in 1987 following the death of Agpaoa. We were told that the hotel was set on fire by Agpaoa in the early 80's for insurance money. 

The 17-acre property was turned over to the local government. Though the place is still popularly known as the Diplomat Hotel, the complex was actually renamed as The Baguio Dominican Heritage Hill and Nature Park.

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

The facade of the Diplomat Hotel 

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

Back of the Diplomat Hotel

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

Main entrance

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

According to the caretaker, the open courtyard {one of the two} is where the Japanese troops beheaded the Dominican friars. I don't know if that's true or if she was adding a spooky feel to our tour there. If she was trying to do the latter, it worked! Dang, she's good.

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

The only thing that puzzled me about our trip to the area was the fact that it was eerily cold inside the Diplomat Hotel. The temperature inside was far colder {really cold} than the outside. Considering the absence of most of the windows and doors, one would logically conclude that the inside and outside temperature should be equal. I don't know what the scientific explanation for that was. Maybe, the cooler night air gets trapped in? We turned to the caretaker for some explanation, but all she said was it's always been like that. 

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

Hallway on the second floor where, apparently, majority of the ghostly apparitions happen. At the end of the hallway is a terrace where the Dominican cross is located. That area was where Agpaoa's nurse jumped to her death. The caretaker told us that they could hear the nurse shouting and crying sometimes. Again, I don't know if that's true or not, but it scared the hell out of us!

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

I read a Rappler article last year about how we treat our heritage as garbage. I agree with that wholeheartedly. We have so many building and national treasure that we take for granted. We ask for new things, better things, more things that we tend to overlook the ones we already have.

The local government's plan to rebuild the Diplomat Hotel and turn it into a tourist spot is something that's truly commendable and quite "un-Filipinoish". They're currently trying to raise PhP 80 million to turn their vision into a reality. When we visited the area, it looked like they were really doing their best to make it happen.

A part of the second floor of the Diplomat Hotel has already been renovated {below}. Architect Joseph Alabanza's vision for the area is to make it more rustic by dominating the interior with red bricks and wood. The multi-purpose function hall can be rented for as low as PhP 3,000. It's a lovely place for different events and photo shoots, just like The Ruins in Bacolod.

The Eerily Magnificent Diplomat Hotel Baguio

They were doing intensive cleaning all throughout the building and the surrounding area the day we went there. The caretaker told us that some guests from MalacaƱang Palace will arrive later that afternoon to check the improvements made in the area.

I really do hope that the local government's dream for the Diplomat Hotel will be fulfilled. I hope that they'll make it come true. Please make it come true.......or wait for me to win the lottery.

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