OLD DIPLOMAT HOTEL
The Old Diplomat Hotel is known for its ghost stories from people seeing headless entities and hearing screams, cries, and banging of doors. It is known as one of the haunted ruins in Baguio City. But what fascinated me more was the history that happened in this old building.
Before becoming the sophisticated and beautiful Diplomat Hotel in the 1970s, the building was built around 1913-1915 and started as a school called Colegio del Santissimo Rosario but closed down in 1917. Then, it became a retreat house named the Dominican Hill Retreat House for Dominican friars and vacationing prominent families from Manila, Cebu, and Iloilo during the summers. But then, World War 2 came, and the retreat house became a refugee center for the Dominicans and local people fleeing from the invaders. The Japanese soldiers took over the retreat house and made it their headquarters and garrison. The Japanese Military Police called Kempeitais made their investigations here and committed atrocities against their prisoners that people assumed to have led to the ghost stories we know.
Near the end of WW2, American Forces bombed the building to eradicate the remaining Japanese Soldiers thus damaging the old building. It went to restoration after the war and was acquired by Diplomat Hotels, Inc. under the management of a Baguio-based entrepreneur named Antonio Agapito Agpaoa. When Agapito suddenly died, the hotel ceased its operations and was left abandoned. It was looted and sacked. The 1990 Luzon Earthquake also left its mark on the building leaving it in ruins. In 1986, the property was turned over to the Presidential Management Staff and then they transferred the ownership to the City of Baguio and declared it as a Cultural Property by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
REBIRTH OF THE OLD DIPLOMAT HOTEL
In 2005, Baguio City rebranded it as the Dominican Heritage Hill and Nature Park. The city wanted it to be an Art Center where art events and exhibits will take place.
When we visited the Old Diplomat Hotel, the building was still in ruins and people were not allowed to enter. From the outside, we can see the eerie interiors of the building. We were very curious about what supernatural phenomena were taking place there but fortunately, we did not see or feel any scary presence. Just in front of the hotel is the historical marker and you can read a brief history of the building. At the back of the building, we explored a small park/garden and path surrounded by nature where we did a fun photoshoot.
Just this 2022, the Old Diplomat Hotel received a grant for its conservation and rehabilitation as a cultural hub of Baguio City for its art assets. Hopefully, with this action, its eerie side and brutal past will be forgotten and rebirthed into a symbol of hope and creativity for the city.
AFTER YOUR VISIT TO THE OLD DIPLOMAT HOTEL, YOU SHOULD ALSO EXPLORE MIRADOR HERITAGE AND ECO PARK.
TRAVEL GUIDE & TIPS
HOW TO GET THERE:
a. BY JEEPNEY:
- Ride a jeepney with a route of Dominican-Mirador and tell the driver to drop you off at the Diplomat Hotel. (Travel Time: 8-10 Minutes)
b. BY TAXI:
- Take a taxi and tell the driver to drop you off at the Diplomat Hotel. (Travel Time: 8-10 Minutes)
c. BY PRIVATE CAR RENTALS:
d. BY TRAVEL TOURS:
- Entrance Fee (Adults): ₱10.00
- Entrance Fee (Children): ₱5.00
- Parking Fee (Private Cars – First 2 Hours): ₱35.00
- Parking Fee (Motorcycles – First 2 Hours): ₱10.00
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CHECK OUT THESE DISCOUNTED/PROMO RATES IN KLOOK:
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- Website (Baguio Tourism): https://new.baguio.gov.ph/tourist-spots
- Operating Hours: 6:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Daily
- No reservations are required.
- Parking spaces are available inside the park.
- Currently, the structure is under rehabilitation, and entering the building is not allowed.
- A small cafeteria is located outside the building if you want to have some food and drinks.