Thursday , May 24, 2018

Baguio’s urban legends revisited

URBAN Legends in the city are stories, oddities, habits and perceptions which visitors and locals carry with them when they trek to the mountain haven or you get to believe when you live in the boondocks for some time.

These stories have been passed from generation to generation and for the longest time perceived to be a truth, however funny and insane, here is a collection of myths, facts, half-truths and half lies.

The Lady of Loakan Road

Yes, there is a white lady there, no doubt about it, ask the tough guys.

Grown cabbies and hardened Philippine Military Academy Officials will attest to it and even give you a tip or two to avoid seeing this apparition in white.

An Air Force Captain was driving towards the length of the legendary Loakan road and started talking about the lady in white.

The manly captain attested to the stories of PMA bus drivers who tread the road early in the morning and late at night who get the jitters every time they pass the long and winding road where the white ghost resides.

Lo and behold, the young captain then took a detour to Camp 7 and said he wouldn’t dare pass the road after talking about the lady in white.

No amount of military training would sway a military man to drive along the fog filled road in fear of a ghost.

The Loakan road tree

Loakan road tree and The Lady of Loakan road is somehow related.

Decades ago, a tree decided to grow in the middle of Loakan road, making vehicles dodge the act of nature all together and somehow prevented the DPWH from cutting it.

It is said the tree is haunted. Why?

There are a lot of stories and yes, you guessed it, it is related to the white lady of Loakan road, it is said the lady lives in the tree.

It is also said the lady will have revenge over whoever attempts to cut it.

This lady was rumored to have been raped decades ago and yes gorily hung on the tree or left there to die, the stories are sketchy and even an veteran reporters will get  the runaround.

Well here is where facts will separate the myths.

The DPWH finally cut the tree and the according to the research of sprit questers, the man who cut it died, a tree fell on him.

Yes, he was an employee of the DPWH and after he cut the Loakan road tree, months after an actual tree fell on him and he died.

The local Spirit questers interviewed the family of the unlucky man who cut the tree and it is true, he is dead a tree did fall on him.

Now when you traverse the length of Loakan road, there will be no tree, only the stories of locals who remember the curse of the lady in White and the memory of the deathly tree.

The ghosts at the Hyatt and Nevada hotel ruins

A lot of people died in that hotel, that is a fact, but there are no more ghosts at the Hyatt ruins, there aren’t even any “ruins” there to speak of.

According to Dion Fernandez, a trusted  spirit questor, spirits roaming at the Hyatt ruins have mercifully moved on.

Another myth to ghost hunter is the Nevada square of today which used to be a hotel where hundreds died in the earthquake of the 90’s.

Both hotels did see massive death but, today, all spirits have moved on and left the areas at peace.

Ghost hunters who still try to get a cheap thrill stalking the area for ghoulish finds will encounter a different ghost…. Who might go straight for your wallet.

The Diplomat Ruins

Atop the hill in Domican, the rectangular building stands still with its foundations strong relieving the glory of its once lively two storey; two interior courtyard area with eight large rooms for the first and second floors, stands in solitude overlooking the city.

At the pedestal at the rooftop is a Gyronny Cross of the Dominican Order, mythical looking now and a favourite for photo shoots and ghost hunting sessions.

The Dominican Order in the Philippines who decided in 1913 when construction started by Father Roque Ruano (OP), a civil engineers from the University of Santo Tomas who designed and built the main building of the University of Santo Tomas, eight years after building the Dominican Home in the City.

Construction was completed in May 1915 with a cost totaling P200,000.

The building was first used as school, the Colegio del Santissimo Rosario, then a vacation home, then as a refugee center, then a vacation home again and finally a hotel in 1973.

It has a spectacular view as well as ghostly feels worth the visit.

Casa Vallejo

Built in 1909, it’s the oldest hotel in the city; of course you would think there are ghosts there.

There was even a time it was abandoned and a favourite haunting ground for the fearless, but over the years.

It is said to have become a German Prisoner of War detention center in 1917. Dormitory 4 to house the employees of the Bureau of Public Works before the 1920s, when the American colonial government began populating Baguio and became a hotel in 1923.

Salvador Vallejo leased the hotel from the government in 1927 and converted it into a hotel; It became a British and Indian refugee center in 1940.

Together with Baguio Cathedral, it survived the Japanese carpet bombing during World War II in 1941 and has been named by the Baguio Centennial Commission as one of the 10 oldest institutions in the city.

Now it houses a book shop, a cinema, a spa, a restaurant and of course still functions as a hotel.