BAGUIO City Councilor Lilia Fariñas is moving for the funding of the Diplomat Hotel through an ordinance which will ensure the development of the space into a heritage hill and nature park with a museum and venue for the arts.
Fariñas said the establishment of the hotel as a museum and venue for visual and performing arts will not only give artists who need venues which the site can offer for the exhibition of their art and talent, but also an opportunity to generate income that can be directed toward the rehabilitation of the place.
Fariñas has designated the City Environment and Parks Management Office as museum curator and lead agency for the maintenance of the area in the proposed law which will oversee the area.
Today, the city and the Baguio Heritage Hill Committee is slowly making it into a heritage hill and nature park for its historical significance to the city.
Ruben Cervantes’ book “the Grand House, The Dominicans Built, Before and Now,” details the history and importance of the structure which dates back to early 1900s.
According to the book, it was the Dominican Order in the Philippines that decided the construction of the hotel in 1913.
It was started by Father Roque Ruano, a civil engineer from the University Of Santo Tomas (UST), who designed and built the main building of the UST, eight years after building the Dominican Home in the City.
Construction was completed in May 1915.
The two-story rectangular building has two interior courtyards with eight large rooms for the first and second floors while at the rooftop is a Gyronny Cross of the Dominican Order.
The design is based on the Spanish Dominican baroque architecture. The building was the first building ever built in the City that was considered earthquake-resistant and with a rain harvesting facility.
The building was first used as a school, the Colegio del Santissimo Rosario, then a vacation home, a refugee center, then a vacation home again and finally a hotel in 1973.