Philippine Daily Inquirer - - PROPERTY -

One of Baguio City’s fa­mous land­marks, Diplo­mat Ho­tel, is known as an aban­doned haunted struc­ture.

But be­fore the build­ing be­came a ho­tel, it was orig­i­nally a re­treat house of the Do­mini­can fri­ars called the Do­mini­can Hill and Re­treat House.

The orig­i­nal re­treat house was built in 1913 when the Amer­i­can colo­nial gov­ern­ment be­gan pop­u­lat­ing the moun­tain city by auc­tion­ing parcels of land. The Do­mini­cans built the earth­quake-re­sis­tant re­treat house so they could es­cape the trop­i­cal heat of Manila dur­ing sum­mer.

It was in­au­gu­rated in 1915 as a school named Cole­gio del San­tis­simo Rosario to evade colo­nial gov­ern­ment taxes im­posed on “grand houses.”

The school was shut down three years later and be­came a re­treat house that was of­ten vis­ited by Span­ish fam­i­lies of Iloilo, Cebu and Manila.

When Ja­pan in­vaded the Philip­pines in 1941, Baguio City be­came the head­quar­ters of the Ja­panese Im­pe­rial Army who turned the Do­mini­can build­ing into a pris­on­ers-ofwar camp. The Do­mini­can house did not sur­vive the war, as por­tions of the build­ing turned into rub­ble.

In 1974, the Do­mini­cans sold the prop­erty and the re­treat house was con­verted into the 33-room Diplo­mat Ho­tel. The ho­tel closed in the ’ 80s when one of its own­ers, faith healer An­to­nio Ag­paoa, passed away.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, there were ghost sto­ries of march­ing hooded fri­ars, Ja­panese sol­diers, and wail­ing ba­bies dur­ing the last years of the ho­tel.

When the ho­tel closed, it was looted and can­ni­bal­ized. The city gov­ern­ment had been re­build­ing the struc­ture inch by inch, but at a pace slowed down due to mea­ger fi­nances.

It has since be­come a pop­u­lar spot for ghost hunt­ing or as the lo­ca­tion shoot for hor­ror films due to its chill­ing baroque façade.

On Sept. 1, 2014, the Do­mini­can house was de­clared an im­por­tant cul­tural prop­erty by the Na­tional His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion of the Philip­pines.

The city gov­ern­ment has then clas­si­fied the prop­erty as a her­itage hill and nat­u­ral park, and had urged the pub­lic to sug­gest how it should be pre­served.


Also lo­cated in Baguio City is the Laperal man­sion, known as the “White House,” which has its share of tales of hor­ror and cru­elty.

The Laperal man­sion is a Vic­to­rian house built in the ’30s on a 4-hectare prop­erty near Teach­ers’ Camp. It was owned by Roberto Laperal.

Care­tak­ers and helpers of the house have passed on ghost sto­ries about the man­sion.

Lito Calvo, the house’s gar­dener for over a decade, pre­vi­ously said in a re­port that long­time care­taker “Ate Lina” had told him the house was taken by Ja­panese sol­diers from the Laperal fam­ily dur­ing World War II.

The place served as the house of the Ja­panese and was also the site of many killings. The rooms and sec­tions of the house were wit­nesses to the cru­elty of the Ja­panese sol­diers, he said.

Another long­time care­taker, Alma Ramos, said that women were raped in the bed­rooms, while Filipino men who were ac­cused of spy­ing for the Amer­i­cans were tor­tured and killed. A house help sup­pos­edly com­mit­ted sui­cide in the man­sion.

Vis­i­tors with a third eye claim that rest­less spir­its lived in the house. Calvo and Ramos also re­counted some spooky in­stances, such as strange foot­steps in the base­ment, doors and win­dows be­ing shut­tered, im­ages mov­ing by the win­dows, and lights turn­ing on and off.

But the others, who have been to the Laperal man­sion, re­port­edly said it was just an art deco mas­ter­piece, and not re­ally that scary.

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