WANDERLUST| The haunting of Diplomat Hotel

GHOST stories in Baguio City are dime a dozen. If you count all the tales of the supernatural and the paranormal in Baguio, you might conclude that the entire city is haunted.

w2

In Baguio, you can find numeorus dwellings and buildings that possess all the factors needed to have them considered as haunted: presence of unexplained entities, eerie colonial houses, creepy old trees, gruesome history of torment and grief, add to that, its spine-tingling, chilly weather. One of the places we visited during our recent ghost hunting tour in Baguio was the spooky The Diplomat Hotel, a deserted structure situated atop Dominican Hill.

w4

“Like its current name, The Diplomat Hotel was originally built as a place for relaxation, but not for tourists. It was for the American friars of the Order of Preachers, or as we all popularly know as the Dominican Order,” revealed our tour guide, who also took us to the similarly infamous haunted dwelling, The Laperal House.

w8

Accroding to its history, the structure was built in 1911 when it was first utilized as a vacation house and a seminary. The Dominicans acquired the 17 hectare property from its former American owners.

The building was later transformed into a school, the Collegio Del Santissimo Rosario, which was inaugurated in May 1915. However, with insufficient enrollees, they closed down the institution and reverted it back as a guest house.

But war changed the tranquil atmosphere of this hilltop dwelling.

“Like other old structures in Baguio, the Second World War changed the face of its history,” he added, “It became a sanctuary of refugees who escaped from the Japanese Army. Sadly, they bombed the hill causing many death and severe damage to the building.

“It was reconstructed in 1947 but it was only in 1973 when it was acquired and transformed into The Diplomat Hotel that we know now, with psychic surgeon Tony Agpaoa as its manager,” he shared. The Diplomat Hotel was then a 33-bedroom modern hotel but kept some of the architectural elements established by the Dominican friars.

Since then, the hotel became a shelter of Agpaoa’s patients, who mostly came from abroad. The patients stayed in the hotel while being healed. I remember Agpaoa featured in documentaries abroad, including the campy “Shocking Asia”. In the movie, Agpaoa showed his uncanny way of treating his patiensts, using allegedly only his bare hands to “operate” on his conscious patients and leaving no trace of any slit. His psychic surgery method was later branded as a hoax by many.

It was also around this time when hotel staff and guests asserted that they would hear strange ghostly sounds at midnight and witnessed headless entities wandering around the hallway. They also heard the banging of doors and windows as well as voices of screaming people in pain.

“They say, they are the spirits of nuns and priests who were beheaded during the war,” he added. Years back, a fire was said to have burned a portion of the hotel, trapped some people inside and burned them alive. There was also one story about a former hotel nurse commtted suicide by jumping from the rooftop.

However, Agpaoa’s death was the last nail to The Diplomat Hotel’s coffin.. Agpaoa suffered a heart attack in 1987. Since his demise, the hotel ceased operations, was looted out and abandoned.

new

“To this day, crying apparently coming from kids and babies can also be heard. Innocent children were massacred at the fountain court area of the hotel,” he said.

This was also confirmed by our female companion who can see dead people with her “third eye”.

“The moment you guys alighted from the van, I saw spirits of the kids playing around you. They seemed to be oblivious of what happened to them,” she said.

She also saw a stern looking priest and several nuns apparently drifting with wind inside the structures dark hallways.

After exploring its gloomy passages and the rooftop, we left The Diplomat Hotel with a silent prayer. Some people may have treated the haunting with apathy. We thought that maybe, just maybe, those who died in there and their lost souls are in incessant search for peace in the after life. And maybe, if we offer them prayers, we can help release them from the earthly chains that burdened them for eternity.

Posted in Lifestyle