Camp John Hay

1041 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

January, 2018

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Product country

Product city

Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

“Camp John Hay”:, located on the outskirts of the Philippine city, Baguio, is a former US base, established in 1903 to provide R&R for weary armed forces personnel. It now boasts two hotels, including Le Monet, a duty-free shopping mall and small business areas – the Philippines is becoming noted for its call centres.

It also has an historical section which we walked to from “Le Monet”: The history was influenced by the US occupiers, although the camp was also used by the Japanese for prisoners of war when they invaded the Philippines.

Bell House, named after Major General Franklin Bell, was formerly the official residence of the Commanding General of the Philippines. On entering the distinctive white and green building, which had a superb wide wooden balcony running around it, we found rooms furnished as they would have been in the day.

Just outside was the Bell Amphitheatre, designed by the Major, who took inspiration from the Ifugao Rice Terraces. Now the area is full of colourful flowers and used for weddings etc.

The Cemetery of Negativism, also known as the Pet Cemetery, was a strange but fascinating place. The mock headstones with their weird spelling and comic book statues, made interesting reading. A trip here is meant to enlighten you.

Won’t B Used – Started 10 December 1906, Abandoned December 1906

It’s Not Possible – conceived 11 November 1905, Still not born

Boss Won’t Lettuce – A great idea 12 May 2007, Halted 1 September 2007

On arrival at the Tree-Top adventure centre, a very helpful girl explained our six options and the pricing and, having been offered a 20% pensioner discount, we set off on the Sky Walk where I overcame my fears of seeing daylight beneath my feet at the high viewing platform over a deep ravine. The canopy ride was in four stages and as we were the first riders of the day, we walked down a track to stage 4 and rode back up rather than riding down and walking back up. We blithely signed a disclaimer, were garbed up in harnesses and hard hats and after the obligatory photos, were strapped in individual side-by-side seats. At each stage, young staff helped us swap on to new seats. On the last stage, a remotely activated gopro took photos which were available once we landed. The journey took around 15 minutes and took us above the pine canopy and was well worth it.

We walked the 500m History Trail which took us through the ‘Whispering Pines’ in a loop under the Bell House and onwards to ‘Our Secret Garden’. It was a lovely shaded walk and dotted along the way, were signboards which told us the history behind CJH.

A Statue of Liberty, was erected in December 1981, is the same height as the original located at Point de Grenelle Bride in Paris.

In total contrast, the Mile Hi Centre had a smattering of fast food outlets and a collection of high-quality discount shops. Many were sporty (Adidas or Nike etc.) or multi-brands but we were not tempted or more honestly, as the Filipinos tend to be much smaller than Westerners, nothing would fit!

Helen Jackson

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