Resurrecting Memories of The Diplomat Hotel
When is the last time that you have gone into a haunted place? And how was the experience? Was it creepy as what you have imagined? Or was it boring and very uneventful?
I believe it’s human nature that our brain sparks curiosity to any places or things that have a mystery in it. We still decide to check them out, because, well, why not? We go even if it is creepy enough to raise the little hairs at the back of our neck. Because we ought to think that we might regret it. That we’ll regret it soon if we won’t discover what is really behind in that mystery.
That is what I experienced before going to the ruins of The Diplomat Hotel in Baguio City, Philippines. I was, in all honesty, a scaredy-cat to go. But of course, I don’t want to miss the chance of exploring it. Even if I heard and watched countless of creepy stories about it. So, how did I overcome fear?
Let me share the story of my adventure in the famous, haunted The Diplomat Hotel. Resume reading and find out how did it go. Did I encounter spiritual entities? Were there paranormal sightings? How was the feeling?
Observe and check out the photos I gathered as you scroll down. And I will let you decide if there really was something creepy caught on my camera.
But before everything else, let’s go back to the history of our main subject. Let’s understand why and how did The Diplomat Hotel become abandoned and haunted. And now a famous tourist spot of Baguio City.
Known also as the Dominican Hill Retreat House, the hotel is an abandoned building atop of Dominican Hill, Baguio City. Built in 1913, the American Friars planned its construction to serve as a vacation house for Dominican priests and nuns. Fr. Roque Ruaño designed the structure and supervised the construction and finally inaugurated on May 1915.
But on June 1915, they set it up as a seminary school, naming it Colegio del Santissimo Rosario. However, they eventually closed it after two years due to very small enrollment. And they decided to use the building as a vacation house again.
When World War II occurred, people used this building as a refuge from the Japanese Imperial Army. However, the Japanese forces invaded it and made it as their last bastion and garrison. Accordingly, this retreat house was also their place for barbaric acts. They tortured, raped and decapitated priests, nuns, and refugees.
On April 1945, the American forces bombed this building and damaged a part of the right-wing.
The Japanese forces committed suicide then. Restored in 1945 to 1947, it was only in 1973 when the owner had transferred to the Diplomat Hotels, Inc. The company acquired and transformed it into a hotel, which then Tony Agpaoa managed it.
Tony Agpaoa was a businessman, psychic surgeon, and a spiritual healer. His patients who came mostly from abroad stayed here during the process of their healing. Accordingly, there were a lot of strange incidents happened, resulting in the death of people staying at the hotel.
Several years ago, the hotel suffered from a huge fire incident that trapped and killed many guests. A caretaker also firmly stated that a nurse committed suicide by jumping off exactly from the cross of the rooftop. And Tony Agpaoa, himself, also died here inside the hotel, due to a heart attack. Since then, The Diplomat Hotel of Dominican Hill stopped its operation and closed temporarily.
People living near the hill testified that they could hear strange and terrifying cries and sounds from the abandoned building. The loud banging of doors and windows and screams of agonizing people would disturb the people at night.
Becoming a Tourist Spot
In 2005, the Presidential Management Staff declared the hotel as a National Historical Site. They renamed it to Dominican Heritage Hill and Nature Park. They also conveyed that the property would be under the responsibility of the City Government of Baguio. Thus, it has the obligation for the restoration and rehabilitation of the old building. They also established a park, and on May 2012, Baguio initiated two function halls in the hotel.
What happened on my tour…
I could still remember the time when my friends and I went to the famous, haunted The Diplomat Hotel. Months before it, I watched a documentary, featuring the building. It told lots of creepy stories about it — the personal experiences of the people visited the sight.
Some visitors said they had nightmares about nuns and other spiritual entities every night since their tour. Of course, that was a documentary film, so expect the eerie visualization of the paranormal sightings. Some claimed they caught apparitions on their camera, convinced that many ghosts were still lurking in the abandoned hotel.
But those weren’t the reason why I became so afraid to visit the heritage site. It was because a paranormal expert said that some of the ‘entities’ come along with the visitors when they leave. The presence of those entities in the haunted hotel decreases overtime. Because they couldn’t return to the old building, and they stay with whoever they have come along.
How creepy is that?! How could you go to a place, knowing you might attract a ghost and it will come with you when you get home?
Well, in spite of that thought, I still gave it a go. Not because I gathered a huge amount of courage, but because my curiosity was killing me. Besides, I didn’t want to stay in the car alone!
So as we walked to the hill, my knees were literally shaking. And soon as we arrived, my jaw dropped, and the first word I uttered was a silent, “Wow.”
The exterior design of the structure was magnificent.
Even though I had seen it already many times on the TV and internet, seeing it in person was different. Its architectural style was simple yet sophisticated. It definitely showed old age, though. But you would be thinking how many lives ended behind those stoned walls.
I didn’t feel too much fear when I got to the entrance of the hotel. Maybe because it was late in the morning, and there was a lot (yes, a lot!) of visitors when we arrived that day.
There were students as well around the area. And I could hear them asking questions to the guard. Like if he saw something creepy, or any other haunted stories in the hotel. Of course, kids love hearing those even though they are scared!
My friends and I roamed around the ground floor. There were wooden tables and chairs, and there were people gathering there. But what caught my attention was the stunning, old fountain at the center of the ground floor.
The fountain was tall, rising before the second floor of the building.
Luckily, we reached it working properly. There were also artworks and windchimes hanging on the walls.
Soon we climbed to the second floor. There were several empty and ruined rooms. Some of the rooms had old carpets rolled and stocked at the corner. There was also broken wooden chairs.
Most parts of the second floor had unfinished walls and vandalism was also evident. Maybe they didn’t continue polishing the walls during the rehabilitation.
We made our way to the rooftop. As I climbed to the stairs, I could feel my heart rate accelerated. I could barely breathe as well.
I felt a bit dizzy, but it wasn’t surprising, though. Because the building sits at the top of a hill and I climbed to the rooftop. The pressure it gave me made my body adjust big time.
But I never regret climbing to the rooftop!
I had the chance to see the perfect view of the whole city. The air was cold but refreshing. The sound of the chirping birds from the trees around the hotel made me calm. Plus, the huge cross stood at the center was strangely astounding. Never mind the story of the nurse who jumped off from there.
We stayed and roamed around the abandoned hotel for about more than a half-hour. Well, we still had a lot to visit that day so we didn’t stay longer.
What I encountered…
Since we went there in the morning and there were a lot of tourists, I didn’t feel any strange things. Maybe because the presence of humans was greater that day, that we couldn’t feel any dark energies lurking around.
I actually enjoyed our tour in The Diplomat Hotel, even if it was just roughly an hour of stay. Knowing and understanding the history of the place was indeed a great experience to cherish. And yeah, don’t worry about the ‘entities coming along’. Because I am pretty sure nothing came along with me. I prayed before I entered the hotel, anyway.
The authorities open The Diplomat Hotel for a day tour, only until 5 PM. I’m not sure if they allow visitors beyond those time. But maybe yes, as long as there are permissions. As far as I know, many people use this heritage site as a setting for photography and videos.
Oh, I remember there is one thing I encountered that made me freaked out. A standee with a photo of a girl! It was just around three-feet tall and stands near the entrance. I was busy taking pictures when I turned around, it suddenly appeared! (It was really there, I just didn’t notice it.)
I’m just not sure if I caught creepy apparitions on my camera. I didn’t check them very well because I don’t want to see them (if there are any).
Have you seen anything, though?
More photos on the galleries down below.