Some of you may know that I majored in tourism when I was in college. However, only a few people know about one of my main interests in this area: dark tourism.
Dark tourism is the study of places dealing with death, tragedy, and horror. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in such places. So interested, in fact, that I proposed the topic to my college BFF Kat for our undergraduate thesis. After all, I’ve always been a fan of horror and macabre, so it’s only natural that I would go down that route, isn’t it?
Today, I’m going to share the 7 scariest places to visit in Baguio City based on our research, plus the horror stories that go along with them.
I have to warn you though, these places are not for the faint of heart. Keep that in mind if you’re planning to go for a spooktacular adventure to discover Baguio City’s most haunted sites!
1. Teacher’s Camp
The Horror Story
A group of friends decides to stay in one of the dormitories-turned-transient-homes inside Teacher’s Camp. Come midnight, one girl wakes up to the sound of heavy footsteps and knocks outside their door. She gets up, still sleepy, and opens the door, thinking it’s just one of her friends who might have used the restroom. Nobody comes in so she decides to leave the door open before coming back to bed. Suddenly, she hears the sound again, this time much worse: the sound of someone dragging their chain-bounded feet on the floor, slowly getting closer and closer to their open room.
Behind Teacher’s Camp
From the outside, Baguio’s Teacher’s Camp is seen as a premier event and training center for professionals, especially teachers, from all around the Philippines. Built in 1908 to serve this purpose for American ‘Thomasite’ teachers, the camp has already seen countless stories, both of success and horror alike.
During World War II, Japanese soldiers used the site to hold hundreds of people captive. Numerous people are said to have been beheaded and killed at the camp, making it no surprise to hear all the horror stories culminating in the place. Top 7 scariest places to visit in Baguio City, you say? There’s no way Teacher’s Camp can’t make it into the list.
My Personal Experience
In all our travels together, this is probably one thing that Kat and I will always remember. We stayed at the Teacher’s Camp for 3 nights as part of our study and we personally experienced something scary during our stay on the 3rd floor of a transient home.
We were unpacking our bags on the first day when Kat told me she needed to pee, so I accompanied her to the common restroom. While I was waiting for her, we heard some people talking in Ilokano (Baguio’s local language) outside. Nothing too strange, right? It actually comforted us a bit, knowing that there were other people in the transient home aside from the lone caretaker downstairs.
Later on, as we were about to leave to conduct our research, we asked the caretaker how many people were staying on the same floor as us. He said that there was another family staying for the night. We were about to breathe a sigh of relief when he added, “Mamayang gabi sila dadating. Solo po muna kayo ngayon. (They’ll be arriving later tonight. You’re the only ones there right now.)”
Teacher’s Camp is open 24/7, and you can stay in transient homes for as low as 300PHP (6USD) a night.
2. Loakan Road
The Horror Story
A taxi driver is on his way back home when he /gets flagged by a lady dressed in all white by the side of the road near Loakan. He picks her up and asks her where she’s going, but she says nothing. After a minute or two, he looks in the rearview mirror to ask her again, but to his surprise, there’s nobody sitting in his backseat. It’s as if the lady just vanished into thin hair.
Behind Loakan Road
Exit Teacher’s Camp and you’ll come face to face with this infamous haunted road in Baguio City. The road itself is already eerie in the dark, thanks to the rows of pine trees by its side, poorly-lit spots, and a naturally foggy atmosphere. What makes it even scarier though, is the story of the ghost that roams the site, looking for poor folks to spook at night.
According to local urban legends, the White Lady of Loakan, as she’s called, was a rape and murder victim whose body was dumped in the area. To this day, she hitchhikes random taxis and cars, still hoping to find her killer. Many locals would advise avoiding this road completely in the dark as there have already been multiple accidents. allegedly due to frightened or surprised drivers. This and other ghostly encounters make Loakan Road one of the scariest places to visit in Baguio City.
Loakan Road is a public road accessible 24/7.
3. Japanese Tunnel
The Horror Story
A couple is busy teasing each other while walking inside the tunnels for fun. Out of nowhere, somebody taps the man on the back. He turns around, but there’s nobody there. The two get back to their antics. This time, the man feels another tap, harder than before. Now annoyed, the man tells his girlfriend that someone’s playing a prank on them. They decide to check the inner tunnels for the prankster. Inside one, they see a shadowy figure. The woman lights up the tunnel with her phone, only to find a man dressed in an old soldier’s uniform, with a bayonet still stuck in his chest.
Behind Japanese Tunnel
Back in the 1940s, the Japanese were said to have built numerous tunnel complexes underneath Baguio City in order to serve as emergency escape routes from their enemies. Today, the opening to the tunnels can be found inside Baguio Botanical Garden. Rumor has it that this is also where Yamashita stored his famed Yamashita Treasure, but of course, there’s no scientific evidence that this treasure even exists in the first place. Nevertheless, all these stories make it one of the scariest places in Baguio City, that’s for sure.
Japanese Tunnel is located inside Baguio Botanical Garden. It’s free to enter and open every day from 6AM to 6PM.
4. Secret Cemetery
The Horror Story
A young family is resting on the patio of their lodge at Camp John Hay, watching the sun set over the trees after a fun but tiring day. Later on, while the wife brings the kids inside, the husband hears something strange in the distance. He realizes it’s the sound of native drums, seemingly coming from nearby. Assuming it’s just from a parade of sorts, he thinks nothing of it, continuing to look out the patio. As the sound of humming drums comes closer and closer, he decides to check it out just to see what kind of event is underway. To his surprise, it disappears the moment he steps out, the same time as strangely-shaped shadows on the road run in different directions.
Behind Secret Cemetery
Many say that the reason why Camp John Hay is one of the scariest places to visit in Baguio City is because of its rich history. According to some urban legends, one area inside Camp John Hay actually used to be a burial site for native tribes living in the area. When the Americans came and transformed Baguio into the city it has now become, the natives were forcefully driven out of their native lands. The Americans then decided to turn the area into a military base, building over the burial sites completely.
It sounds like the plot of a new Poltergeist movie, sure, but there are chances that it could be true. The local government is notorious for continuously forgetting to maintain old sites, even those with historical importance. In 2014, a US Navy veteran expressed his disappointment at the CJH admin allowing cows to ‘desecrate’ the WWII cemeteries inside the area, where almost 500 war vets are buried. “If only veterans buried there could talk.”
Secret Cemetery is a hidden site inside Camp John Hay. I’m not sure about the exact location, but it’s near some lodge accommodations. Have fun looking for it inside!
5. Murder Woods
The Horror Story
Three friends are out drinking and experiencing the nightlife at the famed Camp John Hay. It’s a wild night. One of the friends, too drunk to know what he’s doing, stumbles outside and finds himself face to face with the entrance of a densely packed forest nearby. Deciding it’s a good time to pee, he enters the forest, just in time for his friends to see him go inside. The two friends call out to him, to no avail. They also try calling his mobile phone but they can’t even reach him. Eventually, they had to call authorities to do a search, but their friend was never found. Authorities ruled it off as a runaway case, but to this day, the two remaining friends claim that they really did see their friend enter the forest, never to be seen again.
Behind Murder Woods
To be honest, I can’t find any sources regarding Camp John Hay’s Murder Woods, except for Pine City Fright Tours. According to Mr. Fright, the place got its moniker way back during the Japanese and American occupation in the Philippines. Apparently, soldiers would take their prisoners here and kill them on the spot. The site is also a dumping ground for bodies, which makes its name quite suitable.
Other than that, there isn’t much documentation regarding this place. This seems to be one of those things that will forever remain to be an urban legend, or perhaps a horror story to be passed down from one generation to another. Certainly, one for the books, if you’re talking about the scariest places to visit in Baguio City, that is.
Murder Woods is also inside Camp John Hay!
6. Laperal ‘White’ House
The Horror Story
A young woman and her friend were passing by the famed Laperal White House. As they pass by, she begins to retell an urban legend about the place. Scared, the other girl tells her to stop. She laughs, saying it’s all just a joke and that the stories aren’t true. They both look again at the house, only to see the face of a girl looking down at them from the attic window.
Behind Laperal House
Once you find out the backstory behind the house, you’ll see why this makes the list of the scariest places to visit in Baguio City.
There are many stories as to how the Laperal House, or the White House as it’s commonly called, became so haunted. Some say it was due to the Japanese occupation during World War II.
Others say it was already haunted right from the beginning. The house was formerly owned by Don and Dona Roberto and Victorina Laperal. It was built back in the early 1900s and served as the family’s summer home. They had six children and a nanny who took care of the younger kids. One by one, everyone in the family started dying. From the nanny who apparently killed herself up in the attic to the father who died on the steps of the house, nobody was spared.
Over the years, the house has turned into a popular tourist site in Baguio. Currently, it is closed to the public, but many visitors still report seeing strange shadows or hearing noises. It is said that sometimes, the little girl can still be seen waiting at the entrance, to this day.
My Personal Experience
My most recent visit to Baguio was actually just earlier this year when I went with K, my dad, and a couple of other family members for a two-night getaway from the city life.
I was determined to show my cousins all the scary sites on this list, but since my dad was the one driving (and believe me, he’s the biggest scaredy-cat of them all) he wouldn’t allow us to even step foot in any of them. He did relent when it came to the Laperal ‘White’ House, however, since it was just along the way.
We convinced him to slow down just as we were nearing the White House. I began retelling the story to my creeped-out cousins as we all looked out at the house, taking the entire view in.
Later on, when we got home, we began discussing the house again. This is where the spooky part begins. We all remembered seeing a vehicle parked in front of the house, but we couldn’t agree as to what it was. I saw an old red coupe, Sza says she saw a blue Beetle, while Tine saw the weirdest one of the three: a brightly-colored Filipino-style jeepney with the word “survivor” written at the side. After a few minutes of stubbornly insisting on what we each saw, we finally looked at the few snaps that we took when we passed by the house. Guess what?
There was no car parked there at all.
White House used to be open to tourists, but now you can only look at it from the outside.
7. Old Diplomat Hotel
The Horror Story
A couple is hanging out at the Old Diplomat Hotel. They decide to play hide and seek. The girl hides, while the guy counts to ten. Finally, he begins his search. He hears her giggling in one of the rooms. Smirking to himself, he follows the sound, but upon arriving at the room, he realizes there’s no one there. His girlfriend then appears, surprising him. Feeling a bit creeped out, the guy tells his girlfriend that they should probably go. She laughs and then stops, a horrified look on her face. They run out screaming, as the headless priest dressed in all black stands still inside the room.
Behind Diplomat Hotel
No list of Baguio City’s most haunted sites would be complete without the Old Diplomat Hotel.
The hotel was originally built in 1911 as a retreat house for Dominican priests. In World War II, the building served as a refugee camp until it was hit by the Japanese. Reconstruction began in 1947 and went on for a year, finishing in 1948. In the ’70s, Diplomat Hotels, Inc. acquired the hotel and opened it as a 33-bedroom hotel. It was managed by Tony Agpaoa, a part-time faith healer who falsely claimed to cure people of all kinds of ailments using his hands alone. This continued until 1982 when Agpaoa died from a heart attack at the age of 42.
As the years went by, Diplomat Hotel fell into ruins, giving it its current dilapidated look. In 2005, the city of Baguio took over the property, but by then, urban legends were already permeating the hotel’s walls. With stories talking about headless priests and disembodied cries, how Diplomat Hotel not be one of the scariest places to visit in Baguio City?
Old Diplomat Hotel is free of charge and it’s open from 8AM-5PM daily. If you want to stay after 5PM, you’ll have to arrange a private tour, just like we did.
Pine City Fright Tours
If you’d like to visit all of Baguio’s scariest places at once, I recommend that you check out Pine City Fright Tours. Some of the photos I used in this post were actually taken during my Fright Tour with Kat early last year. We paid around 900 PHP (18 USD) per person for a 4-hour tour.
Don’t let his looks fool ya, the owner and tour guide, Mr. Anton Villa-Abrille, is a very nice and approachable man. At first, Kat and I were a bit hesitant to interview him for our thesis because he wore all-black and looked kinda menacing, literally looking like a real-life Felonius Gru from Despicable Me. But, as it turns out, he’s actually really nice–just like Gru! He’s well-traveled and knows a lot about sites like the ones listed above. He’s also very knowledgeable about Baguio City in general and will tell you everything you need to know, and more.
Just don’t call them dark tourism sites as he doesn’t really agree with the labels! 🙂 For more details, check out Pine City Fright Tours’ official Facebook page.
So, what do you think? Do you like dark tourism sites? Have you ever gone to any of the scariest places to visit in Baguio City? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!
til our next adventure,