GHOST stories may sound like old wives? tales to some, but in Baguio, it is the yuppies who tell such stories and end up scaring themselves. But then again, experiencing fright night seems infinitely better than just listening to scary stories or reading about them.
So where do you start?
Ghost hunter Chona Simbulan and some habitues of Baguio?s Rumours Bar on Session Road helped put together this map that follows Baguio?s dreaded horror trail. We rated these vaunted haunted places from:
K (Kilay lang ang tumaas or eyebrow-raising)
N (Nabanig, a Kankanaey term for experiencing a ghostly apparition)
1. Laperal House. Known in Baguio as the Addams Family?s summer house. On a foggy night, this white house with the pine trees in the background is the perfect locale for a nightmare. Built in the 1930s, the house is now owned by a taipan. People lucky enough to enter it say it is an art deco masterpiece and not really that scary. But no one dares sleep there. Rating: S.
2. Diplomat Hotel. It was built as a sanatorium for American Jesuit priests and an observatory in 1907. In the 1970s, the late faith healer Tony Agpaoa turned it into the Diplomat Hotel until his death in 1980. The hotel has since been in disarray and only weekend warriors armed with air rifles use it for their battles. Don Dacumos, a nurse, said he and his friends had planned to sleep there last year but then he saw a tree full of fireflies and knew this place should be rated as an N.
3. Hyatt Terraces Hotel grounds. Baguio?s most vivid image after the July 16, 1990 earthquake. The hotel toppled like a deck of cards, killing scores of guests and employees. Rating: N
4. Bokawkan Road. According to Simbulan, a dog-like creature sometimes appears near a house on this road where three people were killed. Also a recent landslide killed 19 people there. Rating: S
5. Cemetery along Loakan Road. Andy Singian, co-owner of Rumours, said his nephew and friends decided to steal a white metal cross there, after which they all had nightmares. When they decided to return the cross, they could no longer find it in their car. With his mother, Singian?s nephew decided to leave some flowers on the plot where they got the cross. To his surprise, there on the gate was the stolen cross wrapped with wires. Rating: N
6. The Ladies? Room of a big mall. A shopper reportedly met a bloodied fireman in the ladies? room of this mall. Old residents say it was the ghost of one of the four firemen who perished during a hotel fire in 1983. Rating: HR
7. Teachers? Camp. The lovesick Igorot ghost, the wandering Thomasite, the ghost party goers. These stories are all over the Internet. Rating: N
8. Baguio Cemetery. But of course, although only a few know that it was also the site of one of the bloodiest battles in Baguio during World War II. Rating: N
9. Some old houses on Quezon Hill. Simbulan said she experienced staying in one of the houses here where even the landlord had refused to sleep in. She had the same dream as one of her friends, of someone trying to open a closed door in the house. Another house in the same area, later turned into a karaoke joint, is also said to be haunted. Sit on a bench in this house and, people claim, you?ll get the feeling that someone is seated beside you. Rating: N
10. Pond in Hole No. 4 in Camp John Hay. Two years ago, a man drowned in the pond when he tried to retrieve some golf balls. Golfers who know the story say a little prayer before hitting their shots; otherwise, it is said, their golf balls will inevitably fall into the water. Rating: K
11. The old Baguio General Hospital building. According to Dr. Yvonne Soriano, when she was an intern here, she met the ghost of a girl in white at 2 a.m. A nurse also claimed that she saw bodies all over the BGH grounds. Rating: HR
12. Loakan Road. That spot where the pine tree used to stand in the middle of Loakan Road used to be haunted, people say. Taxi drivers have different stories about the White Lady of Loakan. Rating: HR
13. South Drive. Sometimes the Lady of Loakan takes a cab and stops there. Rating: HR
14. Nevada Square. The old Nevada Hotel on Loakan Road crumbled during the July 1990 earthquake, killing some guests. Rating: HR
15. Spirits Disco. The top Baguio discotheque in the 1980s, probably because its owners capitalized on its reputation as a haunted house. It later became a strip bar where a shootout happened on New Year?s Day. Rating: S
16. Baguio Cathedral. Hundreds died when American planes bombed the compound at the end of World War II. Rating: HR
17. Japanese tunnels at the Baguio Botanical Park (Centennial Park). Another relic from World War II. Rating: S
18. The Pine Grove at the University of the Cordilleras near the Athletic Bowl in Burnham Park. A writer hanged himself there. Rating: N
19. The Comelec building on Governor Pack Road. Phantom voters, most likely. Rating: K ?