Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Dominican Hill and Retreat House

"Let's keep it as a happy-positive-sacred place"

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-my pagnapagna-
(October 1, 2016 a Saturday)

From a fastfood chain at Session road (6:03 am), I walked my way going to Naguilian road and along that road, I turned left at a branching road that passed by the Lourdes Grotto (6:29 am).
I kept walking uphill until I finally reached the gate to the old structure by the hilltop (around 6:40 am).
The gate was wide open and I've seen the security guard sitted on an elevated ground at the right side. At first, I thought that there would be some fees to be paid but I was wrong, there was none. Entry to the place was for free and i've read at a signboard hanging at the gate that it opens from six o'clock in the morning and closes at six o'clock in the afternoon.

The Historical marker at the front wall says:
Dominican Hill and Retreat House (1915)
Ipinatayo bilang bahay bakasyunan 
ng mga Dominikano sa Dominican 
Hill sa Baguio, 1913-1015. Idinesenyo 
ni Fr. Roque RuaƱo , o.p,
Pinasiyahan, 1915. Ginawang 
paaralan at pinangalanang 
Colegio de Santissimo  Rosario, 
1915-1918. Nagsilbing kanlungan ng
 mga pamilya at paring Dominikano 
noong panahon ng Hapon, 1942
-1945. Ginamit ng mga Hapon bilang 
huling tanggulan, 1945. Binomba
 ng mga sundalong Amerikano, 
Abril 1945; ipinaayos, 1945-1947. 
Ginawang Diplomat Hotel, 1973-
1987. Inilipat ng pagmamay-ari 
sa lungsod ng Baguio, 2005.

I went inside the building and noticed the life-size "standee" of Pope Francis and also of a kid beside it. For a moment, it looked uncanny.
There was a wooden counter at one side where there was a log book for visitors and realized, I was alone inside the building.
I steadily stood, felt the crisp morning cool air and then went around.
There were some few artworks hanging on the walls. The fireplace was there with remnants of half-burnt firewoods.
I walked along its corridors and into the atriums. At one of the corners of the corridors was a picture of a nun, it says something about one can take a picture garbed with the nun's attire.. something like that! At the lounge area's wall, there was a gallery of photographs. It showed some of the historical background of the building such as it was a venue for faith healings and no-knife surgeries.

Historical and Cultural Significance of the former Dominican House

- It is a manifestation of the triumph of Christianity,
Symbolism of Spirituality and power of the Church;

- The site is a symbol of Christian Education in the
City of Baguio and the entire Cordillera

- A visible statement of wealth of the church,
grandeur and richness. Truly, an Architectural jewel
 for the City of Baguio and the entire country as well.

- The Dominican building and its structure is an example
 of the Classic Architectural Design integrating
 colossal stone structures to withstand 
earthquakes and typhoons similar to structures
 built by the Dominican Order in the far 
North of Luzon island.

- The structure is monumental and has massive appearance 
which illustrates fortress and protective-like character, 
in response to pirates and other marauders. 
It usually manifested immense interpretation and fusion
 of the European Church, designs blended and constructed 
with the local materials and decorative motifs. 
It infused the consideration of the geological condition
 of Baguio City as prone to seismic movement.

- Historically, the Dominican House was the first building
 ever built in the City of Baguio that was considered
 earthquake resistant and with rain harvesting facility.

- The Dominican Building have been considered the first
 and the best grand house or edifice out of reinforced concrete
 in the City of Baguio during the 
Philippine American grand rule of the country.

- It is the last edifice depicting 20th century Architectural design
 in the City of Baguio.

(more to follow)

Unfortunately, the stairs to the second floor was gaited and it was locked. It must be off-limit to the public.

Dominican Hill and Retreat House
1913 - 1915   :Construction Period
1915 - 1917  :Colegio del Santissimo Rosario
1917 - 1940  :Dominican Retreat and Vacation House
1940 - 1945  :Refugee Center of the Dominicans
1945-1948  :Rehabilitation Period
1948 - 1972  :Dominican Retreat and Vacation House
1972 - 1986  :Diplomat Hotel Inc.
1986 - 2004  :Presidential Management Staff
2004 - date  :Baguio City Heritage Hill and Nature Park
Declared Cultural Property by the
National Historical Commision
of the Philippines

Some group of people, three to five of them, arrived but they never ventured inside the building and left after they took their selfies.
After few minutes, I went outside and into the back of the building. Roamed around and went to the edge to see the distant Mount Santo Tomas but it was obscured by the pine trees and overgrowth of shrubs. Instead, I saw these padlocks hanging on the cyclone wire fence and they were two to three dozens of them. 

It's now in Baguio at the Dominican Hill and Retreat House"; The second in the Philippines

Going down and near the entrance gate was this peculiar building with two slabs of concrete serving as its A-type roof and wall. I went to see the sign on a pedestal fronting the structure and found out that it was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

*C E R T I F I C A T E*
measured 152.90 square meters (1645.8 square feet)

After some few attempts to do some sketches of the "Diplomat Hotel" that failed (trouble concentrating), I left the area and walk my way down the road (7:50 am). Passed-by the turning point of passenger jeeps and kept on walking until I arrived in front of the Lourdes Grotto (8:07 am). There I rode a jeep bound for downtown City of Baguio.

-end of pagnapagna-

After I had a hard time saving the edited video (Halloween version) while the mellow version (as shown below) was saved and uploaded with ease, I realized that perhaps it was a sign that I should not be adding up on the already badly beaten up reputation of the place where people go there for "ghost-hunting" and the spirits perhaps do not want them to be "scary" and branded as such.

Let's keep the place a happy-positive-sacred place and dwell in its historical significance.

     Subject: Dominican Hill and Retreat House a.k.a. Diplomat Hotel
     Location:   Barangay of 
                      City of Baguio,
                      Province of Benguet
     How to get there:
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