It’s day third, and it begins with a cup of coffee and a nice breakfast combo. It’s another inviting sunny day to go for a walk at Camp John Hay.
Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay is seriously the best place in Baguio for bloggers who wants to have a hippie kind of feel in their craft. It’s definitely perfect for all those ‘wanderlust’ photos; not to mention the tall pine trees, foggy atmosphere, seemed like endless roads, and parks.
It felt like I wasn’t in the Philippines.
Camp John Hay covers a lot of our itinerary for this third and last day. It is where the Butterfly Sanctuary is, and the famous Bell House Museum.
The camp is so wide yet only few take with them their vehicles. Most of the tourists walk because, as I said, it’s cold and it felt like walking seems to be a better option.
A lot of the tourists I saw are having a picnic with their families. Some are conducting their team building activities. Others play sports such as badminton and basketball. For people like us, we took photos of the scenery.
It’s a long walk if you want to go to the different hot spots in the camp. But you can always grab a taxi. That’s also the good part, there are many taxis in the camp to give you a ride.
As it is a camp, you can expect a lot of trees and plains. The must-visit spots are scattered in the area. It may take you a few more walks before reaching one place to another.
Here’s a little backstory. The native Ibalois in Baguio once owned the site where the camp is located. They call it Kafagway which means “a wide open place”. Later in 1903, then United States President Theodore Roosevelt signed a presidential order making 213 hectares of the Kafagway a military reservation for the American troops.
During the World War II, it became an internment camp for the Americans as well as for other nations at war. It even served as the headquarters for General Tomoyuki Yamashita.
Years went by when the camp was finally turned over to the Philippine government in 1991.
I am most excited about the butterfly sanctuary that we’re about to visit during that time. I mean, one can’t just have an opportunity to visit a butterfly sanctuary right or is it just me?
Anyway, it was quite interesting to note that the person in-charge of the sanctuary is really funny and enthusiastic to all the guests. I regret that I forgot to ask his name because I wanted to feature him in one of my posts.
The space in the sanctuary is a bit limited that’s why only a few may enter at once. There are only a few species of butterflies which was slightly disappointing. But the good news is the high population of the butterflies. They were all flying around the sanctuary which is pleasing, and made the visit more worth it.
At the beginning of the tour, manong paru-paro gave us a warning that he will be the only one who can touch the butterflies otherwise permitted.
During the session, he is also telling us facts about butterflies. He said the tour will not just be to appreciate the sanctuary, but also to be educated about butterflies.
Manong also shared how celebrities also visit the sanctuary. As far as I can remember, among those celebrities is Vina Morales and Lea Salonga.
I’m happy that the admin has maintained the cleanliness and the healthy life of the plants and butterflies.
One of the highlights of the tour as well is the picture-taking with the butterflies. Manong put the butterflies on our noses, ears, and fingers. It was fun and memorable. Sadly, there was no good photo to feature the time that the butterfly was on my nose.
Bell House Museum
On our way to the Bell House Museum, we passed by first the Cemetery of Negativity.
Fun fact: no one is really buried there. The cemetery is made to symbolize the buried negativity we have in our lives. All our pessimistic thoughts, worries, and fears should be buried and forgotten.
Here are some of the photos during the walk:
And finally, the museum we’ve all been waiting for.
The Bell House is known to be the original vacation home of the Commanding General of the Philippines. It was named after General Franklin J. Bell who transformed the camp into a military resort.
Inside the house, one can notice the traditional interior design of an American home. It is quite amazing to see how the style works. One time, I even dreamt of living in a home like such.
The house was spacious. It has a lot of rooms. I love how it looks so antique. One can see the historical features of the house and imagine how life was back then. I just wish travelers have a way to appreciate the heritage this place has.
Just beside the Bell house is the amphitheater fit for weddings and other grande celebrations. The beautiful garden it provides gives a perfect ambiance for a garden-themed wedding. You may contact the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) for reservations.
Merienda at Choco-late de Batirol
After long walks, it is probably the best time to have some snacks at the Choco-late de Batirol resto at Camp John Hay.
An article has rated Choco-late de Batirol at no. 6 most loved restaurants in Baguio.
Choco-late de Batirol is a garden-themed restaurant found at Camp John Hay. Many tourists pay visit to this place because of their delicious food offered at an affordable price.
We ordered their Suman Salihiya and Turon. It was quite delicious. If one might want to forget about the food served at those crazy fastfood chains, this is the place to go. This is real food.
Their specialty hot choco, popularly known as the original Choco-late de Batirol, is their best seller. It can be served hot or cold. The chocolate is rich and thick which made the drink more satisfying. But what made the difference?
Chocolates at de Batirol is made through a traditional process. It is in the Filipino-way. I’m not quite sure about the whole process but here’s a video link on how to do it: https://youtu.be/cPxqDBQMDrc
Choco-late de Batirol is not only an amazing restaurant serving Filipino-style food. It is also a Cacao advocate. In their website, they plan on germinating 10,000-30,000 seeds of Cacao. They envision to create an eco-friendly destination by advocating environment preservation and enhancement.
They continue to seek for partnerships for them to be able to pursue their advocacy. You can send your help out. The name of their project is CACAO FARMS for the Cordilleras located at Vista Verde, Sitio Bubun, Virac, Itogon, and Benguet.
The trip stops right here. Although the blog says “4 Days”, we just basically went home that day haha! I apologize for making you expect.
Anyway, thank you for reading my 3-part blog on my recent trip to Baguio. I hope you learned something one way or another…maybe even consider going to Baguio, Philippines. Remember, it pays to be a responsible tourist.
Go visit the Summer Capital of the Philippines on the holidays or on Christmas, in 2017! Have fun and don’t forget to tell me everything about what happened. Send me a link or something. Again, thank you and enjoy!