Whenever I am in Baguio, I practically never leave John Hay. Alright, I would go to the SM Mall occasionally, like maybe once in three visits. Then maybe have lunch outside once in five visits. John Hay has everything, and just happens to be the only place in the city that is still dotted with pine trees. Thus, living up to the Baguio in everyone’s mind.
What’s in John Hay?
Golf. A Nicklaus designed golf course set among pine trees. A mini golf. Shopping for export overruns and items at factory prices. Wine shops and delis. Restaurants and cafes. A horse-ride trail. A hiking trail. Paintball. Butterfly sanctuary. A smaller version of the Statue of Liberty. Plus restaurants and coffee shops. And fresh mountain air.
What is coming up? The Treetop Adventure
Update: The Treetop Adventure has actually opened for business. Find them near the Historical Core, at the back of the Statue of Liberty.
The Historical Core
Entrance fees are collected. Visit the old Bell House and Amphitheater. re-live Baguio and John Hay when the base was then exclusive to the American military and their guests.
The Lost Cemetery/Cemetery of Negativism.
This was created by as a way of throwing away angst, anger, loneliness, and any other negative thoughts among the US military personnel as a way to cleanse their minds and hearts. Tombstones thus carry messages of the angst they were getting rid of, and burying underground.
Cafes and Restaurants
There are essentially 3 sections where these are concentrated: near the golf course, at the commercial center near the Manor, and at the Filling Station near the CAP Convention Center.
The cafes near the golf course: House of Waffles, Starbucks, and Cantinetta.
The Shops at the Commercial Center: My favorites are Diners, where I almost always have my breakfast, and Dencio’s, when I crave for spicy crispy pata and sinigang na bangus belly, and sisig. There is also a cake shop called Everything Nice, Carlo’s Pizza, a cafe at Mile-Hi Inn, and a coffee shop at the end of the center.
Filling Station. This area has metamorphosed into a more interesting eating out place. There is Shakeys, a Japanese resto , an ice cream parlor, Hotshots, Wrap & Roll, and a deli called Dinelli. Seating is al fresco – – on the road to watch people go by, or at the veranda at the back with a thick forest of pine trees as your setting.When it is too cold, you may also take the seats inside the building.
Worth a special mention is a stand-alone restaurant called Chocolate de Batirol at the Igorot Park near the gate going to the Baguio Country Club. This is one of the most famous in Baguio. try bibingka with chocolate de batirol. They also serve lunch and dinner, al fresco, with the golf course as your view.
John Hay has the best hotel in the city. John Hay Manor has a country charm, with rooms furnished in the Cordillera theme. Guests have a choice of regular rooms, rooms with a veranda, or 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom suites, with living and dining areas. The bar with a fireplace is a hub in the evenings. The bakeshop sells the best raisin breads, wines, ground coffee, ice cream, and interesting finds.
John Hay Manor rooms start at P5,200 with 2-bedroom suites at P12,300.
Contact John Hay Manor at (+6374) 4240931 to 43. Toll free number : (+632) 8450892. Website: http://www.cjhotels.com
The Suites is partially open, right beside the Manor, overlooking the golf course. As a John Hay Manor property, bookings can also be made with the above number.
Mile-Hi Inn is a small hotel within the commercial center, under the shops. Room rates start at P1,900. Phone (+6374)4466141. Website : http://www.mile-hi.com.ph
Some owners rent out their vacation homes. At the Forest Estates, 3-bedroom forest cabins, fully furnished, are rented out for P15,000 per day during the peak season (Christmas, Holy Week, Panagbenga flower festival) to as low as P10,000 per day on the rainy months. These homes have a fireplace, living and dining, 3 T&B, ref, oven, microwave, cooking utensils, pots & pans, plates, cups and saucers, drinking glasses, spoons & forks etc that renters need only to buy food to cook. These homes accommodate as much as 10 persons, and have carports for 2.
At the Country Estates, 4-bedroom Country Homes with a maid’s room rent out for as low as P15,000 when off-peak, and P25,000-P30,000 during peak season, depending on demand. these are lovely homes set within the golf course.
These homes can be booked “unofficially” thru the front desk clerks at the Manor Hotel. These are not hotel properties, but these clerks will contact those in charge of these homes and they get commissions from the referrals.
You may end up enjoying John Hay so much that you will want to live there, and have a home built. Homes at Forest Estates (forest cabin) are available at P13M, and you only need to wait 8-10 months for your home’s completion.
Or buy any of the homes for sale, like the one below:
Next time you go up to Baguio, enjoy the experience more by staying inside John Hay.