When people think about the Philippine’s city of Baguio, right away they instantly see mountains and pine trees as far as you can see. With the growth that has happened throughout Baguio over the past two decades, Baguio has lost much of that beauty of nature as the city is now sprawled up and down the mountain.
At Camp John Hay, however, that natural beauty is still preserved and present. For the short version of the history of Camp John Hay, it was first established back in 1903 as a rest and retreat location for the American forces in the Philippines. The Philippines being a quite warm country, Baguio was a perfect choice for a cooler atmosphere to relax in.
During World War II, however, the Japanese had bombed the camp but the Americans re-took it back. It wasn’t until another half century later when they turned it back over to the Philippines. It now serves as a getaway place for vacationers and locals alike to hike, relax, eat, and play sports.
There are many great things to do and explore on the more than 600 acres at Camp John Hay, but here are some of the must try ones.
Trekking Through The Pines
Camp John Hay is a vast space and it’s full of winding roads and trails that lead throughout the mountain area. Make sure you bring your hiking shoes because if you dont have a car you’ll be walking up hill and down hill the whole way.
Luckily the weather is always cool up in the mountains so your trek will be a comfortable one. All of the roads around Camp John Hay are paved and many have sidewalks. There are relatively few cars on the roads so it’s safe to walk around, just be sure to bring an umbrella as it can often rain and there aren’t many places to hide under – except the trees 🙂
Beautiful Bell House & Amphitheater
The Bell House was the home of the former American commanding in the Philippines, General J Franklin Bell. For years this was the retreat house but in recent years it has been transformed into a museum that visitors can walk through to see how the traditional American architecture was.
All around the Bell House are perfectly manicured gardens as well as a giant Amphitheater with raised gardens around a central stage. It’s one of the best places in Baguio to get professional photos taken as the flowers are always in bloom up and down the Amphitheater.
Daredevils get ready! The Treetop Adventure isn’t just a ziplining adventure, but has so much more. Climb up to the tree tops and explore, fly, and glide around the forest. Here are the different activities offered at Treetop Adventure:
- Canopy Ride
- Superman Gliding
- Treetop Climbing Adventure
- Silver Surfer Ride
The treetop adventure is only open until 4:30 as it cant operate at night so be sure to go early.
The butterfly garden at Camp John Hay was built by the American Soldiers and has a giant bronze mermaid in the center. Get your camera ready to take close-ups of the colorful butterflies all around.
The butterfly garden is located just past the CJH-CAP Convention Center after entering the main gate on Loakan Road.
Food, Coffee, and Shopping!
Throughout Camp John Hay there are different restaurants, cafes, and shops to explore – all surrounded by beautiful plants, flowers and trees.
Grab a coffee at Starbucks, lunch at Army Navy, or pick out some new hiking shoes at ROX sports. Another favorite spot to stop at is Choco-late de Batirol which has some of the best hot chocolate in the Philippines – which is perfect for the chilly weather in Baguio.
If you want an authentic forest experience, pack a lunch and bring it with you for a picnic in the pines. There are plenty of areas throughout Camp John Hay that the grass is kept short for you to toss a blanket down, and plenty of picnic tables all throughout the camp.
Kick back, relax, and enjoy the vast forested areas of Camp John Hay as you let yourself be brought back to nature 🙂
Stay at The Manor @ Camp John Hay
Looking to stay here at Camp John Hay? There’s a beautiful 5-star resort called The Manor which is a gorgeous log cabin style resort designed for those looking for a first-class experience.
While we couldn’t stay here as it’s a bit pricey, it was beautiful to look at from the outside. You can check pricing and rooms available here.