Category Archives: Bantay Laya

A Camp and a Fort in Baguio


Happy new year everyone! As I write, I have two pleadings pending this week. One is a comment to the motion for reconsideration and another is an investigative report. However,  I’d rather blog about our recent trip to Baguio to start the year right. You see, as I imagined,  my children had a blast in Baguio.  Before deciding on this trip, our agreement was to visit all the Philippine tourist spots which begin with letter B.   Although my children visited Baguio twice  when they were  babies, I don’t think they enjoyed the trip as much as they did the last.  Further, I know that Baguio offers a lot of fun stuff for children.  Hence, we decided that the best way to end the year 2016 was to go to Baguio.

Baguio, for the information of non-Filipinos, is the summer capital of the Philippines. It has several  references  actually, which include the City of Pines, Philippines’ mountain resort, Home of the  Igorots, Ifugaos and Ibalois ( Philippine northern tribes who are denizens of the mountains) among others.

Baguio is a haven for the fashionistas  ( a devoted follower of fashion) . It is the perfect place to  get your signature clothes at a very cheap price. Thrift stores abound. Further, you get to buy and actually wear, winter clothes given the cold weather.

Look at my Soviet boys

I could go on and on describing what a wonderful place Baguio is but allow me to just focus on two attractions.

Camp John Hay

When I was a kid, my family and I often visited  Camp John Hay to dine and  buy imported chocolates and toys. Although much has changed since I was five, the camp still gives me an eerie feeling because of the  presence of  old American colonial structures. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the Americans, it’s  just that the place retained some of its old colonial structures which date back to World War II period. ( Read: ghosts soldiers and unexplained noises)  Originally known as John Hay Air Station, Camp John Hay  was established on October 25, 1903.

As I said, it’s not my children’s first time to be  in Baguio.  The last time we went  was in 2009. After seven years, I figured  now is the perfect time to suit up on their battle gear.  You see, as children of an officer, my children idolized their dad and inevitably dreamed of wearing camouflage and doing soldier stuff like rappelling, vine swinging or target shooting. Camp John Hay is fully equipped with zipline and rappelling facilities.

RG rappelling

Miguel rappelling

Miguel swinging

As a mother, seeing your children strap up and swing  to an altitude of 65 feet is enough to make me faint or vomit. It’s my sons’ first time to zip line and I didn’t want to play the killjoy role by saying to forget about the zip line and rappel  idea and just eat strawberry ice cream. But as I watch them, I had to be brave  and act happy  yet secretly praying to God Almighty that the ropes don’t break.

Next, there is also a shooting range and a paintball arena in Camp John Hay. Initially, my children were refused entry in the paintball arena because the age requirement to play this game is 12. I don’t know maybe because  we repeatedly and patiently lined up for it, they finally allowed us on the condition that I sign a waiver.

As my children queued to get their tickets, the other children  were envious of my children’s outfit, specially the hats. Since I am a self-professed creative lawyer mother, I figured this activity would be picture perfect if they wore  an army garb.

Lastly,  at Camp John Hay’s  Le Monet Hotel, they even had snow.HPIM0950.JPG

Philippine Military Academy / Fort Del Pilar

Of course, the Baguio trip would be incomplete without a trip to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). My husband and I often bring RG to PMA since  he was a baby.

RG ‘S first trip to PMA. Picture taken on 11 February 2006

PMA was established on December 21, 1936 by virtue of  a law -the National Defense Act. PMA is actually the Philippines’ military school.My husband Ruben “Gino” Guinolbay, was a member of PMA Bantay laya Class 94. Below are his pictures taken inside the PMA campus during his cadet days.

During our recent trip, my children preferred to have their pictures taken with the tanks. Inside the campus are old tanks and howitzers.

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See these tanks? I’m pretty sure that  you once  dreamed about climbing these amphibians in your childhood days. When I was a child, I used have pictures taken with these old tanks too. One of the purposes of this blog is to give you guys an idea on where to have your next photo shoot.

All told, the entire Baguio trip was very exhausting given the long walks and the unavailability of taxis in view of the Christmas season; but seeing my children revel at the realization of their battle dreams, was priceless.