Baguio as a Health Resort – 1920

(Source: AHC at Ateneo – Year Book of the Philippine Islands (1920)

Americans, like the British and the French, were accustomed to four distinct seasons; spring, summer, fall and winter. The posted article begins “In the Philippines it is summer all year long”. Air-conditioning didn’t come along until the 1930’s. Even then it operated in few spots. British and French Colonialists found a solution to tropical heat in “Hill Stations”, mountain top areas, set up in India and Indochina. The higher elevations produced cooling relief.

Americans found their Hill Station answer in Baguio, 160 miles North of Manila. The City of Pines became a reality thanks to Governor General Cameron Forbes and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Two things happened:

The Army built the Kennon Road from the low lands to Baguio, and Governor Forbes raised money (some of it his own) for a Government Center, Military R&R Reservation (Camp John Hay) and a Country Club (complete with golf course and horse riding stable). The City of Pines was on its way. Soon places to stay sprouted up, hotels and lodging houses. For a period the entire Government moved to Baguio during the “Hot Season”, months of April and May. Eight hours from Manila, by car or train, cooling fresh pine scented air awaited, restoring physical and mental health; a crackling pine log fire at night, while snuggling in bed under a blanket. In the day time fresh produce from the market and native Igorot’s in colorful red, black and white attire soothed the mind. As the article concludes: “Former candidates for the hospital return to Manila in the tan of health.” –BB

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