The U.S. Embassy Residence, Baguio

When the Philippine Government was established in 1935, the American Governor-General vacated both Malacanang Palace and the summer residence in Baguio called Mansion House for the new Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon.

The American authority during the 10 year interim period of the Commonwealth was called the High Commissioner, which required new construction for office space and living quarters in both Manila and Baguio. For the Baguio residence, the site chosen was a 78-acre parcel of land on the highest point in Camp John Hay, a well used rest and relaxation destination for troops in the Philippines that attracted government, military and civilian officials alike. Camp John Hay was located in Baguio City, overlooking the Cordillera Mountains and sat some 5,000 feet above sea level to offer a refreshing change from the heat and humidity of Manila.

The two-story residence was completed in 1940, and the U.S. High Commissioner enjoyed the use of the Baguio residence for only one year before the December 1941 attack by the Japanese on the Philippines during World War II. For the next 3 years, the Japanese used it as a headquarters for high-ranking officials.

Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Commander of the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines, was the last to use the residence, and fled to the Cordillera Mountains to continue fighting when Allied Forces and Filipino guerrillas liberated the city of Baguio in April, 1945. He was captured finally, hiding in the caves of Ifugao, and brought back to the U.S. High Commissioner’s residence when Japan surrendered in Tokyo to the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces General Douglas MacArthur. There, in the same living room he had once used, the terms of surrender were read aloud, and the once famed but now reviled “Tiger of Malaya” signed 4 copies of the Instrument of Surrender.

Among the Allied Forces seated at the long table were Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright, who had surrendered U.S. forces in the Philippines after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor, and Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Percival, the commander of British forces in Malaya who was defeated by Yamashita in Singapore in 1942 and became a POW in Japanese prison camps for over 3 years. At 12:10 pm on 3 September, 1945, the surrender of all Japanese forces in the Philippines was completed and the war officially ended.

Since the war, the Ambassador and other U.S. Government officials have used the residence for many historical events, informal meetings and for relaxation. Over the decades, the residence has reliably provided a venue for Embassy officials to work and socialize with Filipino, American and other foreign government officials, diplomats, friends and important contacts in a leisurely atmosphere amid the agreeable surroundings of tall pine trees and manicured flower beds. It remains an important witness to Philippine and American history.

To see the full description/caption, click your mouse on each image.

NOTE: Text and information for some captions came from the U.S. Embassy Residence Baguio City brochure.

SLT

2 Comments

  1. I had the opportunity to visit this residence. I was 11 years old, my father was stationed at Clark AFB. It was amazing the care given to this historic site. If you get the chance I remember an outdoor amphitheater. The grounds are beautiful. Thank you for bringing back good memories.

    Like

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