Baguio Diaries 2016: Camp John Hay Turns 25

Margaux Salcedo with her Jack Russel farm dog Stardust

Camp John Hay celebrated its 25th Anniversary since the turnover from the Americans.

While we wax patriotic and are obviously ecstatic about the Philippines taking over, we must admit that there are things about the old John Hay that are sorely missed.

So this September, The Manor and The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay, in memory of those good ol’ days of the Star Spangled Banner’s presence, threw a retro party, with music from yesteryears, a vintage car, and, best of all, the old John Hay menu including its steak and burgers!

Camp John Hay Anniversary hosted by Bob Sobrepena and the US AmbassadorChef Billy King of The Manor and Forest Lodge whipped up a spectacular buffet that included a steamship steak, the best chili and the famous John Hay burger.

Camp John Hay Billy King Steamship Steak
Steamship steak that could double as hand carry luggage – that’s how big it was!
Camp John Hay Burger. Photo by Margaux Salcedo.
Can you taste it? Best burger in the country. Chef Billy King’s John Hay burger.
Camp John Hay 25th Year Anniversary. Forest Lodge, Manor, Baguio.
Vintage Menu from the old John Hay.

The highlight of the night, though, was the presence of the US Ambassador, an inevitable guest since John Hay was the 37th Secretary of State of the United States who was responsible for the Treaty of Paris.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg at Camp John HayOf course I had to find out who in revered history is John Hay that an entire US Camp would be named after him. Apparently he was responsible for the Treaty of Paris of 1898!

John Hay was sworn in as Secretary of State on September 30, 1898. He needed little introduction to Cabinet meetings, and sat at the President’s right hand. Meetings were held in the Cabinet Room of the White House, where he found his old office and bedroom each occupied by several clerks. Now responsible for 1,300 federal employees, he leaned heavily for administrative help on his old friend Alvey Adee, the second assistant.]

By the time Hay took office, the war was effectively over and it had been decided to strip Spain of her overseas empire and transfer at least part of it to the United States. At the time of Hay’s swearing-in, McKinley was still undecided whether to take the Philippines, but in October finally decided to do so, and Hay sent instructions to Day and the other peace commissioners to insist on it. Spain yielded, and the result was the Treaty of Paris, narrowly ratified by the Senate in February 1899 over the objections of anti-imperialists.[x]

And the Treaty of Paris paved the way for Philippine Independence!

The Treaty of Paris of 1898 was an agreement made in 1898 that involved Spain relinquishing nearly all of the remaining Spanish Empire, especially Cuba, and ceding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. The cession of the Philippines involved a payment of $20 million from the United States to Spain.[1] The treaty was signed on December 10, 1898, and ended the Spanish–American War. The Treaty of Paris came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged.[2]

Fabulous party! Props to the Sobrepeñas for maintaining Camp John Hay and keeping it gorgeous even after 25 years!


Margaux Salcedo with her Jack Russel farm dog Stardust
Vintage car at the Forest Lodge in Baguio with Stardust
Marites Pamintuan and finance guru/musician William Russel Sobrepeña. Camp John Hay, Forest Lodge, Baguio.
Marites Pamintuan and finance guru/musician William Russel Sobrepeña
Camp John Hay 25 Years, Dino Datu of Cook Magazine, Rica Palomo Espiritu of ManilaSpeak
Dino Datu of Cook Magazine, Rica Palomo Espiritu of ManilaSpeak at the Forest Lodge
Camp John Hay 25 Years Anniversary with Cong. Mark Go, Berg Go, Marbee Shing Go
My relatives (?!) – Cong. Mark Go, Berg Go and lovely wife Marbee Shing Go – and me (!) MarGAUX :))
CAMP JOHN HAY 25 Years. Vicky Perez de Tagle and Peng de Tagle
Top executive and jazz patron Peng de Tagle with lovely wife PR queen Vicky Perez de Tagle.
Camp John Hay Us Ambassador Philip Goldberg Baguio
Having a great laugh with the Ambassador. We were trying to decipher the etymology of words like “bayot” and “p*tang*ina” LOL