Grace and I were now into our third month in our marriage with Grace in her second month of pregnancy (with our son Jandy). For a break, we decided to avail of a Rajah Tour 3-day/2-night travel package (PhP1,991) to Baguio City which included accommodation at the Hyatt Terraces Hotel, the city’s only 5-star hotel.
|Grace posing beside the Hyatt Terraces Hotel|
|Breakfast inside Suite 711|
|View of city from our balcony|
Here, we stayed in at Suite 711, one of the 303-room hotel’s 220 de luxe rooms, all with with bath, TV and private balconies. The hotel also has 4 duplex penthouses, 40 executive suites with fireplaces and kitchens, and 50 executive suites with kitchenettes. There are also 3 specialty restaurants (Copper Grill, Kaili Cafe/Restaurant), 2 bars, a disco (Gold Mine), casino and convention facilities for 220 persons.
|Dinner while being serenaded at the Copper Grill|
Located on a pine tree-clad hill along South Drive, near Camp John Hay, the Hyatt Terraces Hotel, said to be the grandest hotel outside Metro Manila, is an architectural showcase of primitive mountain art and contemporary Western design. Its magnificent and picturesque atrium lobby, best viewed from its interior scenic elevator, is decorated with colorful, handwoven tapestries and refreshing greenery.
|Kaili Cafe Restaurant at atrium lobby|
At 4:26 PM, on July 16, 1990, a little over 4 years after our stay, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Luzon, killing 1,621 people. In Baguio City, 28 buildings collapsed during the earthquake. One of the most prominent buildings destroyed was the Hyatt Terraces Hotel when the central wing’s terraced front collapsed, like an accordion, onto the hotel lobby, killing 98 employees and guests.
However, 3 hotel employees were still pulled out alive after international rescue teams had abandoned the site, convinced that there were no more survivors. Eleven days after the earthquake, Luisa Mallorca and Arnel Calabia were extricated from the rubble while, 3 days later, cook Pedrito Dy was also recovered. All 3 survived by drinking their own urine while, in Dy’s case, he also drank rain water. Dy’s 14-day ordeal was cited as a world record for entombment under rubble. Today, all that remains in the site, still undeveloped and said to be haunted, is its old fountain.
On the day of the earthquake, it just so happen that I was again in Baguio City, together with my son Jandy, my cancer-stricken father, my mother, sisters Tellie and Salve, my brother Frank with his wife Cherry and children Jaja, Sandy and Gelo, and my Aunt Pacita with her children Myron and Randy. We all stayed in a home of Tellie’s friend and left the city just before lunch. I remember feeling so bad for not being allowed to stay longer in the city. We all felt the earthquake upon arrival at our home. Had they given in to my request and we had stayed longer in the city, we might have been trapped there or, worst, buried in a landslide along Kennon Road.