I’ve been looking for a walking trail in Baguio City for the longest time. One would expect that this wouldn’t really be a problem since the city is surrounded by pine-laden hills and all, but you’d be surprised that there are hardly any trekking grounds in the area at all.
So before heading to Baguio this time around, I Googled high and low for trekking grounds and at last stumbled upon a blog post regarding a trail run held at Camp John Hay. Where exactly at the camp this was, I’m not so sure, John Hay is not exactly small and the post did not include a map of the run.
With hardly any clue, we took a cab and boarded down in front of Le Monet Hotel, near where the horse riding grounds are located. This was where my Google Mapping led me as there seemed to be some sort of trail-like road in the vicinity. And triumphant we were! I was not mistaken at all; Camp John Hay’s Eco Trail is indeed in the neighborhood, albeit on the opposite of where I thought it would be, hehe.
The trek starts near the entrance to the new Butterfly Sanctuary. From a gravel path, it eventually progresses into an orange-colored dirt pass surrounded by a forest of pine trees. The track winds up and down, it’s pretty hilly but is really quite manageable even to those not used to these kinds of activities.
I can almost see what Baguio must have been like before urban development ate most of its wooded areas; unpaved hilly roads crossed by small brooks and totally blanketed by towering pine trees. The only thing you’ll hear besides birds chirping (or cawing in the case of crows) are the whispers of pine trees as their leaves brush against the wind.
Our scenic trek goes on for about half an hour; passing through dried streams, wooden bridges, ramped earths, and finally to a narrow gravel path overgrown with grasses. We were unsure if the trail ends this way and if we should now turn back. I tried to see where the path leads to but was unable to; both sides were fenced with a wall of bushy thickets and it wounds left and right. Debating if we should push through, we heard voices on the other side of the hedge, golf players.
It turned out we were parallel to the sprawling golf grounds of Camp John Hay. I found a small passage that led to the pruned landscape of the golf area and asked the guys playing about the trail, just head straight on they said. Alrighty then, we held our course and moved straight forward.
The trail eventually opened up again and led down to a steep rolling hill. It looked like we’re now nearing the end of our journey as we can already see the snaking concrete highway of Loakan Road.
A plunge into the ravinelike drop and a few more steps and we were back on hard concrete.
It took us an hour and a half to traverse the trail, incessantly stopping throughout the trek to take photos of everything. We didn’t have any water with us and we were quite thirsty after walking through the forest, our mind was tuned to only one thing, cold Frappucinos at Starbucks Camp John Hay. It was however a long way back inside the camp and upon retrospect, we apparently should have started on the old John Hay gate side of the trail and exited inside the camp’s Filling Station.
I’ve never seen this side of Camp John Hay before and it was indeed a Baguio experience like no other. It’s been years since I’ve discovered something new in the city, not that I don’t like its familiar sights, I do too, but its always nice to walk down a new path and experience Baguio in a new way.
Added the map for the Eco Trail which is actually a combination of the Blue and White Trails, two of the three trails in Camp John Hay. The third one, the Yellow Trail, can be found on the Historical Corridor of John Hay.
Special thanks to DGF of Explored! for the heads up regarding the names of the trails which prompted me to do more research on them and eventually led to the map posted above.