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    Baguio Benguet | Luzon Philippines

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Edwin Fitchett 1946

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Carl R. Thien 1945

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Justin Taylan 2003

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Justin Taylan 2003

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Justin Taylan 2003

Location
Lat 16° 24' 59N Long 120° 35' 35E  Baguio is situated in the pine tree lined mountains at an elevation of 4,750' and has a much cooler climate than the coastal plains. Connected by the Kennon Road southward. A newer road connects the city to La Union Province.

Wartime History
Baguio was laid out using Washington DC as its inspiration. Baguio became the summer capital of the Philippines, where many wealthy Filipino and American families purchased homes in the city. During 1903, Camp John Hay was established outside the town as a rest and recuperation (R&R) area for the US Army.

On December 8, 1941 Camp John Hay near Baguio was the first location in the Philippines bombed by the Japanese aircraft. On December 24, 1941 the Japanese Army 9th Regiment advanced from Bauang and occupied the city without opposition.

During the Japanese occupation, the war past relatively peacefully, with limited guerrilla activities in the area and few reprisals by the Japanese against the population. The Japanese Army also used Baguio as a rest and recuperation (R&R) area for senior officers.

As the threat of Allied landing on Luzon, Japanese Army General Yamashita moved his headquarters to Baguio and the area was defended by the Japanese Army's 19th Division "Tora". After the American landing at Lingayen Gulf on January 9, 1945 Baguio was bombed by American aircraft during late January 1945 through April 1945 in an effort to deprive the Japanese of the city.

American missions against Baguio
January 23, 1945 -  August 9, 1945

The city was defended by small Japanese Army force including the 10th Tank Regiment, 5th Company with a meager force of 3 medium and 2 light tanks, and were ordered to carry out suicide attacks with their tanks against the advancing American forces. On the road to the city, one Type 97 and one Type 95 had explosives attached to the front of their hull. They hid into bamboo bushes near the road between Baguio and Sablan waiting for US Army armor to advance. When a column of M4 Sherman tanks turned the corner about 100m away, they dashed forward to attack. The lead tank was surprised at tried to backup, but failed to turn and fell off the road into the valley below. In total, two Shermans and both Japanese tanks were destroyed. One Japanese who survived the attack bailed out of his tanks and attacked brandishing a sword. After this incident, Americans advanced more hesitantly towards the city.

Meanwhile, most civilians took refuge in the Baguio Cathedral. On April 27, 1945 US Army troops from the 33rd Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Regiment and USAFFE-NL 66th Infantry Regiment liberated the Baguio, and found the city in ruins from American bombing.

Japanese Surrender
Until the end of the war, Japanese resistance persisted to the west and north of Baguio. Japanese forces officially surrendered in Baguio on September 3, 1945 present were Lt. General Jonathan M. Wainwright and Lt. General Wilhelm D. Styer.

Baguio Cathedral (Our Lady of the Atonement)
Costructed between 1920 and was completed in 1936 by missionaries from Belgium atop Kampo Hill (renamed "Mount Mary"), the tallest hill in Baguio. During 1945, the cathedral was used as a shelter for civilians during the American bombing of Baguio, and an evacuation center. Many residents built shanty shacks around the cathedral, after it was filled to capacity. During April, 1945 advance units of the US Army arrived at the Cathedral and liberated the town.

Burnham Park
Park at the center of Baguio. The US Army held a formal ceremony here in April 1945 after the liberation of Baguio attended by General Swift (I Corps commander). After liberation, L-4 Piper Cubs landed on the park.

Camp Henry T. Allen (Camp Allen)
Prewar US Army camp in Baguio.

Japan-Filipino Peace Monument
A memorial park and obelisk is located on the western edge of town, with dedications in Japanese and English.

Veterans Park & Wall of Honor
Dedicated in 1991 and upgraded in 1995, this small memorial park and Wall of Honor lists the names of the 3,347 officers, enlisted men and auxiliary volunteers of the 66th Infantry Regiment USAFFE. The memorial lists 854 casualties (280 KIA, 568 WIA, 6 MIA) in the campaign in the mountains. At the front of the memorial, a US Army 105mm howitzer is on display.

Camp John Hay
US Army camp was established in 1903, and encompassed over a thousand acres. Includes the Baguio Country Club, US Ambassador's Residence, Loakan Airfield (Baguio Airport) and the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) at Fort Gegorio del Pilar).

Birac Airfield
Located to the southeast of Baguio, prewar built for mining activities

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Last Updated
January 8, 2014

 

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