July 16, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the great earthquake that devastated Baguio.
In 1990, I was working as a lifestyle writer at the Daily Globe. Our office was on the 2nd floor of a building in Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong.
Our bosses were Ben C. Ramos (husband of Tita Virgie Ramos) and Teddy Boy Locsin. The Style section was led by Emmie Velarde assisted by Tess Mapa. On the staff were Elvira Mata, Alex Magno, and I.
Off-duty staff from L-R: Food writer Michaela Fenix, Tess Mapa, (standing) Alex Magno, Emmie Velarde, myself, Elvira Mata, and photographer Edgardo Santiago during a hotel sleepover
On July 16, 1990 at 4:26 PM, the earthquake struck while we were at the office. I remember feeling the building shake. At first I hid under the desk. But when the lights went out, I stood up to hug Tess Mapa.
I could hear an editor at the news desk counting in seconds: one, two, three…presumably to report the length of the tremor.
Tess and I were crying and praying till the earth stopped shaking. I remember heading down the stairs for safety and saw lots of footwear left behind at the stairwell—signs of panic among the building employees.
I didn’t go home but called to check up on my boyfriend who was working in a tall building at that time. He was OK.
Then the news started to trickle in and I heard it on the radio: “Hyatt Terraces Baguio…partial collapse.”
My heart sank.
I had spent many summers and Christmas holidays there. I loved that place.
Many people died at the hotel. But I don’t want to write a sad piece about it. Instead, I’d rather go back down memory lane with an entry I wrote in December 2010.
We were very small when my dad first took us to the hotel he and his group had just opened. Back then it was called the Terraces Plaza. That was before the Hyatt brand came in and renamed it the Hyatt Terraces Baguio.
I’m lucky to have found these pics on Facebook, where former employees have formed a group.
That’s my dad in the middle of staff on their 5th anniversary at the Hyatt. Mr. Heinrich Maulbecker, the beloved General Manager, is on his left.
Does it remind you of this??
Dad and Mr. Maulbecker awarding employees
Kaili Coffee Shop is where we enjoyed Southern Fried Chicken in a basket and Spaghetti Mama Leone.
Do you remember what you ordered?
I loved sitting on those tall chairs. It was always occupied, so when I got to sit there, it felt like I had won a prize.
The place was really packed between Christmas and New Year and during Holy Week.
Us kids loved going up and down the first glass elevator we had ever seen.
I wonder how they managed those plants.
During the holidays, there was a grand display at the reception/lobby.
These were the very first automatic escalators we knew. They would start moving only when you stepped on them. My brother Dennis was quite a menace running up and down those escalators.
There was the Fireplace with the brass detail.
The Gold Mine (aka Crystal Cave) was the first disco I was allowed to enter at the age of 12.
I even remember my baduy disco outfit—with lights!
I was too young, however, to sit at the bar.
I haven’t been to back to Baguio in 13 years. The last time I was there was when Ben was a baby. We stayed at the Manor which was new back then.
I still dream of going back and I keep checking for new accommodations, but I haven’t found a place with a bathroom I like. Sadly, the bathrooms at The Manor are not chuva-approved (sorry!).
I want to go back to Baguio and build memories with my kids. I love that place so much. I really hope I find a place to stay.
What’s your favorite memory of Hyatt Baguio? Share pictures if you have them.
This post originally appeared at http://chuvaness.livejournal.com/.