Carlos Celdran at the door of the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Baguio, the Philippines. Image courtesy of Carlos Celdran, used with permission.
If the walls of the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in Baguio, the Philippines could talk, they'd tell of spending their first three years under Japanese control, then witnessing the surrender of the Japanese forces in the Philippines to triumphant American troops.
Now, the magnificent colonial structure in the Philippines' summer capital has a voice - Filipino tour guide and cultural activist Carlos Celdran speaks on its behalf as he gives a "virtual tour" of the structure, ranging from the driveway to the "Yamashita Room" to the living room where the Japanese surrendered to Allied troops in 1945. This seven-minute video can be viewed by visiting the U.S. Embassy Manila's official Youtube site.
The video was released just in time for the Residence's recent inclusion in the U.S. Secretary of State's Register of Culturally Significant Property. The release also coincides with a visit to Baguio by Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr., who's in Baguio to honor the memory of World War II's honorable dead in a wreath-laying ceremony at Baguio's Veterans Park Memorial on September 5. (The Residence is actually the second Philippine structure to find its way in the Register; the first was the Chancery in Manila. For more buildings around the world that make this prestigious short list, read this PDF brochure from the State Department.)
Watch the video and see history leavened by Celdran's dry wit: it presents a rare glimpse of this historical structure in Baguio, as the Residence is not open to the public. Still, plenty of historical places in the Philippines welcome visitors with open arms - check out our articles on Intramuros, the Manila American Cemetery, and Corregidor Island for historical Philippine places where Americans have left their mark on the area.