Baguio City Teachers Camp and History of Sport

BAGUIO City History of Sports

A keen running tradition started in the mountains of Benguet with American colonialists introducing sports such as Baseball and cross-country races to help civilize the people discouraging head hunting and cannibalism. The strong tradition of long-distance running in the province continues to this day.

Headhunting was how the various wild tribes manifested their mutual hostility. Inhabitants of rival villages took each other’s heads as often as opportunity afforded, and by an elaborate savage code, a man’s social position was largely determined by the number of heads he was able to hang over his door. The Americans soon found that the feuds of the headhunting villages knew nothing of their neighbors. Indeed, headhunting was little more than a savage sport.


Bontoc Igorot men at the finish line of a running race. 1910s Luzon Island, Philippines. Dean C. Worcester Nat’l Geographic Collections

Tribal Games

To bring the members of the different tribes and the inhabitants of different villages together was the task of the American authorities. To do this, trails were built, making the different communities easily accessible to each other. Rep the sport of headhunting, army officers introduced fewer bloody contests.

Under the auspices of the army, and, later, of the constabulary; field meets were held in which headhunters from different villages were induced to compete in foot races, wrestling matches, tugs of war, etc. These contests once became popular and are now the most important events among the wild tribes.

Cups are now competed for, and the contests have aroused so much interest that headhunting has been abandoned as a tame and uninteresting sport. Among some of the wild tribes, baseball has been introduced with a great deal of success, though often the catcher’s mask and chest protector are the only garments worn by the players.

Worcester’s caption: “Finish of the long-distance run,” 1908. Location: Quiangan, Nueva Vizcaya Dean C. Worcester Ethnographic Filipino Images shared by: JBracken


As I intend to head to the Baguio City Philippines teacher’s camp this weekend, I have done some background research into the camp as I was curious about how old it is. As a fledgling historian, I wanted to know a bit about its background.

Here is what I found.

The link to the full article is below. I have just picked out the important parts.

Baguio City Philippines teachers camp
  • Baguio City Philippines, Teachers Camp, opened its doors for its first season on April 6 and closed on May 30, 1908.
  • A total of 217 adults and 24 children attended the camp.
  • Lecturers were invited from universities and government offices in both the Philippines and the United States.

There were regular lectures on

  • General Anthropology
  • General Ethnology
  • Genetic Psychology
  • Present Day
    Educational Tendencies
  • Government of the United States and Contemporaneous Problems in
  • Heredity
  • Spanish

From reading this, they had various higher-level courses offered at the beginning of the 20th Century in a transitional period for the Filipino people.

Teacher’s Camp Fortunately, it was not all academic in Teachers’ Camp.

Teachers’ Camp was also a vacation resort for teachers.

Baguio City Philippines Teachers Camp 1909

The Baguio City Philippines Teachers Camp successfully addressed a problem most American educators had while working in the Philippines: American educators did not have an easy time working here in the country.

In most cases, these foreigners were assigned to schools where there weren’t any other Americans for miles.

When the American teacher was bored, lonely, depressed, or in need
of any assistance, they had to rely on foreign people to assist them

. Of course, there was nothing wrong with this.;

However, these Americans would sometimes miss the company of their friends and colleagues.

Teachers’ Camp gave those Americans the opportunity to “socialize with people of their own race.”;



There were costume parties and dances at the Pines Hotel.

There were various performances and shows to be watched, and the teachers even had the opportunity to perform.

Believing that physical activity was important for the well-being of the person, Camp organizers ensured that there were outdoor activities for all visitors in the camp regardless of age, size, or sex.


Some of the sports and games played at Baguio City Philippines Teachers Camp

Colonial officials went to great lengths to teach Filipinos Western athletic games, such as this foot race with an American flag (on left) at the finish line. At the same time, they suppressed Philippine popular sports.

Interestingly enough, there were even inter-institution competitions like Teachers’ Camp vs. the Camp John Hay team, and Manila vs. the Government Center team.


These competitions allowed teachers to meet even more people.

This was the beginning of the promotion of sports in the Philippines; I will link an earlier article soon on how the Americans introduced sports to civilize Benguet people to prevent them from practicing head-hunting and cannibalism.

Through the years, it became clear that Teachers’ Camp remained a priority of both the Department of Public Instruction and the Philippine Commission.

While during the early years, participants used to live, eat and work in tents, the evident importance of Teachers’ Camp led the Department of Public Instruction and the Colonial Government to allocate funds for the Camp’s improvement. And built dormitories, cottages, and a social and mess hall.

*In my next article on ghosts, I will mention the tent city of the teachers.

And built improved roads and paths within the camp and an athletic field.

When and completed it, it was one of the most modern of its kind in the country.


Important Americans like


As well as important Filipinos. Among them

Recognizing the importance of Teachers’ Camp walked its grounds. 

Due to the limitation of sources, the core of our research ends in 1913.

After 1913, hardly anything is written about Teachers’ Camp in the Bureau of Public Instruction reports.

The Teachers’ Assembly Herald also disappears after 1913.

What is the exact reason for this?

Francis Burton Harrison

The authors of this paper are still exploring the answer; however, in 1913, Francis Burton Harrison replaced William Cameron Forbes as Governor-General of the Philippines.

One of the first changes he made was to stop moving the government to Baguio for the summer.

As a result, Baguio, for a while, faded into the background as a priority.

Other government offices probably followed Harrison’s example, preferring to focus on other matters.

Of course, without the source, one can only speculate what happened to Teachers’ Camp thru the years.

Was it because the number of American teachers was declining?

Was the role of the Camp as a vacation destination changing as well?


What is certain are the following facts: from 1936-1941, Teachers’ Camp became the Philippine Military Academy Campus; during the war, it was the hospital for injured Japanese soldiers.

Today, Teachers’ Camp continues to become an important vacation destination for Filipino educators.

The camp bonfires and dances may be gone, but its role as host for various
conferences and seminars continues.

How big a role does Teachers’ Camp play in the history of the Filipino people and this nation?

There are perhaps two important points to be addressed. First, Teachers’ Camp nurtured the intellectual, physical, and social well-being of American educators.

Americans really laid the foundations for our modern education system. Without American teachers, where would we be today?

Certainly, education in the Philippines would have taken a very different route.

Second, in Teachers’ Camp, some of the policies and regulations affecting all the students in the entire country were introduced and discussed.

And would apply everything the teacher learned from Baguio to his/her students.

You may be a student in the country’s remotest part, but you would still benefit from what was done in the Camp.

Because of the Teachers’ Camp, an entire nation was educated and shaped.

It is the greatest role an institution could hope for, and this little corner of Baguio has that honor.

(Karina Garilao, Jeric Albela, Jonathan Balsamo and Rior Santos)


*Next Writeups Baguio History of Sport & Ghosts of Baguio



PSC to Build Baguio Training Center

July 16, 2015

With the planned construction of a massive training center no longer an option, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) yesterday said it would build a training facility at the Teacher’s Camp in Baguio City, instead.

PSC chairman Richie Garcia said they would build a 1,000-square meter multi-purpose gym that will serve as a training area for combat sports like karate, taekwondo, and weightlifting judo.

The project is set to start following consultation with the Department of Education, which has a mandate over the sprawling complex.


Full Article Here




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