ABS-CBN News | November 21, 2016
BAGUIO CITY – Camp John Hay ushered in the holiday season with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at The Manor Hotel with several choirs from schools across Baguio and capped by a fireworks and light show to welcome the start of the Christmas season.
Several stages were set at the garden area of The Manor as choirs from the University of Baguio Laboratory Elementary School Small Voices, St. Louis School Center Choir, Baguio City High School Young Minstrels, Jesus Miracle Crusade Choir, North Sound Ensemble, University of Baguio High School Glee Club, and Coro D’llera Music Ministry sang Christmas carols.
The official light-up was held as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo), which entered into a lease agreement with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in October 1996 for the development, management and operations of Camp John Hay.
Since its signing, CJHDevCo has built a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, two major hotels, The Manor and The Forest Lodge, a convention center; residential log cabins and country homes, and a shopping center, among other developments.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since we broke ground on this project in 1996. We signed the agreement with BCDA in October and we broke ground in November and from then on we started building the golf course, the Manor Hotel, the Lodge and all the residential units you see around you today,” CJHDevCo chairman Robert John Sobrepeña said in a speech.
“We’ve always looked at Camp John Hay as a very special place. We’ve done so many projects as a development company but none of them has been as special as Camp John Hay because of the setting. There is no other place like Camp John Hay anywhere in the world,” he added.
A coffee table book that documents the progress of Camp John Hay from the time that it was an American base to the developments that can be found on the property today was also launched during the event.
“Camp John Hay is the last place where we can still experience that old Baguio,” Baguio Rep. Mark Go recalled in a speech said as he looked back on his younger years.
“It is undeniable that (in Camp John Hay), the air is fresher, and the temperature cooler. The sidewalks are still manicured and there is not a corner that would not look good in a picture. You feel that it is safe to roll the windows down to let the air in your car. You drive slower to appreciate the greenery. You breathe deeper to soak everything in,” he said.
Go and Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan were among the estimated 600 guests, who were treated to a grand buffet prepared by chef Billy King of Le Chef at The Manor.
King set up 15 stations spread throughout the garden, including oysters, sushi and sashimi, Norwegian salmon, Wagyu beef, and a 20-kilo USDA prime steamship steak, among others.
Meanwhile, The Manor general manager Ramon Cabrera announced a variety of activities for children to enjoy this Christmas season at Camp John Hay, including picture-taking with Santa Claus for the entire month of December from 5-6 p.m.
There will also be Christmas caroling by children’s choirs from December 16 until New Year’s Day.
For the Christmas season, Le Chef will also be offering a Christmas Eve gourmet buffet on top of a Noche Buena buffet; a Christmas Day buffet on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day; a holiday special a la carte menu from December 16 to 31 at only P880 net per person; and a buffet dinner from December 26 to 30.