Hyatt Terraces Hotel Ruins

Satellite image of the site of the former Hyatt Terraces in Baguio

Today, July 16, 2010, marks the 20th anniversary of the devastating 1990 Luzon Earthquake. One of the cities most devastated by this disaster is Baguio. Plenty of buildings in the resort city collapsed and landslides left Baguio isolated for a few days. One of the famous destroyed buildings in Baguio is the Hyatt Terraces Hotel located along South Drive. The central wing of the hotel collapsed on itself killing 98 guests and hotel employees. To this day, the site of the former hotel remains undeveloped and is a famous supposed ghost haunt in Baguio.

Remains of the hotel's grand fountain Photo by Ferdz Decena.

Before the hotel’s collapse, the Hyatt was one of the “in” destinations in the city. Baguio was a popular convention and conference destination and the five-star Hyatt was probably the top hotel in Baguio for booking. Its magnificent terraced lobby (see these pictures shared at SkyscraperCity) was a sight to behold and its location near Camp John Hay was ideal. In addition, a casino was housed in the building. In fact, a seminar organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was being held in the hotel when the earthquake struck. Many of its attendees were among the casualties.

Read this Inquirer article where a former hotel manager at Hyatt recounts her harrowing tale of the hotel’s collapse and her subsequent rescue. The photo above by Ferdz Decena shows what remains of the fountain that was found in front of the hotel.

What I most remember about the impact of the earthquake at Hyatt was that our family doctor was among the dead. Aside from that, the earthquake was not quite memorable in my young mind aside from the news coverage. I didn’t feel the tremor since I was in a school bus on the way home from school.

How about you? What were your memories of the July 16, 1990 earthquake?

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Posted on
July 16, 2010
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  1. Ex U.S. Navy Photographer wrote on July 16, 2010 @ 02:00PM

    As a U.S. Navy photographer and special aircrewman I was called upon to fly up to Baguio from Subic to photograph the devastation. The photos were to be used to show the U.S. senate so that they would appropriate emergency financial assistance to the Philippine government to help with the aftermath.

    I was stationed in the Philippines for nearly five years and grew to love the Philippines and her people. I had spent several weeks in Baguio over the years to rest and relax while on leave. I’ll never forget the devastation from the quake and my heart goes out to those who lost loved ones.

    Another area that was hit hard by the quake was Cabanatuan. The worst place I photographed was a vocational school there. That day there just happened to be a tour group of young kids touring the school when the quake hit. I’m afraid many of the kids did not make it out of the building. God bless their souls and may they rest in peace.

    I felt honored to be able to help in a small way by providing photographic coverage to raise funds to help but it was one job I wish I never had to photograph.

  2. Eugene wrote on July 19, 2010 @ 03:31AM

    @Ex U.S. Navy Photographer, you’ve got a very interesting story regarding the quake, and yes, Cabanatuan was as devastated by the earthquake as Baguio was. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  3. batang 80s wrote on April 25, 2013 @ 11:43PM

    Hello. I remember the 1990 earthquake well at least some parts of it very vividly. I came home from school and had lunch at one of the old school restaurants along Katipunan Ave. Went home with my aunt and her partner and then we were hanging out in my aunt’s room and the earthquake began. It was quite strong. Didn’t realize back then the damage the earthquake made.

  4. Norman Bennett wrote on December 23, 2016 @ 01:42AM

    Is there a source which lists the names of those who died in the 1990 quake at Hyatt Terraces Plaza?

  5. N Bennett wrote on September 29, 2017 @ 12:30AM

    Looking for a list of those who died at the Hyatt

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