Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Camp John Hay - Before

The Camp John Hay (CJH) Air Force Base of before was originally a United States Armed Forces military reservation.  It was not really a military camp or installation but a recreation facility for USAF men stationed in various real military bases in the Philippines.  There was no airstrip or any military equipment in the base.  It has a beautiful golf course (I don't play golf) that is a main attraction to many, locals and military personnel alike.  The course is so well designed and had an annual event every December that foreigners and locals participate in.

The Main Gate, as they call it, was practically at the tip of  the main city road, Session Road.  A very welcoming main entry to the base.  Until the early 70s, I believe, to have access to CJH, you have to apply for a gate pass as long as you're 18 years old and above.  It was such as a great recreation center that it was the main center also for night life before.

Camp John Hay had the Half-Way House that featured nightly band performers and a dance floor.  In its earlier years it had some slot machines somewhere at back part.  Not far from there, maybe half a mile, is the Mile High Bowling Center.  It had only 6-lanes of fully automated Ten-Pin facility.  Aside from that there were pinball machines, pool tables, darts, table tennis and an unforgettable snack center.  For about the same distance more into the base is the 19th Tee Golf Club to the left and the Billeting Office to the right, coming from the fork of the road.

Farther up from the golf club is the Scout Hill that has more open-air recreation facilities. A baseball field, volleyball court, tennis courts, skating rink, ice cream parlor, snack bar, a mini-golf course and a children's playground.  It is actually a park within the main circumferential road.  Across the roads are beautiful cottages where military personnel are billeted.  Across the volleyball court is an entry leading to the Ambassador's residence.  I believe the location of the residence is where General Yamashita surrendered (or yielded his Samurai) to the U.S. armed forces after World War II (I hope I'm right with this one)
Okay, this one's getting too long - from here I'll to do a Part 2 next time - more on the surroundings of Scout Hill.  (I hope I can also get some old photos of CJH)
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