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The American Residence in Baguio is a site of enduring diplomatic, military, and cultural significance in American and Philippine history. Completed in 1940 during the Commonwealth period, the Residence survived the ravages of World War II and a great earthquake in 1990.

Originally conceived of as the summer residence of the American Governor-General, the residence continues to be a favored site for representing America's broad interests in the Philippines. Though the advent of air conditioning has made it unnecessary for the Philippine Government to formally move to Baguio for the summer months, much of its leadership transfers there for working vacations. The annual post-Christmas reception at the Residence is a highlight of the calendar year with the Philippine President and members of the cabinet in attendance.

At the turn of the century, the first U.S. Governor General William Howard Taft was oppressed by the heat of Manila and sought a cooler spot for a summer government retreat. Under the eye of the future President, the government began to develop Baguio which author Stanley Karnow described as "a carbon copy of a town back home. ..It remains to this day a charming remnant of the U.S. presence in the archipelago."
The Residence achieved true landmark status on September 3, 1945 as the site of the unconditional surrender of all Japanese forces in the Philippines in World War II. Appropriately, the senior American officer present was Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright, who had surrendered the Philippines to the Japanese in 1942 after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. General Douglas MacArthur chose Wainwright, still haggard from over three years in Japanese prison camps, as his personal emissary to the surrender in Baguio.

Flanking Wainwright at the long dining room table in the bullet-pocked living room were other senior Allied officers, including British General Sir Arthur Percival, who had been forced to surrender Singapore to General Yamashita in 1942. Directly across was General Yamashita. The swords handed over by the General and his staff lay on the table in front of the Allied contingent.

September 3, 1945, the surrender of all Japanese forces in the Philippines was completed and the war officially ended.