Anonymous Paul posted a query in the comment section:
Hi there, I was in Camp Phillips just last weekend and quite enjoyed the place. I was wondering why it’s called a “camp”? Was Camp Phillips established the same time with the Del Monte planation or was it a separate American forces station before? There’s limited info and just thought to ask a resident.
I realized that he is right – not much has been posted about the origins of the name. Okay, so here it is:
Why is it called a camp?
Sadly, that is a vestige of the old practice used by colonizers who used to hire slaves to work in plantations – in the US and in Africa. They put up housing basecamps for workers and called them simply as camps. The first batch of Americans who put up the Philippine Packing Corporation (the precursor of Del Monte) followed the practice of providing decent housing to workers. They used to be called by the numbers. Camp 1, 2, 3 until 17. Eventually, when the pioneer Americans left or retired, some camps were named in their honor. Camp 1 (the biggest outside of Phillips) was renamed Camp JMC (James McCrawford), and Camp 12 was named after the pioneer Lawrence Phillips.
Was Camp Phillips established the same time with the Del Monte planation or was it a separate American forces station before?
The camps were built right after the start of the operations in 1926. The US Airforce base in nearby Dicklum was built during World War 2 precisely because the Americans were already here in the plantation and they needed a new headquarters after Subic and Clark were bombed. After the war, the US Bases maintained a weather station and, apparently, a stockpile for nuclear bombs, until the Philippine congress did not renew the Mutual Defense Treaty during the time of Cory Aquino.
Photo credit: Philippine Daily Photos