Baguio Eats

There’s a certain kind of love that compels me to travel up North every now and then. Must be the weather, must be the food. This post will be focusing on the latter.

As previously mentioned in most of my posts, I have spent but a brief time in Baguio in 2005 during my freshman year in UP. I never actually cared about the good eats then. I relied majorly on cafeteria food, carinderia stalls, fastfood, food my roommates bring back from home, or some food I experimented. It was actually only a few years ago I realized Baguio really does boast of good food finds. Here are a few from my last trip:

Cafe Sabel is the restaurant within Bencab Museum. The restaurant has an artsy interior and a breathtaking view of the Benguet mountains. A cup of coffee would actually suffice (the view was already filling to the soul), but since it was a little past lunch time, I had to order something heavy. I opted for the Tuyo Pasta. I liked that it wasn’t too salty but still flavorful – there was a hint of herb, of cheese, and of tuyo (dried anchovies). It was a tasteful delight to the palette.

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Boyfriend had the chops. It was rather ordinary, if not for the fresh siding.
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Vizco’s Strawberry Shortcake!!! This is something you just can’t miss when in Baguio. Creamy and dreamy, just the right amount of sweetness. I’m so craving now, wish we had Vizco’s here in Manila.
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Oh My Gulay is one of the most popular culinary finds in Baguio. Owned by artist Kidlat Tahimik, it’s a restaurant and a gallery in one – the most beautiful too, methinks. I personally consider this one of the most memorable places in Baguio. Not only have I spent afternoons here after researching for my thesis, I met and had the most sensible tete a tete with artist Willy Magtibay. I believe that conversation persuaded/lead me into actually going to the direction of Artsafter Graduation.

Well, that was too much an introduction! My favorite from Oh My Gulay is their Bulaklak Tempura (Deep Fried Pumpkin Blossoms) but was unfortunately already phased out (WHAAAAT?!) so I opted for this Kabute (Mushroom) Pasta instead. Must be because I was never a fan of purely vegetarian dishes, I felt some “meat” taste lacking in the pasta.
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The Sili Omelette, however, was nice and cheesy. I always loved omelettes and have been used to having omelettes with only veggies so I had no issue with this one. Don’t let it fool you though, it isn’t hot nor spicy.

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OMG’s Clubhouse Sandwich was as fresh as it could be. It didn’t bother me that the egg was substitute for meat. I actually kind of liked it, like it was a healthy breakfast sandwich of some sort. I loved the fruity, sweet, and tangy salad dressing!
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50’s Diner is one of the oldest establishments in Baguio. Best known for its Hollywood themed interiors,you’d see posters of old movies hanging on walls. I just hope the Jukebox still works though! This is also one restaurant that boasts of grand servings so just had to had She. It’s actually a protein plate – with beauty all mixed and mashed up – pork chop, chicken wing, beef sirloin, fish fillet, hotdog, french fries, and mixed vegetables, all golden fried. Taste was nothing spectacular though, or maybe I was already full upon first sighting.
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Boyfriend had the Gambler’s Choice. It was a heavy plate too. It had beef chops, prawns in barbecue sauce, and mixed vegetables. Nothing spectacular again.
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For days, we had breakfast at the Tam-Awan Village Cafe. I was very impressed with how they fused the normal food fare with traditional flavors of the north. For example, their clubhouse sandwich had etag (fermented lean pork) instead of ham and bacon. Taste was more smoky and flavorful.
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As for their omelette, you wouldn’t get butter alone for your toast. They mixed in honey, which is one of Baguio’s best produce, to give a tinge of sweetness to the savory breakfast.

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We also dropped by Hill Station for sugar fix one afternoon. We sampled on their New York Cheesecake, which was smooth and creamy, nothing special though.

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I’ve developed an instant liking though with their Lemon Meringue Bars. It gives the right tang when you’re already having a feeling of “umay” from all the sweetness.

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For the boyfriend’s Birthday Lunch, we opted to just stay in the Village and have a helping of their Cordilleran dishes. Boyfriend chose Pinikpikan, as we missed this during our trip to Sagada a year ago.

Pinikpikan is basically a chicken stew much like tinola, only more savory. Its root word “pikpik” directly translates to “light beating”, a process the chicken undergoes for its preparation. The dish originated from Cordilleran ritual of sacrifice for special occasions.

The Village’s version had thick broth with mostly fleshy parts of the chicken and a few etag strips. Etag’s strong flavor greatly enhanced the broth, lending a smoky and salty flavor to it.

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I had kini-ing. It looks like liempo, yes, but undergoes a rather complicated method of preparation too. Kini-ing is mostly left under the sun to dry, but is smoked only when it rains. These are thinly sliced and possesses a smoky flavor. But do not mistaken this for etag, kini-ing does not undergo fermentation.

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Before we left Baguio, artist friends insisted we try dining at Good Taste. It was kind of hard to find, but if you’re wondering, it’s actually near the bus/jeepney terminal to Sagada. There were a LOT of people when we visited there. It isn’t an upscale restaurant so don’t expect too much.

Good thing though we were a bit observant of what other customers were ordering. The other table, which was only a group of three, ordered fried rice. Thus, a BIG bowl of fried rice was served in a matter of minutes, it would have been good for 8 people. Upon acknowledging the fact that their servings was hefty, we had the rice meals instead.

Boyfriend had Lechon Broccoli. Big serving, big taste. This one did not disappoint. Oh cmon, it’s lechon!

IMG_0752 I had the Beef Curry. From the smell alone, I knew they used a powdered mix. There was nothing to be overly happy about my order, except for the fresh green bell peppers perhaps.

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These are but a few of the many restaurants to dine in Baguio. I might do a better food crawl in the next visits. I need to have my boyfriend sample more food choices from Cafe by the Ruins, Tsokalate de Batirol, the Slaughterhouse, Ketchup Food Community, Sage, Solibao, Chef’s Home, and the list goes on and on.

Thus I assume, this one will be the first of many other Baguio food posts.

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Told You I’m Not Good In Writing A Lyrical Poem, Even If You Wanted It As A Song

Checked through my WordPress and found this overdue draft dated October 18, 2011. I was too shy to publish this rhyming poem (previously entitled Wild Guess: I Suppose This Shall Go Out As A Song) which Mr. Snooze requested for him to turn into a song since it has been ages, guess high school, I last written one.
You asked me to write a lyrical poem,
what do I have to assume?
Is it meant to be read or to be sung?
No choice, I have to finish this soon.
I haven’t composed in a while
words slated to bring out a smile.
Writing with measure
has been a failure.
No, I chose not to,
for it reminds me of days without you –
of lengths and distance,
an unfinished sentence,
of gaps of our breath
as we dive and sleep into the ocean’s depth.
It reminds me of our lost time,
of your then verticals I wish were mine.
I’m bad at math,
I really suck at.
But time, space, and measure
has always been a leisure.
Wonders of how far, how deep, how long,
these were my fascination all along.
But I haven’t thought of it in a while,
cause who cares about an inch, a meter, a mile,
if I have you and you have me,
and if together we shall always be.


Escape

We were on the beach that evening. Each had a horror story to share. I told mine, or my sister’s I should say. I had nothing to share but a monstrosity of feelings which was also the reason why I sought a time out of the city, and I am not sharing it in any way.

I lied down in the midst of their stories. Their words were diminished into unclear and incomprehensible murmurs. The bottle of beer slipped out of my hand, it reached and burrowed in the sand. I looked at the sky. It was clear and beautiful. The stars looked like the moment sugar is thrown into a mug of dark coffee.

This was not what we were supposed to be. We wanted to be together. But things changed. I no longer take warmth from your hands cupping mine. Comfort was no longer the blanket you put on my back while reviewing in the wee hours of the morning. Company was not as delightful as we walk from our house to school.

On my Graduation, the only sad thought pinching through the joyful celebration was the promise of us together marching from the school grounds to the commencement hall. It was too late to be possible. You remained in school for two more semesters from the day I graduated. I can no longer remember the time we felt victorious together. That could have been the chance.

I grabbed the bottle of beer, sat, and looked around. They were already done with their horror stories. I got myself up and got into our pick-up truck. Alcohol was not enough to cover their fear. They were scared out of wits on the way home. I was not, well I was, actually. I was afraid I’d be back to the city tomorrow morning. I was afraid of the odds of seeing you again.

On Summer’s End

I took the last bus ride home from the beach. I usually liked taking the night trip as I find it more relaxed and comfortable. I used to like passing through dim-lighted streets, making the stars even brighter. I used to like looking through the window where the featured sceneries that were once brimming with life has gone to sleep, dark and peaceful. I used to like the feeling of being above the earth, as if I was cradled in a hammock, with lullaby inducing sleep. However tonight, everything feels far different.

I feel uneasy. There’s something that keeps me awake, aback. My hair still smelt of seawater, making it dry and sticky at the same time. My skin was still warm and moist and dewy. My fingers moved not to the rhythm of the songs in my ipod, but paddled to the waves instead. My feet are a little dry and scaly with the tiniest of sand and dust in between my toes.

I no longer see the stars midst the dim streetlights, nor the streets gone dark and peaceful. All the windows exhibited was the playful sun, the balmy weather, the cheerful waves, and me running to the shore to greet the water. All i know is that, all that has been flashing through me is but the most recent and the swiftest memory. And the more the bus treads on its path, the farther I get from it, inch by little inch.

I wonder what is happening? I wonder how it has gone this way this time.

But all seasons are supposed to be short and temporary, does this mean this will be the end and/of the last?

Letters from the Lunchbox

I usually come to the grocery with a list of things to buy. At the end of the day however, your heart was one of the random goodies I carried home.

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I think I fell in love with you at the grocery. I can’t actually determine when and where it was exactly, but it must be at the dairy when we battled over what to get – milk or yoghurt, but decided to get both instead. Or was it at the deli, we feasted over ham and sausages and bacon. Or maybe at the baking goods section where we got both pancake and brownie mixes because we’re the awesome twosome in baking. Was it perhaps in the cellar? When we acted drunk in front of a hundred bottled spirits. Perhaps it was in the fresh produce, when you tossed eggplants and zucchinis to our cart, thinking I’d learn to eat them.

Or maybe, there ‘s really no way of knowing because I was too happy riding the cart, both hands clasping the cold metal front like a koala bear hugging the trunk of a gum tree. You were a captain in control of a cruise ship.You pushed the cart with my weight added, maneuvering from one side to the other. People looked and stared at us, while they took sidesteps to let us pass. The corridors, the aisles, the gondolas – they were ports, stopovers of goodies.

Or I guess it’s because you made me feel grocery shopping is no chore at all. You actually made me want to live there. But I can’t, so I took our bags, and the memory, and you of course, back home with me – with the thought of falling further in love with you in the kitchen.

Drunk and Dazed

I haven’t been going out for a while now. I don’t mean the partying dance and booze type. I believe I’ve outgrown such phase some years ago. I guess I just miss hanging out – sitting at the gutters, cold beer in one hand, a lighted cigarette on the other, music coming from the other lane, stare at the moon, think, talk and laugh a little, then walk home.

I was pretending to be sane and sober when alcohol has actually gotten the best of me. I mean, who wouldn’t when you’ve had gazillion alcohol mixes the past few hours, when you’ve been dancing with souls you don’t even know, when you’ve been inhaling smoke since you’ve stepped foot on this place. But that place was heaven – some place you never took me to nor accompanied me to.

I tried to believe I still had a portion of sanity then. I tried to speak like I was pensive, like I was some poet under extreme inspiration. But really, I was Sappho overwhelmed with wine. We conversed in verses – like there was an actual, truthful philosophy between the moon and its existence that night, like there was a correlation between it and us and gravity and reverie. We ended up disagreeing. We had opposing theories. We were on different sides of the chessboard.

That was our first disagreement. That wasn’t a lovers’ argument though, because we no longer were.

These memories, guess I better not drink and speak again.

Late Lunch

I turned my camera on before I sipped my lemonade. I would have wanted to take a photo of your rib-eye steak for my blog but you have already started to devour it by throwing a portion to your mouth. I grinned at you then looked at the round wall clock at the restaurant’s counter. This is a pretty late lunch at two o’clock in the afternoon and I can’t blame you for finishing your food in a wink of an eye.

You must have taken notice of my sheepish smile that you stopped and looked at me as I was halfway through twisting the linguine with my fork. You inquired how my research has been doing. I smirked and could have muttered “agonizing” without thinking, but I said “fine” along with a shrug. You didn’t take it as a good answer. You even bashed me with more queries until the real word came to you. I had no choice but to confess how I can hardly keep my spirit up the past few days. I needed to tell you it’s more than just the blinking cursor syndrome. I needed to tell you it’s more than the need for that spark of creativity.

You gave a small laugh and said “Finish your food now and I’ll get you a hug.”

I looked down at my greasy plate. The buttered chicken breast is still untouched and the pesto, just half its serving. I caught you sharing the sight when your eyes darted back to me as if initiating a challenge.

“No thanks.” I uttered in a tone lower than my usual voice. You just chuckled and came over to the opposite side of the table to give me a big fat hug.

Fictionary

Fiction doesn’t necessarily imply imagination. It may come from history, something you knew before but have already forgotten – its remembrance brings forth something novel.  It may be a reconstruction, a memory that has toppled down, but is conserved and preserved through a better thought. It may be something yet to exist, an enactment of wishes and dreams and fantasies.

Or maybe, it will just be another category in this blog.

*Definition of fiction’s mine. As per Roland Barthes, words and definitions are subjective. These are relative to one’s religion, beliefs, culture, and experience.

So there goes a disclaimer, don’t bash me then. 😛

The 11 Tracks of 2011 – Perhaps The Late-st New Year Post

I have mentioned in my previous blog that I am to answer the generic 2011 survey, but I chose to skip it this time since a.) friends have already done it in their blogs b.) I’ve done that in facebook and multiply some N years ago and c.) I don’t feel like answering a roster of questions as if I’m in a talkshow or something.

I’d opt for a mixtape of sorts instead. 11 tracks for 2011. Yes, what a concept concerning numbers! I guess I will have to try to be more creative next time. Also, all links lead to last. fm since it’s the easiest way for me to search and backtrack my 2011 playlist and ponder about last year through music. FYI, I had my last.fm resurrected/reactivated last year. 🙂

So here goes a little of 2011:

  • Friends Lovers or Nothing by John Mayer – Vague boundaries and uncertainties. Proof that one small lacking thing makes a whole lot of difference to the whole. Lessons in unity of opposites learned.

 

 

This is the last time I’ll ever say I love you/This is the last night I’ll fall among these graves/The first and last time that I’ve cried/And walk beneath the dark lonely sky

  • Happy by Natasha Bedingfield – Instant get-happy song. Reminds me of good little things around and all the reasons to foster a positive disposition.

Keep your pride young girl/It’s your life, it’s your world

  • The Quiz by Hello Saferide – My questions and riddles. Your wit and unpredictable ways. Exactly the prelude to our story.

 

  • One Sweet Love by Sara Bareilles – To being lost and found, and the anticipation between. Because all Sara Bareilles songs need not be sad and sappy, some just have to be slow and sweet.

 

 

  • We Will Not Grow Old by Lenka – Says as much as Jewel’s This Way but with a more upbeat and playful touch. Cheers to our youthful hearts!

 

 

  • Your Song by Ellie Goulding – Part of the random mixtape of us I made up in my head. When no song seems to fit us, this might be probably apt. Or so I said because this is one song I wish I could sing you, or maybe I would, one day.

 

2012’s Gameplan

Keeping up with the dates

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday to my WordPress! YEY!

My greeting’s pretty late since my internet connection at home has zonked out during the holidays and I can only resurrect online through my office PC.

I won’t be pointing out a long flashback of 2011. It was great, ok, and I have sort of written about it and my learnings on my birthday blog. Or maybe I lied, I might do a generic 2011 survey in a separate post.

This is the first time I shall be writing my plans for 2012 for the netizens to see. And here it goes:

Turn my tadpole belly into hot abs. My bulging tummy doesn’t compliment my stick thin body. I do not want to stick with that body type either! So I better excercise and discard carbs off my diet. This sounds a lot unlike me, but La Union and my new shoes better be my motivation.

Travel. I don’t have concrete plans yet except spending Holy Week at La Union. I don’t know if I’d get to Mindanao and/or Visayas again, but I’d be more than willing to be a little help to my father when he visits his hometown in Bohol. Also, I am still lusting over Vietnam and Cambodia.

Decide whether to get a new job or take MA. Will speak to my father about this over the weekend. Will ponder about this for a longer time. Adulthood, omigahd.

Write more. I am just very excited for an upcoming group blog with C and D. We haven’t finalized details though as we are discussing them via profound and relevant email exchanges aka online penpal-isms. And yes, love letters shall always be sent to you.

Save. Adulthood issues again. I’d opt for a new bank account and a new piggy bank. Plus maybe, an accounting sheet. 😛

Read more books. I got more pending books on my shelf in 2011 compared to all the past years. I haven’t succumbed to reading for I was more of a sleepy slug. I just hope to finish everything in my shelf and borrow more books from friends. Suggestions and interesting titles are very much welcome.

Learn to cook. Just because I’m getting older and not gaining credits in the kitchen. Hope by the end of next year, I get to whip up a sumptuous holiday dinner for the family. Ok, mama, papa, and Mr. Snooze, I need your help.

Get adequate sleep time. Simply no oversleeping nor lack of. This seems quite impossible, but will have to try.

Include patience in my dictionary. I should have earned this thing in my younger years so I can use it by now. Tssss.

Be creative. Do more weekend projects and/or gift projects for people. Ok, to make this quite easy, include creative blogging/writing in this category. I’m already sort of cheating when I haven’t even started yet.

Learn to be more girly. Wear a little more make-up. Dress like a woman. Take care of my skin and go through some sort of beauty regimen. Well, I shall start simple like using a toner, a moisturizer, and sunblock. I use sunblock everyday anyway, I already have cookie points! 😛

That’s it for now. I shall add to the list as the year goes on.

Have a happy 2012! 😀