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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Lover, Here’s An In-Flight Postcard

Dear Lover,

At this point, I may already be somewhere in the clouds snoozing and dreaming we’d spend the flight and days I am away together. I have never told you, but I actually always felt uneasy flying. There’s a certain paranoia to me being up there seeing nothing, doing nothing. You never noticed that, did you? How can you, actually, when all flights spent with you I always feel safe and assured – with just your hand in mine or with my head on your shoulder. I’ll force myself to sleep again, uncomfortable it may be. Or maybe I just have to play your voice records or some relaxation music you have downloaded for me, just to compensate.

As early as now, I am telling you I might not speak as much as we do. As you see, our day has already started and would end maybe when the city lights come to a close. I will make up to you though in the morning, I promise. I will send you photos of our hotel room. I will take snaps of food served (though I get a bit shy when there’s too many people around). I will speak of my evil comparisons between you know what and what. I will tell you stories of people, how they look like, what they do, and how I think about them. I now imagine your chubby face taking over my screen, laughing, making snark comments, and looking at me lovingly like a normal PDA moment back home. Haha!

Just a few reminders: First, get the little rabbits water bottles and look for their shampoo, I can’t remember where I put it, but we need to give them a shower before we send them off for adoption. Second, NBC has cancelled Hannibal and I think they’re airing the entire series in a faster pace than it’s supposed to. Download, do not watch. You have to watch it with me. Lastly, do not miss me yet, there are two more days to go, you might already feel too much longing and anticipation by the last day. I do not want you fuming in anger or crying in frustration when our flight back home gets delayed.

Well, this has become embarrassing, I am too random.

That, and I love you. A million hugs await you.

One Day I Shall Make Us A Travelogue

Trekking Together

The way to my heart doesn’t take forever to travel. It is only composed of rough, dirty, and dangerous roads which takes a little less than a lifetime to arrive at. But there are other passages, neither I do not know, that leads to it.

You were the most courageous to take the alternate route, the path no man has even tried to lay his feet on. This bravery only counts as cookie points my dear, there’s miles and miles more to travel and a lot more weather turbulence to beat.

But you have been persistent, so far. You haven’t only calmed down the hurricanes on the way to my heart, but also beat the storms I myself have come across – just to make sure I come out unharmed and unscathed. You even made me enjoy the strong rains and wind that were once unbearable.

You did not only mind the unknown trail which leads to my heart, you also cared about the path I was taking. Oh dear, you’re just too brave to take two of my adventures. And I’m more than grateful that you do. How’s it going taking two rough roads?