Approximately 250 north of Manila is that highland haven hailed both by locals and foreigners alike: Baguio City. The primary attraction comes from its cool-to-cold mountain climate which purportedly seldom exceeds 26 ºC.
Another reason why we city dwellers are willing to brave the dizzying zigzagged roads to the Summer Capital of the Philippines is the abundance of delicious food. Fresh vegetables and fruits abound in Baguio and tourists flock not only to the famous city landmarks but also to the public market to buy cheap goods. Strawberries, Sagada seedless oranges, lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower are some of the most common edible products to be found in the clean market located near Burnham Park.
Aside from fresh produce, Baguio is also famous for its strawberry jam, ube (purple yam) jam, peanut brittle and sundot kulangot (coconut jam in wooden orbs picked with sticks much like how one would pick a booger). These can also be found in the market but most tourists prefer the ones made by the Good Shepherd Sisters near Minesview Park.
And during our visit there last weekend, I discovered another scrumptious treat: the grilled dried squid at the Mines View Park. I had always wanted to try it but whenever I went to Baguio with my relatives, they never seemed to keen on eating any. It was a really good thing that Moche was willing to give it a try so there we were, consuming stick after stick of grilled, dried, and vinegar-dipped goodness. We even went out of our way the next day to go back and eat some more!
From there we went to the Good Shepherd Sisters and bought loads of pasalubongs. The line was long but the counter ladies were very efficient. We were out of there in no time at all.
Our next stop was the Camp John Hay where my officemates bought some raisin bread at Le Chef at the Manor.
After several hours of touring Camp John Hay, we went to the much talked about 50’s Diner. It was jampacked when we got there but we were just in time because one group was already on its way out. Our very beautiful resident tourguide assured us numerous times that the sandwiches were already good for two. But lunch seemed like a thing of the very distant past and the prices were cheap so we ordered a sandwich each. Needless to say, we could not finish off everything!
This experience made us wiser so when we had our late lunch the next day, Moche and I shared a B.L.T. sandwich and we were happier. And at this point, I would like to make a recommendation: the Barista Kiss frappe. According to the description on the menu, this is a coffee-based shake with a fruit infusion. I asked the waitress what is the fruit for this frappe and she said it’s banana. I am not a fan of banana shakes but I still took the risk and got rewarded for it. The Barista Kiss is to die for. I loved it at first sip!
We stayed at the Vistro Pension House along Session Road, beside the Microtel Hotel. This made it possible for us to sample the breakfast buffet served at the Te Quiero Tapas Bar & Restaurant the following day. For the price of P250, we were able to have our fill of continental and Filipino breakfast. It was definitely worth it.
I am no newbie to Baguio City as we used to go there yearly en route to Ilocos Sur or on our way back. But our road trip last weekend allowed me to experience Baguio City in a different way. Because of this, I can’t wait to go back there and finish what I have started: a gastronomical tour of the city. I am yet to eat at Oh My Gulay and I promise not pass it up next time.***photos were taken using a 4th generation iPod Touch