Summer is fast approaching and a breath of Baguio City is a must. Soon enough, a friend invited us to her wedding in Baguio City over the weekend. It was a short notice but we agreed eventually. After enduring a 6hour travel from Manila via Sctex, we arrived. We stayed at Hotel Supreme at Magsaysay Road for our accommodation. Since the wedding is just a halfday event, we have the whole Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to spare around the City of Pines.
Most tourists are after Baguio’s tourist destinations, the likes of Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Camp John Hay, Philippine Military Academy and Strawberry Farm. The places are quite far from point to point, but the transportation is accessible although traffic can be a little congested in some areas.
This time however, my food partner Darwin, and I were just with our adventurous feet and Panagbenga feast was still around so we decided to explore the taste of Baguio. How will you know if food is good? Look for the longer waiting line. So we ended up lining up in a sandwich stall and bought a footlong just for a quick snack. What’s so special with the sandwich is that it has fresh vegetables – cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce. It is indeed a Baguio footlong for only Php 35.00. The fruit juices however is a failure.
As the real search for local delicacy began, we resorted to Google for the list of restaurants which serves Baguio authentic delicacy. To our dismay, Baguio is a diversified place so they don’t have that authentic Sisig Kapampangan or Pinakbet Ilokano cuisine that we are looking. Instead, we decided to stroll around Session Road to continue our quest. Then it led us to Café by the Ruins Dua. It is a second (dua) branch of the famous Café by the Ruins in Chuntug Street. The place is serene with wood interiors and artworks. The menu serves burgers, pasta and main courses. Baguio Bagnet and Sinigang na Bagnet are amongst their best sellers. We ordered Baguio Bagnet but instead of Sinigang we had Pinikpikan.
Pinikpikan is a dish from the mountains of the Cordillera region in the Philippines. It is prepared by beating a live chicken with a stick prior to cooking. It tastes like Tinola with less saltiness.
Just when we thought that Bagnet are all the same, it isn’t. The Baguio Bagnet has its distinct flavor compared to other bagnets that we’ve tried. It has that herb-kick taste that made it unique. More so, it complements the red organic rice that the resto serves.
For dessert, we took the Rizal Tsokolate-e with Suman. It was told that when a chocolate was served during Spanish era and it is favored by the drinker it is called Tsokolate-eh (espresso). On the contrary, if the drinker disliked the taste it is called Tsokolate-ah (aguada). To keep a Baguio twist, you must take a bite of suman with the strawberry bits that comes with it. Its sweet-sour taste combined with a hot chocolate suits perfectly with the cold weather.
The next day, before we leave we got a chance to see my bestfriend who took up her med school in St. Louis University. She introduced us to another food haven owned by Heart Evangelista’s cousin Happy Ongpauco-Tin. You can do cross orders in these three restaurants: Pamana for fine dining Filipino delicacies, Hawaiian Backyard Bbq for casual dining and Tsokolateria Artisinal Café for desserts.
You will be welcomed by the Igorot statues as you go down. The place is enticing and sanitary. Each restaurant has a dining place of their own. The eye-catcher is the Tsokolateria located down the Igorot stairs. You’ll surely get that backyard feels while enjoying your cup of chocolate.
Upon opening the menu, we were overwhelmed with the choices. They give each normal menu a twist. Irresistible to Darwin, he had Pampanga’s Sisig which costs P150. For us girls, we gave their pasta a shot. Malunggay Pesto and Longganisa Pasta both which goes with Baguio Salad and Soup which only costs P200 and P240 respectively. I have to admit that the Malunggay Pesto is a must-try. As a pesto enthusiast, the Malunggay gave the pasta the veggy taste that will make indulgence guilt-free. Additionally, it comes with Baguio salad served with honey chocolate as its dressing.
Chocolate balls with choco dip and Chocolate-e for dessert is already good for 3 persons. Sticking to its Artisan theme, you get that feel of preparing your drinks with the stirring wood that comes with it. I commend the huge servings both for pasta and dessert, these are real value for your money.
Finishing off, it was a satisfying Baguio food trip adventure for us. Though most dishes are not authentically Baguio cuisine, but the twist that they add into it made us say “Ah, Only in Baguio”