Baguio City is a sanctuary for those seeking an idyllic break from the demands of metropolitan living. Specially this coming Valentine’s Day, the City of Pines is a great place for a food expedition. Here is a quick list of “only in Baguio” food specialties and restaurants that one can visit one after the other in a Baguio food trip vacation:
Strawberry taho. Sold almost everywhere in the city, good old-fashioned taho made from soya is drizzled with strawberry syrup and, if one is lucky, fresh strawberries. The slight tanginess of the syrup and fresh fruit bits blend nicely with the soft and creamy soya, making this taho a hit among adults and children.
Café by the Ruins
One of the most satisfying places in the city to have breakfast in, Café by the Ruins serves aromatic, full bodied and flavourful coffee to perk up one’s morning. They also have unique tea infusions for the non-coffee drinker. Also available are a variety of Philippine style hot chocolate drinks, fresh fruit shakes and juices, pure carabao’s milk, special breads and spreads, and comfort food in the form of breakfast meals and sandwiches.
Their bestsellers include the delicious, signature Ruins coffee; simple but surprisingly delicious kamote bread; the unassuming Filipino longganisa-sinangag-itlog (uniquely dubbed as “lon-si-log”); classic bacon and eggs; rich blueberry muffins packed with fresh blueberry fruits; and the comfort food kesong puti with basil as a twist.
Café by the Ruins serves breakfast from 7:00 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily.
Café Sabel of BenCab Museum
After strolling around session road and Burnham park, head to the BenCab Museum for lunch and cultural sightseeing. Located at the lower third level of the BenCab Museum, Café Sabel offers healthy and interesting food choices such as farm fresh green salad with strawberry vinaigrette, carrot and pumpkin soup, carrot and ginger soup, tomato basil pasta, basil pesto pasta, chicken paprika, tuna with pineapple panini, strawberry shake, cucumber cooler, and a selection of herbed teas. Coffee lovers should also try BenCab’s Brew, which is freshly brewed from native Arabica coffee beans.
After lunch, and with a full tummy, it’s time to explore the various levels of the BenCab Museum and see intricate Ifugao sculptures and learn about how life was in the Cordillera’s centuries ago. The museum also has an extensive collection of Mr. Ben Cabrera’s paintings.
Choco-late de Batirol
Merienda time is best spent at a quaint little café tucked in a garden near Camp John Hay. If it’s drizzling at noon time in Baguio, sipping hot chocolate from a mug can feel quite heavenly, while chit chatting with friends or reading a book. One can do this at Choco-late de Batirol.
They serve sumptuous comfort food to customers seeking refuge from the city’s cool weather. The old and young alike will love their traditional hot tsokolate for its distinct tablea flavor that is not cloyingly rich and sweet. Other hot chocolate drink selections in the menu include Baguio blend (made with strawberries), cinnamon, almond, Cointreau or orange-flavored liquer, Kahlua, and choco mallows. Lovers of cold chocolate drinks will love the café’s flavored variations of ice-cold tsokolate. Snacks such as suman sa latik, bibingka and turon de langka are great accompaniments to their hot chocolate during particularly cold and rainy days.
Choco-late de Batirol also serves unique breakfast fare such as longganisa Vigan and tocino kalabaw. It likewise serves a variety of local dishes such as dinuguan, paksiw na lechon, beef caldereta and boneless daing na bangus.
Te Quiero Tapas Bar and Restaurant
An evening in Baguio can be magical at the inhouse restaurant of Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham. Te Quiero as the restaurant is called, is Spanish-inspired and serves a wide variety of Western and Asian dishes. Te Quiero’s menu explains that a tapa is originally a small plate or bowl containing a few nuts, olives, cheese or ham, served with wine, beer, sherry or wine, either as a snack or as an appetizer.
Nowadays, the range of tapas has become more varied as reflected in Te Quiero’s menu. The restaurant serves cold tapas specialties such as jamon serrano, salami mixto, and picante salchica y queso de cabra. Their hot tapas bestsellers include salpicao de carne de vacuno, caldereta de cabra, and callos a la madrilèna.
Te Quiero offers a tapas buffet during their Tapas nights every Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. An acoustic band plays on these nights and why not order a bottle of very cold beer or a glass of Spanish wine while relaxing and enjoying the music.
The great selection of flavorful finds in Baguio City would surely satisfy the craving of any foodie who visits the city. And for the seasoned road traveller, the best way to reach the City of Pines is through Victory Liner, which has been consistently providing safe and reliable bus transportation to Baguio City and other places in Northern Luzon for 70 years now.
So this weekend, visit Baguio City and enjoy not only its unusually cool weather but the “only in Baguio” food specialties and restaurants.
* A Baguio experience with bed pal Smash who wrote most of the content here. This again, is for my boys as reference should they consider spending a few days in Baguio City.