When in Baguio, make sure to visit Mt. Kalugong Eco Park, a taxi can get you there within 20-30 minutes, if traffic conditions are favorable. It’s an easy hike, you’ll reach the Eco Park from the highway within 30 minutes. Some taxi drivers might drop you off near the park entrance so you’ll save time walking on a steep road.
What you’ll get? A magnificent view of the whole La Trinidad and Baguio City, awesome rock formations that you can climb, uncrowded place and cool breeze. And if you’re lucky enough, you might witness sea of clouds and awesome sunrise.
Tip: If you’re planning on going there to catch the sunrise and you see the gate locked, text or call the number posted on the signage near the entrance. Also, DON’T LITTER.
Although I had to climb up five flights of stairs to get to this place (!!!), I loved Oh My Gulay (English: Oh My Vegetable) for its quirky name, its delicious vegetarian fare, and its local, artsy ambiance.
The family ordered Onyon Rings Yon (crispy deep fried onion rings served with tempura sauce), Oh My Gulay Rice (native brown rice with ten vegetables in season mixed with our Mongolian sauce, topped with steamed tofu and omelet), Kabute Pasta (oyster, Shiitake, button mushrooms with bechamel sauce and cheddar cheese), Sili Omelet (sauteed red and green peppers, chili fingers, garlic, onions, and eggs, with cheese basil toast), and because the Mushroom Onion Crepe which I originally wanted wasn’t available, I had the OMG Club Sandwich (double decker sandwich of plum tomatoes, cucumber, and fried egg with mixed greens).
I must make a mental note to stop ordering club sandwiches because I really cannot finish all the bread that goes into these sandwiches. But otherwise, I was happy with how fresh and crunchy the cucumber, tomatoes, and lettuce were. The salad also had a sweet citrusy vinaigrette (which tasted like calamansi or Philippine lemon). G, his mom and his brother were also happy with what they ordered. I got to try the onion rings which were fried to a perfect crisp and had nicely cooked, sweet yellow onion rings.
La Trinidad is around 30 minutes away from Baguio City. Although possibly one of the biggest tourist traps in the area, I really wanted to go to the Strawberry Farm to see all the fresh strawberries (plus other fresh produce like lettuce, brocolli, etc!) and experience strawberry picking! The family just shared one basket (when we were there the prices ranged Php450.00-Php600.00 a kilo!) and did the rest of our shopping in the market where prices are much cheaper. We made sure to pick the most red, firm and sweetest smelling strawberries we could get our hands on!
Just outside the farm there are a lot of vendors selling different kinds of delicacies - including all things strawberry like strawberry jam, strawberry wine, strawberry taho, and strawberry ice cream! There was an option to have your ice cream served in a bun or a cone, but I decided to have mine served in the traditional sugar cone so I could enjoy the strawberry flavor.
My blog already has a couple of entries about the original taho but in Baguio, which is well-known for growing fresh strawberries, they serve STRAWBERRYtaho, which has the same warm, soft silken tofu and chewy sago pearls, but served with a sweet strawberry syrup with fresh strawberry chunks! Super yummy in the cold Baguio weather!
After our four-hour drive up north from Manila to Baguio, G’s family and I had our first meal at Cafe by the Ruins. This cafe is one of the city’s best-known restaurants so it was packed with people - we had to wait for an hour for a table but the meal was definitely worth it. I also appreciated how the servers, in spite of the crowd of people wanting to eat here, were attentive and efficient.
Nothing satisfies hunger from long travel more than a hearty Filipino meal. All of us chose a dish from the Breakfast Selections (which came with coffee or tea and a bowl of fresh fruit): Bacon and Eggs which had thick slices of home cured bacon, one egg, and rice, Ruins’ Breakfastwhich had smoked Baguio-style longganisa made in the cafe, served with fresh tomatoes and eggs and garlic rice, and off-menu, the Embutido (meat loaf) and Beef Tapa (cured beef).I had the Tinapang Bangus, itlog na maalatwhich includes smoked boneless bangus (milkfish) served with salted duck egg and chopped tomato salad, but since I wasn’t fond of salted duck egg (sorry!), I asked for a fried egg instead. I liked their fish a lot because it wasn’t as salty as other smoked milkfish I’ve had. I think the pandan leaf they placed inside the fish helped tame down the flavor.
Also, you cannot go to Cafe by the Ruins without trying their freshly baked bread! By the time we ordered, they had only two types of bread left: Bolillos (rolls with a crunchy crust) and the Foccacia (fragrant bread with garlic and rosemary), which we had with Kesong Puti (Carabao Cottage Cheese) and Basil. Served warm, both breads were soft and tender and delicious with the cheese and basil.
This definitely made for a perfect first stop for our visit to Baguio!
I think it was mainly by luck that we ended up in this place, because their sign was small and hardly noticeable. I wasn’t able to take photos of the place but it was a cozy wooden house smack in the middle of a serene garden.
We had a nice Italian dinner of pastas (Seafood Marinara, Beef Bolognese, and Creamy Pesto) and pizzas (Neapolitan and Beef & Cream). I liked all the pastas that we tried, and the pizzas were really good too - nice thin crusts with enough cheese on top and fresh ingredients (tomatoes and basil on the Neapolitan and the spring onions on the Beef & Cream).
To end the night the family all had a nice cup of coffee (which had a nice cinnamon-y taste to it) while I had a cup of tea (which was served with a mildly sweet honey that had a touch of lemon which I thoroughly enjoyed).
Rumah Sate at the Ketchup Food Community (Baguio City, Benguet)
For one of our lunches, we headed to the Ketchup Food Community which housed a couple of restaurants. Given the crazy crowd of people that were there, we ended up at Rumah Sate which is an Indonesian-Malaysian restaurant. And it did not disappoint! For starters, we had the Mie Goreng which was stir-fried noodles that had a nice peanut-flavored sauce mixed with seafood, meat and vegetables (topped with lime juice). We then shared this humongous Group Sate which had a large cone of rice, skewers of chicken satay, grilled chicken, and grilled pork belly, plus a salad of fresh cucumbers, oranges, tomatoes, and vinegar with green chilies. Whew!!!