Eat Til You Drop in Baguio City

It’s no secret that Baguio City is an eater’s paradise. Here are but some local restaurants to check out for grub.

By Maritess Garcia-Reyes
January 16, 2012

Baguio City is not only the summer capital of the Philippines, but is also a gastronomic sanctuary for foodies and backpackers alike. Be it a steaming hot bowl of  Bulalo by the streetside or  a cup of gourmet coffee by a view deck, Baguio City will definitely have something to please one's palate.  On our recent trip to Baguio City, we went around to discover (and rediscover) its wide array of delightful offerings.

Photo by Maritess Garcia-Reyes

First stop is our all time favorite, Café by the Ruins. Located in Chuntug Street, in front of the city hall and not so far away from the famous Burnham Park, Café by the Ruins features natural and local ingredients of the Cordillera region including organically-grown brown rice, fresh vegetables, and a variety of cheeses and yogurt products. We had a heavy brunch composed of Pan de Sal with Herbed Cheese Spread, Fisherman's Breakfast (a plate of homemade dried fish, egg and brown rice), Farmer's Breakfast (home-cured bacon, egg and brown rice), Rizal's Chocolate-e and Ruins' Coffee. It also serves the famous Cordillera dish, Pinikpikan, a chicken soup with "etag" (salted pork) and ginger. The place is the remains of a garden theater which was later converted into the gracious home of Phelps Whitmarsh, the first civil governor of Benguet. The house was built early in the last century and destroyed in World War II. It was later turned into a cafe and became popular especially to artists and photographers because of its scenic setup.

After indulging into a sumptuous breakfast, we craved for some sugar fix and ended up at the Filling Station in Camp John Hay. There, we discovered a strawberry haven - Strawberries & Ice Cream. True to its name, it serves all things strawberry, from ice cream to cream puffs. We ordered a huge serving of Simply Strawberry Ice Cream (which, by the way, is not too simple at all!), Strawberry Cream Puff and Strawberry Juice (the purest strawberry juice I have ever had).  I almost forgot that we were in a frigid countryside as I tremendously enjoyed my cup of ice cream.

Photo by Maritess Garcia-Reyes

After roaming around the usual spots in Baguio, we headed to our next stop, Forest House in Loakan Road for dinner. The place was born of a concept to capture the very essence of Baguio City - warm, cozy, and a breath of fresh air. Its ambiance is very homey, yet romantic and sophisticated. Forest House's specialty is no other than Bagnet or crispy pork belly, the way you want it - Binagoongan, Dinuguan, or as an appetizer. It also offers a variety of gourmet dishes like pastas, steaks and desserts. While we enjoyed the food, we were serenaded by a band with their repertoire of jazz, classics and standards.

To cap the night, we went to another famous foodie destination in the summer capital - Chocolate de Batirol. I thought they only served different variations of hot chocolate. Little did I know that they also serve Filipino breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. The traditional blend of hot chocolate served at Chocolate de Batirol is made by boiling chocolate paste or tablea in water while stirring it with batirol (a wooden stirrer). The rich and creamy hot chocolate tastes nutty and bittersweet, a perfect treat before one goes to sleep.

So the next time I visit Baguio, I'll make sure to have a lot of space in my tummy to give way to the summer capital's delicious specialties. Bon appétit!