Hurts & Broken Hearts

Most of you might be surprised to see yet another entry that deviates from my usual posts. Let’s just say, I am trying to share a little more of myself. So here’s something I wrote some 9 years ago.

Loving, getting hurt, and loving again and getting hurt again may sound over-used as a blog topic and it may sound cheesy. But on second thought, it doesnt matter since its always relatable.

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We are all human. Even superheroes have there human side. No matter what our economic background, cultural standings and our chosen profession is — we all bleed the same color if we are cut. But more than that, we are prone to heart break and old battle scars from old relationships that somehow went wrong.

Relationship failures, if we knew why they went wrong or not, we still ask ourselves with “Why? What did I do wrong?” And this could be one sided or on both sides of the relationship.

Some affairs are made in heaven. And there are certain relationships that are simply not meant to be. They are doomed from the very beginning. Then there are those that start off as a storybook romance, and then they sour over time.

After being in a string of bad relationships, we start to wonder if we are defeated… defective… useless… It becomes hard to open our heart again to anyone and to trust someone again. Even if it involves trusting yourself to let go to love again.

BUT, if we don’t let go — how are we going to get over the heartbreak and turn it into another battle scar? Too bad they don’t award the purple heart of valor and bravery for surviving undesirably painful relationships.

“The only way to forget is to accept, and the only way to move on is to look ahead. And let the footprints of the past, be blown away by the wind of time. Only then can our hearts find a partner in the dance of life.” — This is one of my all-time favorite lines from Joe D’Mango.

BUT, again, we have to take baby steps in learning how to let go of the past and how to trust again, even with all the wounds and scars and broken hearts.For if we don’t, our heart would not heal enough to give ourselves another chance at the crazy roller coaster called love.

Perhaps, one difficult situation one could possibly be into is when two broken-hearted individuals collide. I wonder if together, it would help them heal each other. Sounds weird, but it could be something that could happen. Its about taking chances, its about taking risks, its full of uncertainty… but who knows… a sweet love story is on the brew.

I wrote (and first posted) this blog at my Multiply account on October 24, 2008. It was inspired by my bonding with some friends who have shared their love stories with me – most of which were tales of being broken-hearted. During those times, I was in a seemingly perfect relationship and so hearing their stories made me realize how fortunate I was with the person I have. Some 9 years after I wrote this one, it made me reminisce my personal “hurt and brokenness” experience 7 years ago. So I guess we all have our fair share of injustices when it comes to love. Nevertheless, I am still on high hopes that someday, I will meet that someone who will make me believe in love again.

***Photos used are 9 years old as well 🙂

If it is meant to be, our hearts will find each other when we meet. And if our hearts melt together so will our bodies and souls. Then every word and every touch will fuel our passion flame. I will be yours, you will be mine, and we will be one.

BADU: A Sumptuous La Trinidad Diner- Café (Benguet, PH)

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” – Cesar Chavez

Most tourists/ visitors come to Baguio not only for its cool weather, but also for the various cafĂ©s and restaurants that offer palatine-satisfying cuisine. Nearby Benguet capital, La Trinidad, is frequented because of its famed Strawberry Farm. What most people do not know and recognize, is the fact that the region’s “salad bowl” is also home to an array of must try local eateries. Case in point is this very simple, yet gastronomically satiating diner – cafĂ© along Km. 6 in La Trinidad, Benguet.badu7

BADU, may literally be translated as the local term for “dress”, however it is actually named after the owners surnames. This diner-cafĂ© made its humble beginning in July 2016. One of the co-owners, Sir Abner Bayangan, enthusiastically talked about his eating place with a clear mission, and that is “to serve a 5-star menu to anyone and everyone at an affordable price”. It may sound too good to be true but one really has to pay them a visit and try the food they serve. Most of the meals in their menu are actually with a hint of Cordilleran flavor. Because of this, they have slowly attracted locals to come and dine their restaurant. They also boast off their signature cakes & desserts, and coffee & tea.

My friends and I were pretty fortunate that we have chanced upon Sir Abner in his food place. For me, the next best thing to eating food, is talking about it.  So, I personally love how passionate when the owner started sharing stories about BADU. So while waiting for our food to be served, we got the chance to know more about BADU. Aside from wanting to serve quality food at affordable prices, Sir Abner said that he wants BADU to be a place where people can spend time talking with each other, eventually starting a community, and remember happy moments.

BADU may not be as fancy looking as other cafe – restaurants within Baguio and La Trinidad, but its simplicity and the FOOD experience make up for it. Besides, investing on the grandiosity of a place can be superficial in the long run.

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Now on with the FOOD experience at BADU: As I have mentioned earlier, most meals and even pasta have a touch of Cordillera. In particular, the food we’ve tried has “kiniing”.

“KINIING” 101: According to “Slow Food for Biodiversity”, “kiniing” is a cured pork product made from meat obtained from locally raised native black pigs. To prepare the product, the lean parts of the meat are thinly sliced while guava leaves are first boiled in salted water. This decoction is removed from the fire, the guava leaves are removed, and the water is transferred into a container where the meat can be soaked for a few minutes. The use of guava leaves acts not only to scent the soaking water, but also creates a smell that drives away flies or other insects that might destroy the meat. It also helps to harden the meat.   Next, the meat is smoked over pinewood to help preserve it and add flavor. For tastier kiniing, the meat is hung in the “suuban“, the top of the clay stove used for daily cooking, for a month or two.

My personal verdict: Generally, all “kiniing” food were surprisingly good. I like how the kiniing blended well with the white, creamy sauce of their “Kiniing Alfredo Pasta”, the “Kiniing Poppers” (a local wine-infused kiniing) tasted really good, their signature meal called “Badu Rice” is definitely a hungry-man’s meal as it contains 3 different dishes (a Szechuan flavored pork dish, a stir-fried vegetable dish, and my favorite of the 3 – a kiniing-stuffed chicken cordon bleu). But from among the meals served, my taste buds would agree with my stomach that the “kinisig” – a kiniing-infused sisig was the star of the table.

And for dessert, we got to try an array of their saccharine delights. They have various ice cream cakes (in vanilla, chocolate, and matcha flavors). But the matcha cheesecake, ice cream cheesecake, and lemon cake all made me want to forget a possible surge in my blood glucose level. They were that good!

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It was a gastronomically delightful afternoon with new found friends at this modest place. Thank you to Sir Abner for sharing his place of love, bravery and community to us. Thank you for reminding us who also dream of owning a cafe/ restaurant someday, that putting up such business isn’t all about profit… that money will follow when we do things right. (Thanks too, to Momshie Sheryl of I am Storyteller for inviting me to join you). Shout out also to Chiki of Turistaboy, Relyn of Hello, Relyn, Demy, Shemen, and Sir Kurt (my pleasure to meet you all).

So, the next time you are in La Trinidad, whether you are there to visit the Strawberry Farm and Stobosa Houses, or climb Mount Jumbo and Mount Kalugong, drop by BADU and experience their food.

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BADU is located at the 3rd Floor of Amos Bldg., KM6 in La Trinidad. Your landmarks include the last gate of Benguet State University (this is the gate closest to its athletic/ playing area), and its walking distance from the entry point of the Strawberry Farm. You can also visit their website HERE.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

WN Hilltop BnB (Baguio City)

I want my home to be that kind of place–a place of sustenance, a place of invitation, a place of welcome. Mary DeMuth, Live Uncaged: Find the Freedom You’ve Always Wanted

An Airbnb is defined as an online marketplace and hospitality service. This allows people to rent short-term lodging. This may include apartment rentals, bed and breakfast places, homestays, or even hostel beds. I first tried this when I went to Auckland, New Zealand last year. Having a pretty high cost of living, a hotel stay for 2 weeks seems not a good and practical idea. So I opted for the way cheaper alternative – that is to try Airbnb. Fast-forward, a few weeks ago, I told myself that I should try an Airbnb in Baguio City, and at an instant, I was accommodated by a nice Airbnb host named Lex.

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Perched on top a private property, in a seemingly unobtrusive wood-carving neighborhood along Asin Road in Baguio City, is a home-turned-BnB. It is simply called WN Hilltop BnB. Asin Road is a major thoroughfare in the City of Pines that isn’t exactly at the center. It’s the main road that goes to nearby Tuba’s hot springs and the famed Ben Cab Museum. With that in mind, it may not instantly be a top choice for a place to stay in Baguio, especially if what you want is something very near the major Baguio tourist attractions.

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I, myself was a bit worried that transportation or travel time be a problem if I’d stay in such BnB. BUT, why don’t you check the place for yourself? Because I was pretty surprised (in a very good way) as to how lovely, QUIET, and relaxing this home is. Lex, the owner of the BnB is such an amazing host. He is very accommodating and is readily available to everything his guest’s needs.

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The room I had is beyond exquisite! I love how tastefully decorated the walls are with beautiful art pieces. I also adore the fact that I have a comforting view of mountains, a golf course, and if you are lucky with the weather, a stunning sunset too! When I saw my home for 2 days and 2 nights, I suddenly had a change of plans. Instead of checking nearby places like Ben Cab, Tam-awan, and Lourdes Grotto, my mind and body instantly wanted to just enjoy my stay at WN Hilltop BnB. It was a perfect place to spend your time watching your favorite Koreanovela or do a movie marathon. I myself spent most of the time eating, drinking tea and coffee while reading a book.

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Since it is a BnB, a simple breakfast of bread and pressed coffee (which is so good) comes with your stay. There is also a welcome tea drink and cookies. Oh, how I love these simple things. Lex also gladly showed me the other rooms of his home, and I must say they are all lovely. I also like that each room has a terrace. Some units have their own toilet and bath while others have to share a bathroom.

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Things guests might want to take note of are the following:

Lex and his partner have 2 dogs – Bali and Coco. Wifi is available but it isn’t very fast. But that is okay as disconnecting from your social media could further make your stay at WN Hilltop more relaxing and stress-free.

A golf, spa, and restaurant are within walking distance. The Pinewoods Golf Course and Clubhouse is actually the one you get to gaze at from your window and is approximately a 15-20 minute walk or if you have your own car, it’ll be around 5-minute drive. As mentioned earlier, the Ben Cab Museum is near the area. So you can just wait for a jeepney or taxi that pass by the area and go visit the museum.

I have to agree when Lex said that the location of his BnB is best for those who want to capture a snapshot of living in Baguio City and of course, those who’ll like a pretty quiet place to stay especially at night. Those who choose to go for the extra mile will surely be rewarded!

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How to Get to WN Hilltop BnB: So here are the various options for getting around.

If your point of origin is SM Baguio, take a taxi. It would usually cost around PHP 70-120 depending on the traffic. If you opt to take the public transport, the jeepneys going to KM4 in Asin Road is at the Baguio City Market (locate Panadero Bakeshop). The Asin Road jeepneys are found in here. The fare is less than Php 10.00. Get off at Pamela Store or if you see the orange colored bridge (Asin Bridge Number 2), then you are on the right track. You will see an uphill to your right, walk your way and you will see a big gate on your left, go walk straight until you see WN Hilltop BnB.

WN Hilltop BnB
Address: 0976 KM 4 Asin Road, Baguio City
Phone Number: 0956 407 6649
Facebook: WN Hilltop FB Page

More of WN Hilltop (especially reservations), please do check Lex’s Airbnb profile for the price and other essential details HERE.

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My stay at Lex’s place was marked by comfort and serenity. Thank you, Lex kabsat for the asikaso ken istorya nga addu!

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Lucia’s (A Delightful BnB Experience): Baguio City, PH

If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace. — Gaston Bachelard

Baguio is one place I never get tired of bragging about to my friends. I tell them to visit its various tourist attractions (Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Botanical Garden, PMA, Tam-awan, BenCab, Session Road, John Hay to reiterate some), which is a staple to anyone coming to the city of pines. I also encourage these friends of mine to explore the local cafes and restaurants (like Arcas Yard, Café by the Ruins, Vizcos, Sweet Stop etc) that offer some really palatine-satiating food and beverages. Lately, I have also been suggesting them to come to Baguio and just laze around, chill, and experience a true blue staycation.

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An overnight stay or two in one of Baguio’s bed and breakfast places is one experience I recommend someone to try. And maybe, you’ll end up discovering new things about Baguio, and yourself. Just like my recent know-how in a charming, and serene house-turned-BnB called Lucia’s.

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Lucia’s Bed and Breakfast (named after the owner Ms. Lucille and her daughter Lia) is a classic Baguio home I have always seen during my formative years – homey, and pleasant in every corner. I am not usually very good with describing things to the least detail but what caught my interest (in terms of the house’s features) are the following: the murals, the peculiar accents, quotes, and vibrant color of each room, the wooden floor, and wooden window borders! My eyes almost always ogle in excitement whenever it sees something wooden. All the elements of a desirable BnB are exemplified by Lucia’s – from the warm, personalized service, the hospitality, the mingling with other guests, to that “beyond sumptuous” breakfast, and of course, the relaxing stay.

 

My 2-day “staycation” at Lucia’s wasn’t just about pampering my physical self for a much-needed rest. My stay at Lucia’s made me realize a few things. These realizations were inspired by the names of the BnB’s rooms.

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  • The best way to learn something is to LISTEN intently to someone else’s stories and shared experiences. I had a great deal of time exchanging stories and ideas with the BnB’s manager and her family. We talked about travel, Baguio life, and much more.
  • To LAUGH with all my heart whenever I find myself staring at the ceiling… smiling because I remembered a funny, silly experience. Having had a lot of “me time” during this staycation, it made me reminisce a lot of past experiences. To which I end up laughing at myself.
  • I have also re-discovered that despite being an adult, I still LEAP with joy whenever I see something really enticing like a lovely art piece (like some of those that I have seen within Lucia’s home) or hear an interesting story (like when Ms. Cate, the manager, told me about her climb to Mount Pulag before).

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  • The 2 breakfast meals I had at Lucia’s was a gastronomically LUSCIOUS experience. I both love the breakfast calzone and chicken fajita in a veggie tortilla that was served during my stay! It was so palatine-satiating that I wish they could have their own cafĂ© soon and serve those dishes.
  • My LOVE for Baguio has never been this intense. I admit, I used to feel a love-hate relationship with this city, but having left it, made me recognize that there is no place like Baguio. Lucia’s BnB is Baguio in a nutshell – it’s a place of love, warmth, and the very essence of a home.
  • We all have a LOONEY side in us. In my case, I’d say, my crazy soul, can range from mild to wild. I’m used to spending time alone, and during these times, I tend to go a little berserk (in a good way) because I get to have more opportunities to entertain my crazy ideas. And I actually like it.
  • Lastly, my wonderful stay at Lucia’s reminded me of how happy it is to LIVE. I had a great time exchanging pleasantries with the kind and accommodating staff of Lucia’s. They made my stay exciting and at the same time, fulfilling. True enough, the life and soul of a house, are the individuals who live and make it a home.

 

So, if you are yearning for a tranquil Baguio stay with your family or friends or a love one, Lucia’s BnB is a perfect choice. They have 7 bedrooms to choose from, with ample bathrooms, 2 living rooms, a dining area, a kitchen, and even an indoor recreational space. Also, they have a garden and an outdoor breakfast area.

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Here is a summary of the room rates at Lucia’s. Please do note that there may be changes without prior notice hence it is best to contact them for validation purposes.

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Lucia’s Bed and Breakfast:

Address: 7 Navy Base Road, Extension, Baguio

Phone: 0917 530 3623

 

Lucia’s Bed & Breakfast is easily accessible via Leonard Wood Road. It is near Teacher’s Camp, Baguio Botanical Garden, SLU Navy Base campus, and a handful of cafes and restaurants of the Newtown Plaza Commercial Complex. Lucia’s has a parking lot so bringing in your own car isn’t a problem. Both public jeepneys and taxi frequently ply the area.

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Special thanks to Ms. Catherine Saranglao (Lucia’s manager) for accommodating me, for the awesome travel stories we shared; Sir Emerson Bimuyag (Lucia’s chef) for the sumptuous and healthy breakfast, and of course to Ms. Lucille Yambao (Lucia’s owner) for opening your home to travelers, backpackers, and tourists who would like to experience Baguio’s warmth.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Old Orangewood BnB (Baguio City, PH)

The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back. – Wendy Wunder

Baguio is, and will always be my favorite Philippine city. I mean who wouldn’t love the City of Pines? It seems that it never runs out of charm, well, besides the fact that a lot of people love it for its cool weather. Having spent a long time in this city, a lot of my people I know would consider me as the person to go to about places of interests, and of course, accommodation.

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So here is one homey and really cozy place I recommend called Old Orangewood Bed and Breakfast. Yes, it is an old house (one that is post WW2 I suppose) that is given a new look. And yes, it is an orange one. A hue that matches the entire vibe of this simple and laid-back home.

This once abode of a group of diverse Baguio foreigners now caters the growing population of Baguio tourists, travelers, backpackers, and even local who want to do a staycation in their own city. The house features old wood and stone pillars and which I like. I really have a soft spot for anything wooden. Since it is located at the backroads of Baguio’s main thoroughfare, it is spared from terrible traffic. Nonetheless, it is still within walking distance to the central business district and a jeepney away from most popular Baguio sites.

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It has 11 rooms of different sizes. Interesting to note that each room is named after famed landmarks and tourist attractions in the Cordillera (primarily in Baguio). Moreso, each of which has a distinct “personality”. The color of the room, the bed sheets and pillows, mural artworks by artist Kelly Ramos, and even some hand-crafted decors make each room unique. And did I mention that they also have a special playhouse for toddlers and young children that are just beside their café? Perfect while you have your coffee and at the same time, watching over your young.

So here is the current rate for each room (as of July 2017):

Name of Room # of Pax Off Peak Rate Peak Season Rate
Asin Hot Springs 4 – 6 3, 600.00 3, 800.00
Banaue 2 1, 600.00 1, 600.00
Burnham Park 8 – 10 650.00 /head 650.00 /head
Botanical 2 1, 600.00 1, 600.00
Camp John Hay 4 – 5 3, 600.00 3, 800.00
Kennon Road Rooms (1, 2, 3) 2 pax or solo 1, 100 (for 2) or 700 if solo 1, 100 (for 2) or 700 if solo
Mansion 3 – 6 3, 900.00 4, 000.00
Mt. Pulag 1 900.00 900.00
Sagada 2 – 3 2, 200.00 2, 300.00
Scout Hill 2 – 3 2, 200.00 2, 300.00
Session Road 2 – 4 2, 800.00 3, 000.00
Tam-awan 2 – 4 2, 800.00 3, 000.00
Wright Park 1 – 2 1, 600.00 1, 600.00

***Please do note that these rates are subject to change so it is best to confirm with them through the contact numbers enlisted below.

The Burnham Room is a dorm-type room wherein there are bunk beds.The Mt. Pulag room and the Kennon Road rooms are the rooms ideal for solo travelers/ tourists. The Botanical and Banaue rooms have 2 single beds while the Tamawan and Session Road rooms have 2 double beds. John Hay room has 1 queen-size bed and 2 single beds; Wright Park room has 1 King-Size bed; Sagada and Scout Hill rooms each have a double bed & a single bed. While the Mansion room, true to its name, has 3 double beds. Note that each room has its own toilet and bath except for the 3 Kennon Road rooms wherein T/B is shared. The T/B is equipped with a hot shower.

During my 2 night staycation here, I had the Mount Pulag room. I just love everything about it. It’s the topmost room so I get a beautiful view of the sunset during late afternoon, and some nightscape after sundown.

They do have a wi-fi. All rooms are inclusive of a daily breakfast, per person. It has a resident café called Hotcat Café where breakfast is served. Well, you can also opt to eat at their newly created dining area found at the back of the house. (By the way, if you intend to bring with you a private vehicle, they do have some parking space but let Sir Nic know about it in advance).

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Old Orangewood BnB’s house rules:

  • Check-in time is 2 PM, Check-out time is at 12 NN.
  • Extra mattress is Php450, inclusive of breakfast.
  • Laundry services are offered for a fee.
  • Flexibility on pricing can be discussed for a longer stay.
  • Breakfast is served between 6 AM and 10 AM only. (You can let them know your preferred time).
  • Rooms and extra beds must be paid before checking-in.
  • Pets are NOT allowed at The Old Orangewood.
  • Rooms will be cleaned only upon request.
  • Handle keys with care. Since there will be a fine for lost or damaged keys. Leave your room key at the front desk or keep it with you whenever you leave the premises.
  • Smoking is prohibited in the rooms or anywhere else in the house. There is, however, a designated area for smoking.
  • Conserve water by NOT running the faucets and showers unnecessarily and turn them OFF when not needed. Please report any signs of leakage or damage to water closets/appliance.
  • There is a QUIET TIME observed between 10PM-7AM. So refrain from shouting and running around in the common area.

FOR RESERVATIONS and INQUIRIES

Contact: 0928-970-7357 (Smart), 0956-645-2249 (Globe), 074-442-5060 or 074-244-9384 (landline)

Email: theoldorangewood@gmail.com

Location: 20 Gomez st., Lower P. Burgos, 2600 Baguio City, Philippines

You can also check their Facebook Page for promos. OLD ORANGEWOOD BnB

Shout out to Sir Nik, Mam Danette, their adorable daughter Lilu (who would come to me and have some really nice conversation), and her brother Noah for accommodating me with utmost warmth. And to all their uber friendly and helpful staff – keep it up! You truly add up more warmth to Old Orangewood BnB, and Baguio’s cool climate.

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So, the next time you look for a place to stay in Baguio, and you want some place totally relaxing and really homey, give The Old Orangewood Bed and Breakfast a try.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJUAN.

 

Sweet Stop (Baguio City, PH)

I am certain that I have a sweet tooth. And I like eating individually served desserts because I find it more fun to eat. I also love spending some time writing my thoughts, reading a book, or just allowing my mind to think about random things. And I love doing these things together a cup of tea or coffee.

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I recently discovered a small café along Session Road that presents all the good things I look for in a food nook. Sweet Stop along Session Road in Baguio City is my new favorite place to go to especially during the late afternoon. They offer a delectable range of the finely baked (and really affordable) goods, snacks and drinks. They also have all-day breakfast meals (which I yet have to try).

 

I personally love all the pastries I have tried especially their apple brownies, and green tea and strawberry cupcakes. (Well I have a very soft spot for anything matcha!) The butterscotch and cassava cake I have tasted also go well with whatever tea I chose to drink with.

From among their drinks, my palate agrees that the blueberry frappe is wonderfully thirst-quenching. I happen to have tried also their sardines pasta and I must say that anyone who likes their food spicy, must try this.

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I kind of like how simple everything is inside Sweet Stop. And it is a plus factor for me that it is located at La Azotea. Why? Spending some time at this dessert shop in the afternoon or early evening means being treated with free live music from a bar in the same building! Sweeeeet, ayt? (And did I mention that they have very polite and attentive staff? They do!)

 

So if you are in for some saccharine goodness that will satiate your palates’ cravings, stop in to taste what this café has to offer. Whether it is a “me time” on your part or you want the company of your friends or some family members, Sweet Stop is definitely a great stop!

Sweet Stop Baguio @ the Main Floor, La Azotea Building, Baguio City

Telephone Number: 423-3738/ 619-1229

Facebook: Sweet Stop Baguio

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Update: I got the chance to meet the very lovely owner of the cafe Ms. Theresa and her daughter, Andrea one afternoon. I have learned that they personally do all the baking! Now that is wonderful. Kudos for putting up this barely 3-month old, cozy cafe.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJUAN.

 

Baguio Holes-in-the-Wall (Benguet, PH)

“The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” -Mark Twain

Holes-in-the-Wall: these are out-of-the-way, small places like cafe, bar or restaurants that are not considered to be fancy,expensive or unpretentious… Places to eat where they impart a more homey vibe.

You see, I love eating, and I want to enjoy eating all through my lifetime. Despite my lean frame, I actually eat almost everything (well except those with fresh vinegar). I believe that the next best thing to eating food, is talking about it. And that exactly is what this write-up is for. This blog will be constantly updated whenever I get to visit a hole-in-the-wall gastronomic hub in the City of Pines.

BEANS and MUGS

Address: 2nd floor of Filipino – Chinese General Hospital’s drugstore, M. Roxas (Trancoville), Baguio City, Benguet.

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This tiny cafe that offers some of the better freakshakes I have tasted, is hardly noticeable. I think my room is even bigger than its space. Nonetheless, I like its simplicity. Found at the 2nd floor of a drugstore and is in very close proximity to a hospital along Trancoville, Beans and Mugs have so far delighted my sweet tooth for its Matcha Freakshake and Strawberry Freakshake.

YAMASHITA JAPANESE NOODLE HOUSE

Address:Beside the famous 50s Diner, Leonard Wood Rd, Baguio, Benguet

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I am a self-confessed ramen lover. And for the longest time, Baguio didn’t have a single ramen house. And so when I have heard of Yamashita, I was more than delighted. It is just a small restaurant with chairs and a single long table in front of the cooking area. Nonetheless, the wakame ramen I have tried is satiating enough for my palate. Moreover, I think the price is reasonable!

GLYCO SWEETSHOP

Address: 72 DPS Compound Access Road, Baguio, 2600 Benguet

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One of my all-time favorite desserts shop in Baguio. Glyco Sweetshop’s cupcakes are some of the best. I particularly love their green tea cuppies. The Portuguese egg-tart is also something every visitor should taste because of the delightful balance of sweetness and the right crust texture. Despite the bakeshops name (glyco which means “sweet”), the desserts they offer aren’t very sweet which to me is a good thing.

GAME and GRUB BOARDGAME CAFE

Address: 2/F 111 Jungletown Rd, Baguio, Benguet

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I love their specialty drinks (shout out to Mango G’s!). They charge customers Php50 to rent boardgames. So while waiting for your order, might as well explore all the board games you could play (although my friends and I opted to play cards without bet!) Food prices in general isn’t that bad.

TRAVEL SIPS COFFE

Address: #11 Marcos Highway, Baguio City

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A coffee shop that is an ideal stopover, near 2 hospitals in Baguio. It is conveniently located along the main highway. They serve both hot and cold drinks (and some desserts too). Just like most cafe’s in this write u, it is small with few seating options. Nonetheless, it has a pretty cozy ambiance for you and your friends to chit chat for a few hours.

CHEF’s HOME

Address: 13 Outlook Drive (corner Romulo Drive), Baguio City (near The Mansion)

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This food abode owned by a Malaysian chef (Chef Alvin Emuang) has established itself as one of the best places to eat in Baguio City. Offering an array of authentic Asian cuisine, the very modest restaurant (that looks more of a carinderia) is heaven for good, good, good food. Looking into their menu, a typical Filipino could obviously say that most of the foods aren’t the usual ones we eat everyday. To most, the, the taste could be very strong – spicy, sour, sweet. But for a person who likes trying out almost everything, I say EAT and ENJOY! I personally love their ROTI! So yummy!

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Stobosa Murals (Benguet, PH)

There are three specific places I would like to see in Brazil one day. One, the gigantic Christ, The Redeemer statue; two, to trek the Amazon, and three, to have a photo shoot at its famed favela — slum in Brazil within the urban areas turned into a giant mural.

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I am a sucker for anything artsy that is why I included the favela. While that dream of going to Brazil seem to be a far-fetch reality as of this moment, I am more than glad to learn that La Trinidad – Benguet’s capital and the closest municipality to Baguio, is slowly turning several communities into one humongous mural.

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Passing by Benguet’s capital would mean enduring the traffic especially along Kilometer 3. I used to grudge about it since you’ll get stuck without any form of entertainment (unless you are preoccupied with your phone). Now, with the multi-hued Stonehill community just above the Balili River turned into a favela-like masterpiece, getting stuck in traffic becomes more pleasing, at least to the eyesight.

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The Stonehill community is comprised of 3 sitios. These are Sitios Stonehill, Botiwtiw and Sadjao (all part of Brgy. Balili). This mural project has been called Stobosa, named after the three sitios. According to an article, I have read, there are about 180 houses in this area. With the supervision of Baguio City’s Tam-awan Art Village artists and the sponsorship from a paint company – the once dull set of houses sitting along the mountains of La Trinidad have become more delightful as they are converted into a humongous painting.
Today, La Trinidad has a new moniker because of this. Besides being known as the vegetable capital and strawberry capital of the Philippines, the town is being promoted as the “Valley of Colors.” It is worthy to mention that the residents of these sitios have actively involved themselves in this project. The project is almost into its completion. Tourists who flock Baguio, have also considered checking out the mountain of houses in various colors.

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I went to see it myself one sunny day. It could be easily spotted when you are on your way to La Trinidad town proper. While I was thrilled to see it, there are also some other things that caught my attention. I like the idea of turning the houses into this big mural – yes I do. What I didn’t like are the many electrical wires hanging. I don’t know if there is a solution to this. More so, I hate that a giant tarpaulin of the paint company that donated the paint used in this project is more distinguishable than the houses themselves. It is such an eyesore! Well, they could promote their product in a way that it wouldn’t take away the beauty of the place. Lastly, I have noticed some garbages along the road fronting Stobosa (actually a turn-off). I hope the locals and tourists alike, would do their fair share of keeping the place clean.

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Nonetheless, the project is a good start and such a good welcome treat when one is making his/her way to the strawberry farm, or would go to Atok and Sagada. Maybe, soon, they would also consider painting the opposite side so that the area will be bursting with so many colors.

Good job to the REV-BLOOM campaign of Department of Tourism (DOT) Cordillera which aims to promote a more sustainable tourism in my beloved CAR!
¬Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri”juan”.

Let’s Eat: Masa Mexitalian Grub (Baguio City)

Because of my undying love for pistachios and sundried tomatoes, I went on to try a relatively new restaurant in Baguio called MASA: Mexitalian Grub. Since it is just near our place, I opted to walk my way.

I saw a post a pistachio pizza post while browsing my Instagram one time. I was kinda disappointed when it wasn’t a food offering around Manila area. Out of nowhere, I went on to google “pistachio pizza Baguio” and to my surprise, a Baguio-based food blog site mentioned that there is this resto that offers such pizza. I went to check on the address and I was delighted to know that it is near our place in Baguio.

Next thing I know, I am already in Baguio, walking my way to this eating place. It wasn’t difficult to locate it as I am pretty much knowledgeable of the area. I was there just in time for their opening hour. I immediately noticed the interior filled with wooden chairs and tables and the large handwritten menus hanging on the wall.

Going over the menu, they do not only offer Mexican and Italian dishes, but they also have Singaporean meals. (They call it Hawkers meal), and they’re pretty cheap — even their Chilly Crabs). Since I was there for one ultimate mission (that is to taste their Pistachio Pizza), I shrugged off the idea of trying any of the Hawkers meals.

So, I happily told the lovely woman at the counter that I am having Pistachio Pizza, and Prawn Feta Pasta and Lychee – Grass Jelly for dessert. There was a hint of surprise on her part. Maybe she was wondering if I have someone else with me because of my order. While waiting for my food, I took a few pictures.

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After around 15 minutes, my pasta was served. For Php180, I think the serving is just right for one person. I couldn’t wait for my pizza so I started eating. And wow! I love everything about it — the cashew, the flavorful shrimps and the feta cheese AND the al dente pasta! Just perfect! So far this is the most al dente pasta dish I have tried here in Baguio. My taste buds are enjoying every bit of my pasta when my pizza came out. Upon gazing at it, my eyes (and stomach) started to feel giddy in a good way. The sight of the grated pistachios and sundried tomatoes and bacon and pesto and mozzarella — made me even more excited. I instantly grabbed a slice and with eyes closed, I masticated it slowly. It was so good. Really good. I don’t know how to better describe but I hope you (my readers) are convinced that the pizza is really good. (So you better storm your way to Masa after reading this, okay?)

The pizza is good for 2-3 person so it’s understandable that I wasn’t able to dig in everything. I almost forgot I still have my lychee – grass jelly for dessert. I would have wanted to try their other offerings like the spicy wings and nachos but I was already full. I will most certainly come back here. Food is palatine satiating and worth your money! So there.

MASA: Mexitalian Grub is located at #65 M. Roxas St. (Trancoville), Baguio City. You can take a cab or a Trancoville bound jeepney and ask the driver to drop you off the “talipapa” or in front of Cecilia Commercial Building. Across this building is a black gate that houses MASA.

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Update: As promised, I went to eat again here at Masa when I went home to Baguio this weekend and tried their Beef Ribs. And wow! What a soft and palatine-satiating ribs they have. (Now, Kanto has a competition in the house). I also tried their Manzo Pizza. There is so much more to try so I’ll be back again soon.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebriwan.

Let’s Eat: Lemon & Olives (Baguio City)

Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. — Mark Twain

I wasn’t a fan of Greek cuisine. But it all changed when my palate realized it loves olives, pita, and lamb. Greek food is almost always associated with these. Here in the Philippines, there are only a few restaurants that offer such cookery. In Baguio alone, it would be a rarity to find such food house. So when I have learned that a Greek “Taverna” opened its door for some Greek gastronomy, I went to try it out immediately.

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This new food house in Baguio is called Lemon and Olives. It is yet another “old-house-converted-into-a-food-nook” kind of restaurant in the City of Pines. Located along Outlook Drive, it would not pose a challenge in locating it as it has an imposing look with its white-painted exterior and large glass walls. I found myself all smiles while I walk into their blue-hued door. I like everything I saw upon entering – artsy stuff, books on shelves, wooden interior, a terrace with a refreshing view, and other interesting pieces.

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I would’ve wanted to have a seat at the veranda but it was full the time I was there. So I opted to stay at a table for 4 people with pillows on the chair. It felt homey and happy. The view of pine trees outside completed that Baguio atmosphere.

Now on to their menu. What I love about Greek food besides olives and lamb is that they generally have this satiating full flavor in every dish. Whenever I get to taste one, it’s as if all the spices and herbs I have learned in Pharmacognosy start to catapult my taste buds into 7th heaven. (Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an exaggeration. It is true). I love how basil, parsley, onion, oregano, garlic, thyme and dill give these Greek nutriment such amazing taste (and smell).

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There is so much to choose from the food offering at Lemon and Olives. From appetizers to the main course to desserts and beverages. Since I was alone, I had to painstakingly choose which ones I would really like to try. Believe me, it was a challenge since I would have wanted to taste a bit of all the stuff they offer. I ended up trying the following:

Saganaki – a pan-fried, Greek cheese with fresh lemon. According to their menu, it is their signature appetizer. I never though cheese and lemon would taste good. For the main course, I ordered their mixed Souvlaki Plate – a food consisting of small pieces of meat (beef, lamb and chicken), sometimes vegetables that are grilled on a skewer. (No, this isn’t kebab). It is served in a pita wrap with garnishes and sauces, often with fried potatoes. Lemon and Olives’ version is drizzled with Chef Takis’ secret Greek sauce (which I love). Moreover, I like the tzatziki dip that goes with this meal. (FYI: Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sometimes dill).

For dessert, I was torn between having a baklava and loukoumades. Since I have already tried baklava before, I opted to see and taste a Greek doughnut. Loukoumades is an airy, deep-fried puff with honey, cinnamon and some nuts. It actually tasted like some Filipino rice cake. It was okay, not outstanding but my delight for their souvlaki plate was more than enough to be generally satisfied with my food.

All in all, I had a great time dining at Lemon and Olives. Definitely not the last visit… I am more than excited to bring my equally food-loving friends here sometime soon. More so, I certainly would want to try their other offerings especially the Greek salad, Gyros and Stuffed Tomatoes. (Just the thought of it makes me want to dash my way back to Baguio).

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Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna
#26 Outlook Drive
Baguio City, Philippines
(074) 423 2278

Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan”…