“Hatch” – What a Match!

Being a resident of the City of Pines, I am in constant search for a cafe that suits my taste — one that serves good food, unforgettable drinks, and a “hard-to-leave” ambiance. Hatch Coffee is a cafe with a pretty laid-back vibe that is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Baguio City life. If you are up for some peace and quiet, this might be your “perfect match”.

I was in Europe when I have heard of Hatch from a friend of mine. I was told that they serve some really nice cold brew and horchata that is why I was eager to try. I was planning to visit the café when I got back home, but then, covid pandemic happened forcing most (if not all) establishments to close or limit their service. So when cafes, restos and the like were allowed to operate again, I decided to finally push my long-overdue plan of trying out Hatch Coffee one Sunday afternoon.

Prior to my visit, I had to send them a message (IG account @hatchcoffeeph) to make reservations or to ask them for seat/ table availability. You have to do this because they are for everyone’s safety making sure that social distancing would be properly observed and that over-crowding will be prevented. As of the moment, they only accommodate around 10 people at a time.

It was raining when I arrived at Hatch with only 2 other people dining. I would have wanted to stay at the garden area but since it was raining, that wasn’t a good option. So I decided to stay by the bar which offers a pretty nice view of the entire place. It is a residential home converted into a café – just lovely!

Hatch offers several cold brew (black, latte, mocha), but the star of their café is the much talked about “hatchata’, Hatch’s version of horchata which is a traditional Mexican rice drink with cinnamon, and sugar. This was my outright choice since I ain’t really a fan of coffee and that for the longest time, I have been hoping we will have cafes in the city that offer more non-caffeinated drinks, in this case, horchata.

I got to try this drink for the first time in Madrid wayback 2018. The horchata they served me then was made of tiger nut instead of rice. Then, I got to taste the classic rice derived horchata in Barcelona last year. Both are actually good but the rice one tastes better at least for me. So, how did Hatch’s horchata fair? It’s pretty good – very refreshing even if it was a rainy afternoon, it didn’t bother me that I was drinking a cold horchata. It is something I don’t mind drinking all day long. Next time I come back, I will definitely try the “dirty” version of this drink.

So what food did I order to go with my horchata? A friend of mine suggested that I get their grilled cheese but being an avid fan of anything ube (purple yam), I was ready to ignore that suggestion and from the get-go, excited to taste their ube grilled cheese. So yes, I had ube grilled cheese which was truly palatine-satiating! The ube filling in between is generous. They also have longganisa and kimchi grilled cheese, something I would want to try next time.

I also ordered a piece of their calamansi tart, and calamansi muffin. The tart taste of these calamansi pastries came in as a surprise as they came off very natural. I prefer the muffin form over the tart though. They also have several cookies, and I bought a bag of their snickerdoodle cookies as a takeaway snack.

Hatch also serves burgers and sandwiches that you might want to pair up with various cold brew — which to some maybe an unlikely combination.

My tummy and my palate are happy that we have a new café in the city that is worth the moolah – from its drinks, food, and vibe… totally a match for my taste and liking.

Hatch Coffee is located along Easter Road (#135 to be exact), around 10-15 minutes away from the city center (depending on the traffic).

Update: You can also order from Hatch via FoodPanda. So in times like this, having these delicious drinks and food at the comfort of your own home, is a really good (and safe) idea.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take eat easy.

Cordova: Charming & Captivating (Cebu, PH)

The province of Cebu has a seemingly endless list of delightful attractions, both natural and man-made. Almost every town or city has something to offer to anyone who is visiting the island. One particular place that shouldn’t be neglected is the small, coastal municipality of Cordova. This town is located in the island of Mactan, the home of Cebu’s international airport, making it a very accessible place to reach.

So which places or what activities can one do when in Cordova, Cebu?

GO ISLAND-HOPPING.

Being a sea-side town, Cordova boasts off small islands with picture-perfect views and teeming marine life. When I visited Cebu in 2009, I got the chance to do island-hopping and was able to visit Hilutungan Island, a marine sanctuary that is one of the seven satellite islets that forms the Olango group of islands off the coast of Mactan; and the smaller Sulpa Island, a great place for beginners to dive and snorkel. These islands are low-lying coral islands with rich marine life and white sandy beaches.

1746614_12931469822258

Hilutungan in particular, has a sand bar and a resort that is ideal for a weekend or overnight staycation. Although they are considered as protected areas, the local government allows snorkelers, divers and beach-lovers to experience the beauty of these islands. Besides Hilutungan, the nearby islands of Caohagan Island, Cabulan Island, Nalusuan Island, Olango Island, and Talima are also marine sanctuaries open to visitors despite some of them being private.

1746614_12931469809986

There are sea patrollers (civilian volunteers) around the area who watches Philippine coastal waters from the shore. They are said to have trainings on conservation, protection, management and development of fisheries and aquatic resources; they also restrain destructive fishing practices and illegal fishing in the area.

1746614_12931469817052

1746614_1293146981783

How to Reach the Olango Group of Islands:

From Manila, take a plane bound for Cebu. Upon arrival at Mactan International Airport, take a cab to either of the following options: You can rent an outrigger at the Hilton Pier in Mactan, or take the regular ferry at Angasil pier to Olango Island. From Sta. Rosa pier in Olongo, there are outrigger boats that ferry passengers to and from Hilutungan. There are also organized transfers when you’re booked at dive resorts. From there, one can go and see other nearby islands like Olango and Sulfa Islands. Another option is to go to Maribago area where one can take a traditional outrigger boat (called ‘pumpboat’ or bangka) that takes around 35 to 45 minutes to get there.

1746614_12931469815677

After an entire day of island-hopping, make your way to the tip Lantaw Restaurant and 10,000 Roses Cafe where you can: (1) wait for the sunset, (2) have a sumptuous seafood dinner at Lantaw; and (3) marvel at the led roses at 10, 000 Roses cafe once darkness sets in.

10000 Roses Café & More has recently become a tourist attraction at this side of Cebu. The artificial, LED-powered roses are a sight to behold at nighttime or even during sundown. The café starts operation as early as 10:30AM and closes at 10:00 PM. You’d probably have the place to yourself early during daytime but you can’t deny the fact that it becomes more magical as the day comes to an end. By the way, an entrance fee of P20 per person is collected.

So there you go, a Cordova, Cebu experience that is filled with captivating moments from broad daylight til nighttime.

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

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 cafés 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 – café 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-café 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.

badu4

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!

badu19

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.

badu17

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.

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.

DSC_7126

 

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.

DSC_6984

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.

DSC_7083

  • 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).

DSC_6999

  • 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 café 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.

DSC_7096

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.

DSC_7046

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.

DSC_7068

 

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.

0oobb

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.

24oobb

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).

19oobb

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.

14oobb

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.

DSC_0155

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.

00ssb

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.

6ssb

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

_ssb4

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.

 

Vanilla Café (Baguio City, PH)

Since I left Baguio 2 years ago, more and more cafes and restaurants have sprouted in the City of Pines. Whenever I go home, I make sure to visit one of them. My previous stay led me to try Vanilla Café. Tucked in an unobtrusive place along Ignacio Villamor Street in Baguio City, lies this dining place that is being gradually recognized.

1

My initial impression is that Vanilla (Bean) Café offers a homey, comfortable for those who would want to just hang out or those tired folks looking for something refreshing to the senses. With the café’s vividly decorated, pastel interior, anyone who enters this abode will surely be delighted. Ironic as it may sound, but I adore how inequitable everything viewed and that it actually made the cafe organized. I personally love the dining area outside where one can marvel at Baguio’s pine trees and smell the cool, fresh air. One’s palate will feel the excitement even more once they get to see the display of saccharine goodness – from cakes and other pastries. They also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Since I was alone, I can only order a meal that’s good for my tummy. With so many foods to choose from, it was a bit challenging as I wanted to taste all of them. In the end, I settled for a pasta called Spanish Armada (a linguine pasta with sardines, black olives my love, and egg – which by the way made everything in this pasta beyond palatine satiating to my taste), frozen strawberry shortcake for dessert (I am big fan of strawberries that is why I chose this), and a pot of warm Earl Grey tea. It was one, gastronomic meal!


I would definitely come back and try their other food offerings when I go home to Baguio. In the meantime, let the photos in this short write-up entice you to give them a visit. They are open as early as 6am until 12 midnight!

Vanilla Café
Kamiseta Hotel,, Ignacio Villamor St, Baguio, Benguet, Philippines
You can also check out Kamiseta Hotel as the café is its resident food place.

5
Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Let’s Drink: 19fiftea Cafe (Baguio City, PH)

There is definitely nothing as invigorating and calming as a cup of tea. It’s my favourite drink (hot or cold) and drinking one is something I look forward to almost every day. I drink almost every type of tea there is — from green to black to herbal to fruit teas to milk teas!

0knh

So, I was personally delighted when I found a tea place in my beloved Baguio City early this year. You see, rarely do we find a tea cafe. Most cities have coffee shops, but not tea shops. The cafe is called 19fiftea. It is a tea cafe found in the busy Governor Pack Road in the city of Pines.

Stepping into19fiftea Cafe will make you feel like you’ve taken a time machine back into the 1950’s. (I guess that is why they named the cafe such). I was greeted by a chalkboard with the variety of their tea offerings written on it. The retro-vibe of the cafe is a fresh of breathe air from the usual cafes in Baguio.

00

My eyes twinkled looking into their tea offerings. I wanted to taste a lot. Even their choices of crackers and spread (and cookies as well) made me drool while deciding which one to try. I ended up selecting several goodies. (Tried their cookies and cream, mango-cheesecake cookies, artichoke spread and bacon & bourbon spread). Having visited the cafe on 2 different occasions, I have tried their peach tea (my favourite), cucumber burst (a fave from among the cold drinks), dragonfruit tea and raspberry tea. All of which are palatine-satisfying.

01

The tea shop also features vintage designed walls and decorations. Even the tea pots and cups are so cute that you would want to keep them.  (WiFi is really good too – that is a plus plus for me). It’s a perfect place to hang out alone or with friends.

00PicMonkey Collage

19fiftea Cafe

Governor Pack Road, Baguio City

(above Andoks and beside Under the Tree Book Cafe)

Let’s Eat: Cafe in the Sky (Tuba, Benguet, PH)

“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.” ― Ishmael Beah

DSC_0307

Baguio City has been long established as the City of Pines and the Summer Capital of the Philippines. For the past years, another moniker has been given which is The Cloud-Kissed City. True enough, this cool city up north has continuously impressed visitors for its unending charm.

DSC_0343

Long before the Forevermore brouhaha happened on national television, me and my friends would usually hike our way to the Philippines ‘highest commutable mountain – Mount Cabuyao (more commonly known from among Baguio locals as “radar”). From here, we are rewarded with a stunning Baguio City skyline.

DSC_0325

Fastforward, with the tremendous success of the teleserye that featured this once sleepy sitio in Tuba, Benguet and is now popularly known as La Presa, more tourists flocked their way. The need for a refreshment or even rest “station” for this growing number of visitors prompted a group of like-minded individuals to put up Cafe in the Sky. And voila, a restaurant that serves as a great vantage point for viewing Baguio as clouds hover the city.

PC: blassets.phonebooky.com
PC: blassets.phonebooky.com

Cafe in the Sky – a restaurant-cum-bed-and-breakfast is a special place as it is up in the mountainous Tuba (a town of Benguet) at around 1, 987 meters above sea level. Literally making it a cafe in or even above the sky. Imagine eating your breakfast or sipping a cup of hot tea or coffee while having an up-close and personal encounter with the clouds.Just fantastic!

DSC_0336

The restaurant has a large dining area with high ceiling and homey vibe. There is also a fireplace and a strategically positioned veranda. Though I was keen on staying near the fireplace during my first visit (it was a bit chilly so I was hoping to get warmed a bit), I was more ecstatic to stay at the terrace because of the stunning view outside.

DSC_0305

Now for the food the restaurant offers – they have meals for breakfast, appetizers, rice toppings, some noodles and pasta dishes, hot platters, desserts; hot and cold beverages. The prices are reasonable and the taste of the food I have ordered is surprisingly good as well.

DSC_0324

Finally, there is a lodging area. The time I was there, construction was on-going. So perhaps by now, it is already in full operations. I was able to have a chit-chat with one of the owners who happen to be a relative of a college batchmate. He told me that the rooms being constructed have private toilet and can accommodate 2 persons and a maximum of 4. The estimated rate is Php2200/night of stay with breakfast for 2. Interestingly, there will be a tent area for group of friends who wanted to camp around.

0000

How To Reach Cafe in the Sky:

During my college days, we go to Cabuyao by first taking a jeepney bound for Green Valley. From there, we trek our way up to the radar. One may also opt to ride a jeepney that is directly bound for Cabuyao. Most people now though would hire a Taxi to bring them to the cafe and La Presa farm. The taxi rate is around Php800-Php1000 for a round trip service.

IMG_20141223_142724
Taking a photo at the terrace with the background reflecting on the glass wall of the cafe.

Café in the Sky
Address: Sto Tomas – Cabuyao, Tuba, Benguet
Operating Hours: 7am to 8pm
Contact No: +639178660983/ +639175549547
E-mail: cafeinthesky.radar@gmail.com

_DSC_0375

Don’t be a wasted soul, be a wanderlust. Take it easy ebriwan. Roamulofied out.

Let’s Eat: 1st Colonial Grill (Albay, PH)

“Forget art. Put your trust in ice cream.” – Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love 

01
Exquisite Ice Cream Flavors of 1st Colonial Grill Top: Tablea (Chocolate), Malunggay (Horse-Radish Tree), Tinutong na Bigas (Rice Crispies), Salabat (Ginger Powder). Bottom: Pili (Pili/Canarium Nuts), Sili (Chili Pepper), Pipino (Cucumber), Taro (coco yam)

If you happen to be in Albay Province in the Bicol Region, besides the stunning scenery of Mayon Volcano, having a taste of Bicolano cuisine is a must.

One play known for their delectable and unique offerings is the 1st Colonial Grill. It is one of the favorite restaurants in Albay that no one should miss. They serve famed Bicolano favorites like laing, Bicol Express and pinangat.

Pasta Bicolana and Sisig Pasta. Both literally flaming spicy!
Pasta Bicolana and Sisig Pasta. Both literally flaming spicy!

1st Colonial Grill has gained recognition for its unique desserts, especially its Sili (chili) ice cream. Other than these, their five-spice grilled chicken and coco chopsuey are also bestsellers.

Tuna Sisig - Kadingga (Bicol's Bopis & my personal favorite) - Vegetable Rolls - Pinangat.
Tuna Sisig – Kadingga (Bicol’s Bopis & my personal favorite) – Vegetable Rolls – Pinangat.

We didn’t get to try everything but we sure did sample a lot. I will allow the photos do the talking, and hopefully will entice you to try them out soon when you find yourself making your way to Albay.

Food is absolutely best shared with friends!
Food is absolutely best shared with friends!