Your Happyfoodies trudged to the northern highlands for the days leading up to the new year with an overnight stop in Baguio. By chance, we got billeted in a hotel on a quieter street parallel to the always-busy (read: noisy) Session Road and chanced upon the barely month-old The Coffee Library on the ground floor of the Rex Hall Student Residences along General Luna Street. Needless to say, it was a serendipitous find. Yes, it is eye-catching, with tasteful touches of ethnic crafts, mix of red brick and warm wood, even vintage “padyak” (foot pedal-powered) sewing machines converted into tables, but how was the food, you may ask.
It’s always a welcome treat to find young entrepreneurs like Laydeh of Cafe Cueva to add to the growing favorite eats in Baguio. Also housed in the surreal Ili-Lika Artist Village in Baguio and also a member of the Kiwing na Kahoy Food Community is Cafe Cueva. Adding to the variety of food offered in the village, Cafe Cueva has some delicious crepes, filling Chao Fan and refreshing smoothies.
It must be the cool weather, the bountiful freshness of greens in the region and the creative vibe the city of Baguio exudes that makes food tripping in Baguio so fun. A recently opened creative space called Ili-likha Artist Village, which is getting quite an attention from foodies and artists alike. A hub for healthy eating, they have a Kiwing na Kahoy Food Community and each member establishment offers something different. One we tried is Balbacua at Urban Kamote, bringing a famous Southern Philippines dish to the highlands of Baguio.
Go up five flights of stairs, past the sporting goods store on the ground floor, the drinking joint with the blaring karaoke on the second, a gym on the third, more offices on the fourth, and enter the world of artist, Kidlat Tahimik. There are artistic curiosities on this high-ceilinged, top-most floor — large installations here, framed paintings over there. The plants spread all over the place are real, lending it a lush, texture-filled vibe. Up on the second level, the dining area offers a panoramic view of the city center. Welcome to Oh My Gulay along Session Road in Baguio.
Food discoveries during travel have always been the heart of Happyfoodies. And during this Lakbay Norte 2, a familiarization tour of select places in Northern Luzon, we get to try out some interesting food stops on the way to Baguio from Manila on our first day. We had breakfast at SOUL Cafe in La Union, snacks at Cafe Isabelle and dinner at Hotel Elizabeth’s Flora Cafe.