Baguio

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For several years now, we have been visiting Baguio every last weekend of November. We would often look for transient houses for accommodation since it is a lot cheaper. This time, however, we opted to try High Point Boutique Inn and Restaurant, which was located along Kennon Road. We paid just 3,000 pesos for 3 days and 2 nights. I have written a review of the hotel here.

It was a couple of minutes before 4 am when we went to the terminal of Victory Liner in Cubao. We were surprised to know that their next available trip will be 8 am. We did not purchase tickets in advance, leaving us with no choice but to walk to the nearby Dagupan Bus Terminal. We left past 5 am and arrived in Baguio at lunch time.

From the time we stepped out of the bus, we were already preoccupied with thoughts of where to eat since we were all hungry. We first needed to spend some time looking for a place where our friend could stay since he did not book his accommodation in advance. After taking a look at one of the hostels just near the bus terminal, we went to eat at Good Taste Restaurant. Upon seeing the place, I thought that it will be quite a while before we can find a table since it is packed with people, considering that it was lunch time. Luckily, we were immediately seated. This place offers good value for money. If there’s one good thing about this restaurant, it would be that if offers cheap food. We shared a meal good for three and paid only around 700 pesos. Food isn’t only cheap, but also good-tasting, living by the way it is named. It has two floors of dining area and a very busy atmosphere. It is one of those places where you would immediately like to leave after eating as it does not offer an ambiance that is good for having conversations.

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Food from Good Taste

We headed to High Point after lunch. It wasn’t 2pm yet when we arrived, so we needed to wait before checking-in. When we finally got settled inside the room that we booked, we had a quick rest before heading to Camp John Hay. The only reason why we went to the latter is to check out their line of outlet stores. We ended up buying nothing. Most of their items are still expensive. Some are even more expensive than what you will find in the mall.

For dinner, we went to Ketchup Food Community, which was a compound of various restaurants, each serving their own specialty cuisines. We decided to try Happy Tummy. They specialize in Thai food, which was surprisingly cheap and good. We had Fish Fillet, Chicken Curry, and Chicken Satay. Once you had a bite of their food, it will be easier for you to understand why this place always gets full.

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It’s almost impossible for me to go on a vacation without having drinks wherever I am. In Baguio, Rumours remains to be one of my favorites. I first tried this place when I was strolling along Session Road finding a place to drink alone. The place is quite small and it gets crowded easily. We first sat on the bar and began drinking before we were finally transferred to a vacant table. I recommend ordering Oriental Meatballs to go along with your favorite drinks – beer, in my case.

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By the bar at Rumours

The next day, we woke up early to have our free breakfast and soon headed to BenCab Museum. We asked some people from the hotel how far is the museum supposed to be and we were informed that it is an hour away. I checked Google Maps and it shows that it is actually closer than what we were informed, so we still decided to pay a visit. You need to pay 100 pesos as donation upon entry. The place has several galleries showcasing works from different artists, including Ben Cabrera, of course. From time to time, it also serves as a venue for exhibit of more recent works from various artists. While the museum is composed of different areas, one of the most notable is the Erotika Gallery. Its name in itself is already enough to fuel curiosity and to prompts guests to check it out.

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Erotika Gallery

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From different galleries

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BenCab is not just all about artworks. It is a place where you can commune with nature and enjoy good food, though not necessarily exceptional. Before checking out the different galleries that it houses, we had lunch at Café Sabel. This is the museum’s in-house restaurant and its best asset is not its food, but the good view that you can enjoy while you are eating. From the tables outside, you can see the garden and the pond, serving as the perfect backdrop for the meal that you are about to enjoy. The restaurant has a welcoming homey ambiance that will make you satisfied even before you had the first bite from your food. It’s great for taking panorama shots! While eating, we even had the chance to see Ben Cabrera just walking around and checking on the guests. Of course, we did not miss the opportunity to have a picture taken with him.

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With Ben Cabrera

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Cafe Sabel

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The view from Cafe Sabel

It took us a couple of minutes before we were finally able to find a cab from BenCab going back to the city proper. Our next stop for the day was Mt. Cloud Bookshop and Hill Station, which we also never fail to visit during our recent Baguio trips. At Mt. Cloud, guests can buy not only books, but other items as well, such as a kaleidoscope. Guests are allowed to bring their coffee or beer and just read the titles that are available.

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The Hill Station

While there is an abundance of choices when it comes to some of the best places to eat while in Baguio, one that stands out from the rest is Forest House. When we went there for dinner, a couple of guests are waiting in line. We thought that we might wait as well, until we were offered to eat at the basement area, which is the restaurant’s extension. I find the extension to be actually better than the main dining area. It is not that crowded and only a few people are there.

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Forest House

For the night’s drinks, we went to Rumours again and stayed there for a while after checking the night market for the second time. I also spent some alone time in Nevada. Compared to the first time I’ve been to Nevada, the place is quite toned down now. Some of the drinking places I have seen before have permanently closed. You still need to pay 50 pesos as entrance. Paying 5 pesos per entry to the wash room is no longer mandatory. I had a couple of drinks at Friday’s, a small club with old and not-so-good music. Since I was alone, I opted to grab a seat outside where I can have a good view of other people. I saw a lot of Koreans. Many of them were having a good time, and some, drunk.

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Nevada Square

We checked out before 1pm and met with our friends who were staying at Baguio Palace Hotel to leave our things. For lunch, we went to Ketchup Food Community again and tried Ruma Sate. We ate at this place twice during our last visit and we enjoyed the food a lot. Same story this year. Food is still good and I had no regrets choosing this among others within the area. We visited Good Shepherd Convent and the public market afterwards to shop for some pasalubong. We had our tickets booked and ended up having a ticket for the bus that leaves an hour later than what we originally intended to take.  

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Chicken Satay

The Lantern Parade, which I guess was a sign of welcoming the holiday season, was held that night. We checked it out for a bit and found nothing special about it. We had dinner at Café by the Ruins, which is another favorite of mine in Baguio. The place is being considered by many as already being an institution in the city’s restaurant scene. I had their carbonara and pandan iced tea. The place is good for romantic dates and intimate conversations, especially as there is good music playing on the background.

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As we made our way out of Baguio, I can’t help but think about the next time we’ll visit. It may be a year again from the said trip. For sure, we’ll be again trying the favorites that I have mentioned, as well as some new good places to eat. Food is perhaps one of the city’s best assets, and I am happy that we had the opportunity to try some of the best that it has to offer.

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