When in the Summer Capital of the Philippines – Baguio City!

I have been living in Baguio City for years, but I have to admit that I never really explored the city. Every time a friend shows up and asks, “So, where should we go?” I would give a blank stare and say, “I don’t know…SM?” – a supermall with branches all over the country. Then, we would discuss on where to go, until yup, we end up in SM.

If you ask me about places I have been to in the city? Here are a few – Burnham Park (who would miss the park at the center of Baguio?), Wright Park, Mines View Park, Camp John Hay, Philippine Military Academy, The Mansion, The Diplomat Hotel, and most of the MAIN tourist attractions in the area. Aside from the low cost retirement, Philippine’s Baguio doesn’t disappoint when it comes to tourist attractions.

But when I said “explored the city,” I was actually pertaining to other matters like places to visit when you need quiet time for yourself (or someone special), when you want a good cup of coffee or a new dish you never tried, or simply a great place where you can do some catching up with a friend. Here’s a short list of places I have never been to in Baguio and nearby areas in Benguet but would definitely try this coming 2016. (I heard that they are really AMAZING!)

Café in the Sky
As the name suggests, it’s a café in the sky – skies of Santo Tomas, Cabuyao that is. The restaurant is located at one of Baguio’s highest peaks (near the “twin radars”), which means you get to have a great view of the city if it’s not covered in clouds (which works perfectly for me, either way).

The restaurant has a high-ceilinged spacious dining area. Also, it’s got a fireplace (ooohhh, sounds cozy) where you can warm yourself up in case it gets a bit cold, especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Their menu is mainly Chinese Food such as stir fried highland vegetables, beef with broccoli and fried lemon chicken among others. They also serve noodle pasta dishes, rice toppings, desserts, and different beverages (hot, cold and alcoholic).

Actually, I have seen the place, because I’ve been to Mount Cabuyao a few times for some hiking, outdoor rappelling and rock climbing activities, but Café in the Sky was not in operation at that time. I guess I have another reason to visit Mount Cabuyao early next year.

Ketchup: The Food Community
Visiting the place is like hitting five birds with one stone (yes people, FIVE!). It’s actually a place that features five locally owned restaurants, so I guess that’s where “The Food Community” term was coined. A friend once told me, “If you want to dig into good-tasting food while enjoying great ambiance and distinctive architecture, this is the place to visit.”

The five mini restaurants include Rancho Norte which serves Filipino dishes, some you might not have tasted before like their specialty dishes tapangbaboyramo, tapangusa, and tapangkabayo. If you are into Thai-inspired dishes, then Happy Tummy is your place. I heard that their Crispy Tilapia in Tamarind Sauce is a must-try (noted!). If you are searching for oriental dishes, Indonesian and Malaysian cuisines are served at Rumah Sate. As for those who are health conscious, try out Green Pepper. This is a healthy gourmet diner that aims to preserve culinary traditions and serve meals from the freshest organic ingredients. They also do catering services! Finally, there’s Canto which is probably the most popular of the five because of their Lomo Ribs. This is an American restaurant that offers tacos, fries, steaks and the like, so I guess that’s another reason why it’s well-known.

Wow, after all that, I won’t know where to start when I finally do visit the place. Soon, I hope! It’s located near Wright Park.

Baguio Craft Brewery
Okay, I may not be your drinking buddy, but I can buy you a drink or two! And, I want to see the place simply because it sounds cool when you can say, “Hey, I’ve been to Baguio Craft Brewery, and the place is awesome!” Also, I am honestly curious about their strawberry craft beer “Lagud” because a lot say it’s sweet. I got a sweet tooth! Also, they have a roof deck where you can enjoy the cool breeze of Baguio and the view of the city while enjoying your craft beer with family and friends (or your special someone, again).

Baguio Craft Brewery is the first and only craft brewery in Baguio. They offer 16 different freshly brewed beer which you can taste individually if you are undecided which to gulp down. So, for beer lovers out there or those who want to buy pasalubong (gift/souvenir) for their beer-lover friends, Baguio Craft Brewery is located at the RKC Building along Marcos Highway, just 15 minutes from Session Road!

Mt. Cloud Bookshop
I LOVE books (and the smell of it!). Unlike a movie – (I also love movies by the way!) – you are free to imagine things as you read them and create whatever world you want that fits the story (or not!). Everytime that I get to walk the streets of the city, I try to drop by any bookstore whenever possible. It’s always an exciting thing for me because you’ll never know what you can find. And one thing I learned from past experience is: If you see a book you like, it’s either you buy it or lose it; that guy behind you is eyeing it too!

That being said, Mt. Cloud Bookshop is definitely a place to visit for people who love reading books, bibliotaphs out there. This is located at the top of Session Road, right beside Hill Station, Casa Vallejo Building. See you there!

BenCab Museum
For someone who loves art, like myself, having not visited this museum is a crime. Guilty as charged! I don’t even have a good excuse as to why I never stepped foot on the place! What’s worse is, my siblings have already seenit! This is definitely one of the places I NEED to visit!

The museum is located along Asin Road in Tuba, Benguet about 30 minutes from Baguio City (without traffic). This is a four-level building that features the artworks and collections of Benedicto Reyes Cabrera (Ben Cab), a National Artist for Visual Arts. From time to time, it also features works by some contemporary artists from all parts of the country. And, after satisfying yourself with incredible art masterpieces, you can also go and satisfy your tummy with home-cooked specialty dishes at their café downstairs. It features some of the family’s own recipes. Oh, I can’t wait to meet Sabel (and Mr. Ben Cab of course)!

So, there you have it, a short list of must-visit places to start my/our 2016. Life’s too short to be spending hours thinking of where to go when a friend shows up on your doorstep. And to those retiring in the Philippines, particularly in Baguio City or Benguet, then you can try out these places, too. Let’s all find out how good they are!