An important activity that each tourist plot in their itinerary is a trip to the public market. Of course, Baguio City is the place to be for incredibly affordable vegetables, flowers and woodworks. And in order to reach the market, one can either take a public transport, or walk. I personally love walking so I walk my way to the market every time I forget something (add the fact that my accommodation is just along the street where the market is). Here are a couple of notable things I took a big mouthful of when I had a punch of sugar craving here in the city of Pines.
All-day Everywhere Breakfast.
Haven’t had your breakfast yet? Or maybe, you did not have the time to make one? Well, here in the Philippines, we have this Asian snack food (and we consider as breakfast too!) that is everywhere in the Metro but here in Baguio, they make use of their local produce that sets them apart from other taho or soy/tofu pudding. Aside from the soy pudding, and tapioca, they incorporate strawberry preserves as the sweetening component instead of the usual dark syrup. Yes, it is the best breakfast you can have in this cool morning weather. This strawberry taho is a must whenever travelling to Baguio City. Don’t worry, finding it is not a problem. Being situated in a tourist spot gives you a 95 to 99% that you will find this wonderful treat.
As I said, I love to walk. And walking in Baguio is a work-out in itself with all the inclines. However, in every challenge is a reward that awaits you. Whenever you find yourself walking around the streets of Baguio, you get to see a number of street vendors selling vegetables, isaw (barbecued pig or chicken intestines), corn and bicho bicho – a wonderful traditional Filipino treat which is deep-fried sugar-coated glutinous rice flour rolled into a ball. Hesitation of course will keep you from trying this out because of your finicky psyche but I assure you, the way it looks will force your salivary glands to act up and flood your mouth. It looks and tastes so amazing! For P10 (US$0.25), it is a cheap treat that can satisfy any sugar craving. And yes, it can be found on the streets of Harrison Road, just under the footbridge before reaching the public market.
This is Choco-late de Batirol‘s tagline. Located near Baguio Country Club, in Camp John Hay’s Igorot Garden, this quaint and conversational cafe really is a treat to the eyes. I always say the presentation is everything, and that includes the restaurant itself. Looking at it makes me feel like I am entering another realm. It feels like you are going to drink some hot chocolate with Frodo or Sam Gamgee because of the feel of it accompanied by the cool weather. Breakfast really is the best time to go here. We had Vigan longganisa with their traditional blend hot chocolate (recommended by the menu as their best-seller and must-try). As a dessert blog, I’d say that their traditional blend is ok. Nothing special and definitely not pure chocolate. I think they added some peanuts in the chocolate. Also, it is as not as thick as I had imagined. What I liked is that they served it hot. Unlike other shops that serve warm chocolate. A cup of traditional blend hot chocolate would cost you P80 (US$2). Take note that you are paying for the ambiance as well. So I say, P80 well-spent!
Choco-late de Batirol
Igorot Garden, Gate 2
Camp John Hay, Baguio City
A trip in Baguio is never complete without taking home some strawberries. As much as I would like to grow my own strawberries in the metro, the weather is not as cool as Baguio. So, to satisfy my hunger for strawberries, we went to the public market and scavenged for the vendor with the lowest price. Luckily, we found the lone vendor offering P150/kilo (US$3.65) from the sea of P200-250/kilo (USD$4.85-6). Armed with our recyclable bags, we hurriedly bought 5 kilos of our favorite berry before anyone could steal it from us. Yes, we are that desperate for our strawberry fix! As we walked home to our room, I have started a long list of things to bake using strawberries. I AM SO EXCITED! Here’s my market tip: scan the market first before buying anything. Someone may be offering the same item at a lower price.
In any place you travel to, walking is the best way to immerse yourself in their culture. Appreciate the environment and enjoy the sights. Talk to people. Through them, you will learn the history and their way of life.