Aside from earning its moniker as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” and “City of Pines”, Baguio is also a haven for artists and foodies.
This is my third time in Baguio. The first trip was with my college friends, exploring the usual tourist spots and discovering Happy Tummy–which has now evolved into part of the Ketchup Community. The second one is a stopover and Kareen and I only visited Mines View Park to buy souvenir items and pasalubongs.
On this trip, an old friend, Jay, was kind enough to meet us and gave us a tour on his favorite haunts in Baguio. A foodie at heart and artist by profession, he took us to Oh My Gulay (OMG) and Ili-likha Artist Village. And to complete his tour guide role, he pointed out different locations where Angelica Panganiban and JM de Guzman shot their scenes in that #hugotmovie: That Thing Called Tadhana (2014).
On our first night in Baguio, we had an early dinner at Canto in Ketchup Community. It was a year-long overdue dinner and we decided to finally put the plans into a reality. Of course, Jay lobbied the OMG suggestion and we declined. And I was kinda kicking myself for not trusting his judgment. He’s always right when it comes to food. Kareen even christened him as “Anthony Bourdain” of Baguio. Ha!
Ketchup Community: Canto
Kareen and I had Canto’s lomo ribs while Jay tried their chili burger.
When I first visited this area, the only resto standing was Happy Tummy. I posted a review on TripAdvisor and blogged about it. And it warrants a second visit since it has now evolved into a chain of restos fenced in one space across Wright Park.
Ili-likha Artist Village
This place looks dilapidated at first glance you wouldn’t have thought it’s an art cafe. It’s like a skeleton house that’s been lifted off the ground by a tornado and brought back to earth smacked in between establishments in Assumption Road. As its address clearly suggests, don’t assume it’s a junk shop.
The 3 stages of the relationship captured in 3 different paintings.
That Korean-street-food kiosk beside T & J Cafe (across Baguio City Hall)
After soaking in the artistic chaotic mess of Ili-likha Artist Village, we walked a few steps and Jay took us to this nameless Korean street food kiosk beside T & J Cafe, right across Baguio City Hall. Most of the food goers were standing up and eating various Korean street food. He urged us to try and bought us mandu–which is delicious at a very affordable price.
Oh My Gulay (OMG)
We didn’t know a place as interesting as OMG would exist in Session Road. I love Session Road because everything is just a walk away. OMG is located at the roof top of La Azotea Building. Upon entering the building, there’s Azotea Greens (veggie resto) on the right, while Retro Diner (meat resto) was on the opposite side. Jay dubbed it as “heaven” and “hell” respectively.
We climb up a few flights of stairs to OMG. When we arrived at the top, it’s was like an oasis in the city where everything is trying to fight for its space. Let’s see..there’s a part of a ship, a church facade, there’s a small bridge over a small pond where kois frolicked underneath, then there’s a water wheel and a small stage. It’s a mishmash of art cafe and quasi-museum into one.
We did a little exploring and found paintings and Ifugao art stuff on some nooks. According to Jay the place was designed by Kidlat Tahimik and Co to support VOCAS (Victor Oteyza Community Art Space).
Jay ordered something with rice because he’s got a big trail run the day after while Kareen ordered Brotsa ni Antonio Luna and I picked Anak ng Putanesca. Jay added Lapu-Lapu Lumpia which was also yummy.
Mt Cloud Bookshop
A small bookstore with floor-to-ceiling books located near SM Baguio. It sells books (duh) and crafty knickknacks such as artsy bookmarks, unique greeting cards, and funny-themed stationeries. Most of the books I’ve browsed through were Cordillera-related–its history, art, and culture. If you are doing a thesis about the Ifugaos, you can find some books written by Filipinos here.
Kareen loved the bookshop and she bought a few crafty items like pretty bookmarks for her paperback books.
One thing we missed on this trip is Baguio Brewery, which Jay was really persistent on us to try the strawberry beer (lagud). Maybe next time.
On this trip, we ditched the usual Mines View Park visit and got ourselves introduced to Baguio art and vegetarian food. Thanks to Jay and his Anthony Bourdain food hunting skills.