Sep 29, 2016

Baguio, off the beaten path


Only six hours away from the urban maze of Manila yet Baguio feels like a different country with its own climate and geography. The so-called summer capital of the Philippines is sprawled atop a mountain, a city perpetually cloaked in fog and mist. Its pine-fringed streets and cold weather offer a much welcome respite from the sweltering heat permeating the rest of the Philippines. 

I went to Baguio for the first time this year with my mom who was visiting from Australia. We had just finished a guided tour in Ilocos. For Baguio we ditched a fixed itinerary and decided to wing it, go with the flow, #YOLO. 

I love Baguio, every bit and every bite of it. I loved it so much I impulsively considered moving there, much to my mom’s horror but that is another story for another day. We saw the usual touristy spots – the strawberry farm, Camp John Hay, Burnham Park, the Mansion, Mines View Park – but I won’t be writing about them here. Instead, I’ll write about the lesser known nooks and crannies that made the trip a little more offbeat, a little more magical.

Check out Mt. Cloud Bookshop 

Mt. Cloud Book Shop is a family-owned bookstore on Session Road that specializes in Philippine literature, books from independent authors and books from small publishers. This place, a serendipitous discovery, has a history as colorful as the stories on their shelves. I could really tell the owners love books and if you do, too, then you should definitely drop by. Who knows what you’ll find or who you’ll meet at Mt. Cloud Book Shop!

Mt. Cloud Bookshop
Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road
Baguio City

Facebook: facebook.com/mtcloud
Official Website: mtcloudbookshop.com

Enjoy the food and view at Oh My Gulay 

Many of my friends recommended Oh My Gulay when I asked them for food spots in Baguio. This place was certainly a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect it to be hidden at the top floor of an otherwise ordinary building. And I didn’t expect it to look like a small Hobbit town with little bridges and gardens and ponds. I fell in love with the place and I fell in love with the food and that you could eat while enjoying a breathtaking view of the cityscape and mountains.

Oh My Gulay
La Azotea Building
108 Session Road, Baguio City 

Facebook: facebook.com/ohmygulaybaguio

Explore Tam-Awan Village 

Tam-Awan Village is many things. It is part gallery that showcases local art, part café and part model settlement that recreates what life is like in a traditional Cordillera village. I had an awesome time exploring the different reconstructed huts and houses and immersing in the local art scene. The exhibits at Tam-Awan Village are testament to the ingenuity of Filipino craftsmanship and creativity. Visit this place if you love learning about history and culture.

Tam-Awan Village
366-C Pinsao Proper
Baguio City

Official website: www.tam-awanvillage.com
Facebook: facebook.com/Tamawaninternational

Drink a warm beverage at Tsokolateria 

Tsokolateria was another unexpected discovery and a very sweet one at that. This artisan shop specializes in chocolate products so, obviously, I, with my insatiable sweet tooth, was thoroughly delighted. Tsokolateria offers exciting variations to the tsokolate, a traditional Filipino beverage made from tablea. Drop by here when the Baguio weather becomes too cold and you feel like enjoying a warm drink.

Tsokolateria Artisanal Cafe
Igorot Stairs, Upper Session Road
Baguio City

Facebook: facebook.com/happyconceptgroup


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Been to Baguio? What other places would you add to this list?

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