We decided to go up to Baguio after our week-long stay in La Union. Baguio is one of our favorite and memorable places and we wanted Lucas to experience it, too. This would be Lucas’ last travel, last car rides, last dine outs before this lockdown. We were in Baguio from March 2 to 5, and when we got back in Manila, the COVID-19 threat was getting more serious so we decided to stay home even before the community quarantine was announced.
Where We Stayed
Enzo and I have always stayed at budget hotels in Baguio’s city proper before. The last time we were there was in December of 2016, and the traffic was hell. I vowed that the next time we went, we would stay inside Camp John Hay and never go to the city. I booked a room at Le Monet Hotel, which is just a stone’s throw away from The Manor. Le Monet has the same gorgeous views, at a lower cost. Tip: It pays to book through Agoda, or other travel apps because they give out discounted rates. I got our standard room for around P4,500 per night (with breakfast for two). The published rate at the hotel’s website was at P8,000.
If you’re traveling with kids, it’s really a wise decision to just stay inside CJH. There’s no traffic, so you can take advantage of the peace and quiet the place offers. You’ll be surrounded by pine trees everywhere and have a really relaxing time. Camp John Hay also has several picnic areas where you can rent a table and let the kids explore and gather pine cones. We skipped the other kid-friendly activities (zipline, mini-golf, horseback riding) because Lucas can’t do all of those yet. Instead, we simply strolled around and had lunch in the forest.
There are diners and restaurants just outside Le Monet Hotel. We bought hotdogs, sandwiches, and hot chocolate to bring for our picnic. They also have a separate bakery where you can buy super good Ube and Cheese Pandesal–perfect for pasalubong!
Where We Ate – 5 Restaurants in Baguio to Try
- Cafe by the Ruins – 25 Shuntug Rd, Baguio, Benguet
We always start our Baguio food trip at Cafe by the Ruins. We would eat brunch here even before checking in at the hotel. This iconic local restaurant was destroyed by fire a few years back, but I’m happy that the owners decided to renovate and re-open. The newer structure has more modern interiors, but it still exudes the same nostalgia.
2. Foggy Mountain Cookhouse – San Carlos Heights, Baguio, Benguet
On our second day, we had dinner at Foggy Mountain Cookhouse. It’s a private, by-reservation-only dining place by Chef Babes, a Baguio resident who I believe also worked as a meat exporter in Manila. You message him on Facebook, book a table, and order a day before so he can prepare the ingredients. There aren’t many options on his menu, but every dish seemed sumptuous and carefully thought of.
We ordered Split Pea Soup, Porchetta, Angus Rib Eye, Bottarga Pasta, and Pumpkin Puree for dessert. It came with free salad and humus. Everything was great, but the star of the night was the Bottarga Pasta. Ask if it’s available and grab the chance to try it. It’s actually dried fish roe that’s crunchy and full of wonderful flavors. Chef Babes told us that he tried once in Italy and decided to recreate the dish here in the Philippines. It’s beyond amazing.
Tip: Foggy Mountain Cookhouse is inside a private village. It’s Wazeable, but the roads are super narrow and it’s easy to miss. There’s a sharp right turn that’s pretty dangerous so drive carefully and slowly!
Tip 2: Go before 6pm to catch the sunset. Foggy Mountain has an impressive viewpoint!
3. The Farmer’s Daughter Restaurant – Tam-awan Village, Long Long Benguet Rd, Baguio, 2600 Benguet
Tam-Awan Village isn’t the best place to go when you have a baby. Or if you’re traveling with a senior (Enzo’s mom was with us). I wish I knew before I planned our itinerary. But nobody mentioned this tiny tidbit in all the blogs and reviews I read. While it’s certainly nice to marvel at local and native artworks, you’ll have to go through more than a hundred steps to get to different areas. Many of these steps were steep, some without handrails. I had to carry the heavy boy on a hip-seat carrier, kangaroo-style. Gasp.
Outside Tam-Awan Village, though, is a lovely nice little restaurant called The Farmer’s Daughter. It serves authentic Ilokano dishes with super fresh vegetables. Just look at those greens! Props to them for their cute native high-chair. Thank you for thinking of babies and toddlers!
4. Cafe Sabel – Ground Level, BenCab Museum, Km 6. Asin Road, Baguio, 2603 Benguet
After Tam-Awan, we proceeded to BenCab Museum. Another place with STAIRS! :) We ended our day with a sweet merienda of coffee, turon and suman.
5. Chocolate de Batirol – Igorot Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio, 2600 Benguet
Here’s another local mainstay in the Baguio food scene. Chocolate de Batirol, located within Camp John Hay, is always packed with tourists. We were lucky that we were there on a weekday and so we were able to choose seats. Our full breakfast consisted of arroz caldo, champorado, longganisa, and tocino. Burp!
Ahh, Baguio, when will we see you again? We are grateful for the chance to travel. Now, as I share these photos, I reminisce and pray for better days ahead. Stay strong, mamas!