Baguio is a very long ride from Manila. And a very long trip coming from Cebu City. But Baguio and the rest of Benguet have been in my thoughts and dreams ever since I was a child and happened to read short stories on the region. I was curious and was just very happy when a group of friends invited my boyfriend and I to go with them to Baguio. In order to cut out expenses we book our flights five months earlier than our time of travel and booked our hotels and accommodations two months before the time of travel. I have to admit that because the trip to Baguio was very long (about six hours aboard the deluxe Victory Liner bus), I slept during most of our DIY tour the day we arrived.
But I woke up for Cafe by the Ruins. This restaurant was a recommendation from another friend who has been to Baguio several times. I did not take the time to research it because I trust my friend’s taste when it comes to food (Hi, Jan!). Because I did not do prior research, I was imagining the restaurant to be at some hill, in the ruins of an old house, and the place would smell of dust. Our tour guide/van driver was an expert tour guide and knew every nook and cranny of the Baguio/Benguet area. When I told him we were having lunch at Cafe, he already knew where it was and even forewarned us that the food prices could be steep if we were on a budget. We were on a budget, all right. But I really prepared money to eat at the Cafe (and buy several pairs of shoes at the wagwagan).
Cafe by the Ruins is a popular destination of tourists and local alike, but more so of tourists. It is highly recommended because the Cafe is not just a hype. The Cafe serves really good and quality food, with ingredients sourced from local farmers and as natural and organic as possible. Our lunches came with a cup of high quality violet Benguet rice. I ordered a beef dish but I asked to taste all of my friends’ orders and they all tasted really good. While I loved the beef dish, I could not forget the Palawan chicken with coconut my husband (who was still my boyfriend then) ordered. It was the Baguio version of my favorite lauyang manok from Siquijor. The truth, I could not even forget about it.
Eating at the Cafe was one of my best experiences in Baguio City. Not buying one more lemon tart from their bakery was my biggest regret. There’s a reason to go back.