I celebrated my birthday the best way I know how: by escaping the chaos of Metro Manila and heading up where the air is cleaner and the sky is clearer.
We’ve always have a preference to going up Baguio, the so-called Summer Capital of the Philippines. And now that my sister has decided to relocate to Padcal, Benguet (45 minutes to an hour from Baguio City), we have more reasons to go up.
Since we’ve been pretty much regular visitors of the city, we didn’t go around and do all the tourist-y stuff that we’ve been doing for the past few years. Instead, for my birthday, we just bought groceries and headed back home to Le Chateau, this charming place I discovered over the net. Will write about it in a separate post. My family cooked my birthday dinner and we just spent the evening hanging out.
Anyway, before that — we had my pre-birthday lunch at Cafe by the Ruins, a place which I haven’t been to in spite the repeated visits to the city. Do I feel like I missed out? Not really. I mean, the place is beyond pretty and it represents a unique dining experience but maybe I was just expecting too much for the food?
There were stand outs but there were also a lot of dishes that, in my opinion, failed to spectacularly deliver. Stand-outs for me include:
I particularly liked this herbed bread with cheese spread. I am sure the name indicated in the menu is fancier that this, but I don’t have the initiative to remember what it actually was. Anyway, the bread is soft and warm, with the undertone of fresh breads while the spread is both salty and creamy.
We ordered these two appetizers, then followed it up with an order of Sinigang na Baka, Baguio Bagnet and Vegetarian Kare-Kare.
Otherwise, Cafe at the Ruins is a pleasant experience, especially for a Baguio first timer. I recommend that you give the Baguio Bagnet and the cheese stick a try, cos it’s worth the dining the experience. Inside the restaurant, I asked my sister (The Queen) why it was called Cafe at the Ruins. Apparently, the restaurant is standing on the exact ruins of the house of the first ever governor of Baguio. What remained is a tall pockmarked wall serving as the focal point of the restaurant. Also displayed in the area are some of the works of talented Baguio visual artists. I didn’t asked the restaurant if they were for sale but it was labeled and framed, so I had the impression that they can be purchased.
We spent a day in Baguio before moving to Padcal, Benguet where Philex Mining is located. The Queen works for Philex as their media relations officer. I was expecting to find a sleepy, mining town but the community was abuzz with activity and a sense of belongingness. People were nice and always smiling. And definitely very hospitable. And the view? It was simply breathtaking!
Here are more amazing photos of Baguio and Benguet: