I sure miss those days when going up to Baguio City was a breeze, and you always look forward to an exhilarating experience. That was, I think, during the 1980s. The last time I went up here was around 2005 or 2006 and the city was celebrating Panagbenga Festival. It was so crowded I didn’t enjoy Baguio the way I wanted to. Traffic was terrible.
But just recently, together with a group of friends, I went up Baguio again, days before the city celebrated Panagbenga Festival. It was a short stay, but nonetheless, enough to get me craving for another adventure here in the summer capital of the Philippines. The city may have borne the brunt of progress (it was a bit traffic too, and parts of the Marcos highway was inaccessible to motorists) but its charm—absolute charming vibe—was still there. Just don’t mind the distracting scenery of the booming real estate properties in the mountainside.
We left Metro Manila at dawn for a four-hour drive. Since we arrive at around quarter to 10 a.m. we decided to have brunch at the iconic Café by the Ruins—Baguio’s best loved Filipino restaurant.
I’ve heard about this diner for quite sometime, so I was eager to visit the place. Though it was my first time here, I was immediately drawn to its laid-back dining atmosphere. I lost track of time and just breathed the fresh air mixed with the mouthwatering aroma of freshly baked bread while lounging at the table, taking snapshots of the rustic interiors of the Café.
Our orders started coming in…so I had to stop briefly from taking pics of the place. I had to dig in fast on the scrumptious Baguio salad featuring crispy fried creamy kesong puti (white cheese made of unskimmed carabao’s milk), before my friends beat me to it!
When the waiter was asking for our drinks, I was torn between ordering their brewed coffee or strawberry smoothie. Since we’re in Baguio, majority decided to order the smoothie. But that didn’t stop some of us from ordering both!
The fresh strawberry smoothie really got me into the mood of eating. They immediately served one whole sliced basil bread with kesong puti on the sides while we wait for our lunch to be served.
After a few minutes of waiting, our lunch finally came in. But we were quite surprised at the very healthy menu laid in front of us…while some didn’t enjoy eating red rice (which is far more healthier, mind you), I was happy to have a cup of it on my plate…
Next comes the fried (very, very) spicy bangus, pinikpikan, crispy bagnet, chopsuey or stir-fried mixed vegetables topped with a sunny side up.
I thought we’d have no more room for dessert since almost all of us are already full. But no, everyone was eager to try at least three of their dessert menu–the strawberry shortcake, strawberry and mango crepe, and their leche flan. Yummy!!!
We capped off our brunch experience at Café by the Ruins with a Peppermint Tea…perfect after giving in to our sweet cravings.