I just spent the weekend on a quick road trip to Baguio and La Union — two of the most popular weekend destinations outside of Metro Manila. My friends and I had a hectic but fun-filled day in Baguio, mostly stuffing ourselves with food and simply inhaling the cold, cold air of Benguet in February.
By 5:30 in the morning, we hopped off the bus and headed to Jollibee for a quick breakfast, mostly to debrief and psych ourselves for the adventure ahead. After eating, we walked the empty streets of Baguio, quite refreshing to witness the city in the early morning — no crowd, just the cold wind as company.
Kick start the day with a worth-it indulgence: Vizco’s strawberry shortcake
This will forever be in my Baguio itinerary — a slice or two of Vizco’s famous strawberry shortcake. Now this cake truly is the best thing since “sliced cake” — soft pillowy shortcake lathered in whipped cream and layers of fresh strawberries. This is the perfect example of a dessert that’s not too sweet but sweet enough that it satisfies all your cravings. The generous amount of fresh strawberries keeps this cake crisp and not cloying.
Literally smell the flowers at Burnham Park (or even catch a sleep or two)
Beautiful flowers are in full bloom around the edges of Burnham Park at this time of year. The sight of these colorful dahlias was almost enough to energize my sleepy head. I love love love fresh flowers and to see them live in action all around the park made me very happy. However, we had very little sleep that time so we also laid our towels just on the outskirts of Burnham and slept for a good hour while waiting for other establishments to open. What a cheap and uncomfortable way to relax, but also thank God for these flowers!
Visit Mt Cloud Bookshop and add more unread books to your already sky-high, to-read pile
Another staple of Baguio weekends — a visit to this cozy yet well-stocked bookshop. You can find a lot of local titles and limited edition books by Filipino authors in this bookstore. Even if you don’t plan to purchase anything, simply browsing their collection — Filipiniana literature old and new, as well as locally produced journals and stationeries — is a therapeutic endeavor all on its own.
Eat lunch at Lemon & Olives and gape at the beautiful surroundings, beautiful interiors, and beautiful food
Lemon & Olives is a Greek-inspired restaurant that not only serves delicious, straightforward Mediterranean food, but also a killer view of Baguio’s pine trees and mountain scenery. The servings are good for sharing, and nothing beats eating comfort food on a cool veranda overlooking verdant trees. (Will post a separate entry for the food we ate at Lemon & Olives.) However, it’s hard to be present in this restaurant, especially if you’re a typical IG slut like me. We took one million photos of our food, enough for it to go cold, Baguio-level cold.
Wind down with a glass of horchata at Hatch and simply linger
One of the few third wave coffee joints in Baguio City, Hatch offers a concise menu of hot and cold drinks, most notably horchata and coffee. The café is tucked in an easy-to-miss alley. We know it’s easy to miss because we missed it big time. Thanks, Waze! Upon entering the place, we were a little unsure where to go as the entire café simply looked like a cozy garden/patio of a vacation home. We took a seat on one of their hardwood tables and chairs. Most of us ordered their dirty horchata — the flavored version of the plain rice milk horchata. They offer three horchata variants — coffee, strawberry, and matcha — all delicious and very comforting especially when paired with their homemade almond cookies and lemon bars.
As we enjoyed our horchatas, the rain began to pour hard. We lingered for a bit, savoring once more this coveted chilly weather. By around quarter to four, we headed to our next destination: La Union.