Strawberry Farm - La Trinidad, Benguet

Chocolate De Batirol, Magsaysay Market, Café by the Ruins, Strawberry Farm, The Manor

Baguio City

Choco-late De Batirol, Magsaysay Market, Café By The Ruins, Strawberry Farm, The Manor

Day 3 in Baguio City: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

It’s Valentine’s Day and according to SunStar Baguio, “The highlands gave lovers a freezing Valentine’s Day” due to its temperature reaching a record low of 8 degrees Celsius. Well, that’s okay and we were loving that since we were not lovers any way; we were friends who loves each other!

STRAWBERRY FARM AT LA TRINIDAD​

Our “very” early morning started with picking strawberries at one of the Farms in La Trinidad. Going there was very easy, since the Jeepneys or the Public Transportation that passes by that area were only few meters away from Hotel Urban – the hotel where we stayed at. It was just at the adjacent street and the fare was only P11.00 each. The travel time was just less than an hour ride from the city proper, and I would suggest going there at around 6 or 7am to avoid the heavy traffic within the city. Don’t forget to bring your scarfs or jackets, since the early morning breeze could get really, really cold.

Don’t forget to try the freshly prepared “pinipig” that was cooked together with a “sticky rice” – it was really yummy, and I’d say perfect for a cup of black coffee, since it’s a little sweet. It’s like a sticky rice cake, or so called “biko” in our native dialect, but with a twist of “pinipig”. The “sundot kulangot” (in the middle), which literally translates to “pick booger”, was quite fun to eat, and tasty too. And of course, strawberry ice cream to make your head even colder…

MAGSAYSAY MARKET​

The jeepney (from the farm) that we took went straight to Magsaysay Market. And so we dropped by, to look for more “Pasalubong” as well as to go for street food searching adventure to fill in our empty tummies. There are a lot of local delicacies, and souvenirs inside the market, and since they are positioned next to each other, haggling couldn’t be easier especially one can just hop from one store to another. Right after shopping, we had a light mid-morning breakfast at one of the “carenderias” nearby.

Walking our way back to Hotel Urban, we passed by one of my childhood’s favorite – the “binatog”. It is made of corn kernel (usually the white type), that was boiled and drained. It is then topped with grated coconut and a dash of salt or a spoon of sugar is added, depending on your taste.

We still have few destinations in our itineraries that we would like to visit. Right after packing our bags, we took a short nap, and then had brunch in the hotel. The staff were very kind enough to convert our breakfast into brunch, since according to them they knew we were out early to go to the strawberry farm.

Right after eating, we took our bags and then checked-out, leaving our bags behind the check-in counter at the hotel lobby. We went straight to Chocolate de Batirol to start our threesome celebration of Valentine’s Day.

CHOCOLATE DE BATIROL​

The place was just perfect and exactly the one that we were looking for our trio date on a Valentines’ Day. It was really romantic, simple and yet very elegant. And although it could get really cold, since it doesn’t have any concrete or wooden walls, the hot cup of chocolate somehow gave warmth, although this “Traditional Blend” hot choco, to me, tasted more like 2 sachets of “Milo”. I couldn’t compare it to “Swiss miss” since it has been ages since I last tasted one. I was actually expecting for a “thicker” consistency, with a slightly bitter taste, especially that I’m in to black coffee and dark chocolates. On the other hand, the “Suman sa Lihia” tasted really good. Suman sa lihiya is made of white glutinous rice, wrapped in and tied with banana leaves, and cooked in water with Lye.

This café is located inside Camp John Hay, and for your reservation needs and inquiries, they can be reached at 0917-877-1427 or 0917-877-1428. You may also send them an email at: chocolatedebatirol@yahoo.com.

We were full, and so we decided to burn some calories so we would have room for a cup of coffee over some pastries at The Manor, Camp John Hay. We took a walk from Chocolate De Batirol while adoring some scenic spots, including its world class Jack Niclaus-designed golf course. We also picked some pine cones along the way, aside from taking photos from every angles.

THE MANOR AT CAMP JOHN HAY​

We arrived at The Manor, with our tummy still full! The walking did not burn enough calories; the cold weather must have been the culprit. So instead of loading up with more, we went around the hotel and ended up taking unlimited photos. It was a Valentine afternoon and the staffs were busy preparing and beautifying the place for an event.

According to its website, “The Manor at Camp John Hay offers you the ultimate R&R experience. Its 177 luxury rooms with impressive interiors and lush view continue to wow visitors from all over the world. Dine and indulge at The Manor’s Le Chef Restaurant and Delicatessen by award-winning Chef Billy King or relax and sit by the fireplace at the Piano Bar & Lounge to complete your 5-star hotel experience.” This hotel can be best booked through Booking.com because based on experience, its listings always provide the option to pay at the hotel lobby since they will only pre-authorize your credit or debit card. And for a certain period of time, an option to cancel for free, is also available, thereby saving you any hassles should in case you need to change your itinerary.

We were full, and so we decided to burn some calories so we would have room for a cup of coffee over some pastries at The Manor, Camp John Hay. We took a walk from Chocolate De Batirol while adoring some scenic spots, including its world class Jack Niclaus-designed golf course. We also picked some pine cones along the way, aside from taking photos from every angles.

We then went to SM City Baguio to look for strawberry “taho” and we headed straight to Café by the Ruins. Taho” is a Philippine snack food made of fresh soft/silken tofu, arnibal, and sago pearl. This staple comfort food is a signature sweet and taho peddlers can be found all over the country. The Indonesian equivalent of this snack is Tauhue, and the Malaysian equivalent of this snack is called Taufufah. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taho.​

CAFÉ BY THE RUINS

After doing our research online and after reading good reviews about this restaurant, we made sure we don’t miss this one out. The place was just perfect for a romantic threesome valentine’s dinner. The light was dim, the breeze was cold, and the place was cozy with a candle lit table for 3. The order was just a little bit slow at that time, and we could understand because it was valentines and the restaurant was full. We even sat in the waiting area for few minutes, waiting for our turn.

The food was just okay; nothing special, but nothing ordinary too. I had an “Americano”. It’s a long black coffee; double ristretto with hot water. Ristretto, according to Wikipedia.com, “is traditionally a short shot of espresso coffee made with the normal amount of ground coffee but extracted with about half the amount of water.” While my two (2) other friends had a Macchiato (an espresso topped with frothed milk), and “Ruins Herb Tea” (Infusion of lemon grass and mint leaves with honey and a lemon wedge on the side. Served by the pot.)

And, to go with our coffee and tea, we had some pandesal (A traditional Filipino bread, usually served during breakfast) together with “Kesong Puti (cottage cheese) and Basil” and “Fish Roe Pate” (Salted fish roe blended with cream and butter.) And although the “Fish Roe Pate” was really delicious, it would have been best served if it’s not “stone” cold, so that it can easily be spread on top of the bread.

Right after our light dinner, we went back to the hotel to pick up our bags and went straight to the Victory Liner terminal. We waited for an hour or 2, as we relaxed for few minutes on one of the massage chair that is available, and take a short nap at the waiting area while waiting for our assigned bus.

Our bus left on time, and the whole trip took about 5 hours. We went down at Dau Terminal, and took the Airport shuttle (van) going to Clark International Airport. Just ask any bystanders for the shuttle; a simple lounge is available for the passenger’s convenience. The fare costs P100 per person, and don’t be duped, since the collector tried to ask for more for each luggage that he loaded to the van.

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