Café by the Ruins

Café by the Ruins has always been a favorite restaurant by numerous food bloggers/reviewers and local TV food programs.  It has been poured with positive reviews and  high ratings.  I suppose if Michelin reviewers would take a random restaurant visit in the Philippines, one that qualifies their elusive star is Café by the Ruins- that’s only if they don’t equate great food with expensive wines.

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It was our last day in Baguio during this year’s Panagbenga Festival, that ze sissy suggested we take our final brunch in Café by the Ruins –you see, we thought of saving the best for last.  By the way, the restaurant was just a stone’s throw away from the hotel we stayed in so you could image how we managed to dodge our temptations.

The overall feel is very organic, rustic and you can say Baguio-ish for lack of a better term. There were arts that can impress you or to say the least, bewilder you from the otherwise unbearable long wait. The service was okay, but I expected  more cheerful staff. It’s pretty, it’s got a lot of character, convenient location, exciting menu and best of all, quality food.  The place was full and I thought it was a mark of a good restaurant.

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The restaurant serves dishes that offers Baguio’s local organic products like mountain rice, fresh greens like watercress and spinach, honey, strawberries, etc. They serve Filipino food with exciting twists/fusion. The variety of the dishes being served has a very distinct identity and taste, everything is culturally native. I’d love to try their Pinikpikan the next time we visit.

There was a long list of choices but I settled with their Black ruins coffee with balikutsa (muscovado) and Forest Stream Soup (Sauteed shitake and watercress in clear gingery broth). It was perfect on a bleak weather.

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The gals ordered Duck noodle soup, Baguio Bagnet, Cafe’s Leche flan,  and chocolate lava cake. They let me share with the lava cake- the best i ever had.  I could go on and describe how they taste but I am lost for adjectives.

Instead, Drum rolls please…

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I am not a food connoisseur but I gave Cafe by the Ruins 1 star- Michelin standard. 🙂

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Palengkera in Panagbenga Festival 2014!

While I was packing my bag, my mom asked a rhetorical question as to why I keep coming back to the City of Pines.  I’m not sure if I gave a transcendent explanation but it’s not just the stifling heat of the lowlands that draws tourists like us in Baguio. Comfort food? Museums and Arts? Great Bargain (Ukay)? Spectacle views? Flowers? Adventure and Experience?  and how about those charming PMAers or Policemen? I said, all of the above.

Baguio City’s Harrison and Session road were once again jammed by tourists, local and foreign alike, to witness the colorful Panagbenga festival otherwise known as “Flower Festival”.  Panagbenga is an annual flower festival every February which reflects the history, values and traditions, advocacy, and values of Baguio and the Cordilleras participated by all sectors of communities. The Kankanaey’s term “Panagbenga” means “a season of blooming”.  Baguio’s cool climate and fertile soil makes it a superb cultivating environment for different kinds of flowers and vegetables.

The major highlight of the festival is on the last weekend of February where Street Dancing Parade was held on Saturday and the famous Grand Float competition on Sunday. We have witnessed the latter which is truly the grandest feature of the festival, with majestic floats decorated with different kinds of flowers.

I can give fabulous adjectives about the event, but I am more on visuals, so it may not be good in paper (or e-words).  So let me share the vibrant colors the parade has to offer in pixels that doesn’t need filters.

     Winner of the Street Dancing Competition

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Entries of Grand Float Parade

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My favorite.

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