I haven’t been back to Baguio for like, ages. With the ongoing restrictions due to the lockdowns, one would think this wouldn’t be the best time to go to Baguio, or anywhere else for that matter. But really, how could one pass up going to such a beautiful place and how could we pass up the opportunity witnessing two of our friends (Vince & Jill) tieing the knot?
We were initially on the fence whether to have the Covid test upon arrival in Baguio or at the terminal in Cubao before boarding. Thank goodness we decided to have it done pre-boarding. Otherwise, we would have been pressed for time. The flipside however is that we had to go to the bus terminal at least two hours in advance to have the test, which meant having to sacrifice sleep. As you can imagine, I spent the five-hour or so drive catching up on sleep.
So, off to Baguio we went. The confirmation of us going was on short notice so we had to hustle finding outfits and booking our travel since we had to commute going there.
Upon arrival in Baguio, we were whisked to the triage area where we had our interview with the local authorities, pretty much like how immigration would do it. We presented our negative Covid test results and the QR code for the travel pass we had downloaded online. In the end, we were cleared and given a piece of paper with the reminders to keep the health protocols followed at all times – social distancing, the wearing of mask and face shield, and regular hand washing.
Navigating around the city was made easier with the use of cab-hailing apps like Grab. Correct me if I’m wrong, but is it true there aren’t any options for Grab car in Baguio, just cabs? Or does it depend on location and time of day? It’s also interesting to see cars not needing to use A/C and have their windows down because you get the cold air from the outside anyways. I think that’s good for the environment and you even get to save energy.
The wedding venue is at Potenciana Avenue, in Beckel, La Trinidad – a part gallery, part events place, part café, part accommodation. We arrived just in time so we could prep up for the ceremony. We met new friends from the family of the couple, both two-legged and four. Meet Hugo and Ginger, our newfound furry friends, the pug and the Dachshund respectively. Aren’t they the cutest?
This is probably the coolest wedding I have ever attended and not just because of the weather. I mean, the bride arrived in a classic Volkswagen kombi 1969. How ’bout that? I’m sold.
Wedding reception is on the same venue, with catering from Naimas and styling by Miel’s.
The current situation allows for just a small group, but it does not take, by any means, the fun away from the celebration.
Once again, congratulations and best wishes to the new couple!
An unexpected invitation led to some interesting discoveries of the metro – this time in Makati. We were invited by a former colleague to this event held at the Indonesian Embassy where some of the activities include cultural shows, bazaar, food stalls, film showings, etc.
We didn’t get the chance to see the cultural show/s but we were able to taste some of the Indonesian food, which, actually, was our primary objective. Unfortunately, we came in a bit late so some of the stalls started closing already.
The Mertabak pancake stall which we were so excited to try, apparently, was already closed when we checked, although it didn’t really scream “We’re closed” at the outset. I mean, we still see them cooking, and there are people who are, actually, still waiting in line, so we thought we could still order.
And, so, here’s the funny story. We inquired about the pancakes, and, of course, we were replied back in Bahasa (Indonesia’s national language). Unfortunately, we know little, if nothing, about Bahasa, so one could understand the confused, dumbfounded-look on our faces. But we carried on still, as if we understood (and quite confidently at that, I must add), asking each other what flavor or type of pancake we decide to get for ourselves while pointing to the products’ list displayed in front of us. Good thing one of the ladies standing in line was kind enough to explain in Tagalog that the stall is already closed and that they were only cooking for those who have ordered earlier.
I thought to myself: ‘Really?? Darn!’
Very easily with those words from the lady, our bubbles burst. Our faces now turned from one of excitement to one of disappointment. As we say in the vernacular: “sayang”.
Oh, well. It is what it is. On the bright side though, we were happy and excited to be able to catch up with some Indonesian friends who were former colleagues of ours. It was nice seeing them again after a long time and learning of what they have been up to and how they’ve been doing all these years. It’s good to know of their accomplishments both in their professional and personal lives. We wish them all the best.
Ok. I digressed.
Going back. I was able to try the Bakmi Ayam (from Bakmi NyoNya), which, as per some online sources I’ve checked, is basically a wheat yellow noodle topped with diced chicken meat seasoned in soy sauce and topped with some vegetables like chinese cabbage and mushrooms. Fried shallots are often added as garnish. And just like many of the other dishes in Southeast Asia, this too has a strong Chinese influence to it.
The dish, I think, has a more subtle flavor compared to the other Indonesian dishes I have tried before, and so I think I probably should not have added the chili sauce at the start as I find it difficult to discern the natural flavor of the dish. One thing I can say is that it didn’t quite create the same strong impression I had with Mee Goreng when I first tasted it from years back – savory, addictive and with a delicious aroma. Whew! I’m salivating just thinking about it. So, I guess I would just have to give it another try at some other time, maybe in their restaurant.
Now all of this spicy goodness had to be balanced out with something sweet. So, off we went to find some café or restaurant where we could get our saccharine fix. We ended up in Naimas, or Balay Naimas (as shown on the receipt I’m looking at right now). More than the food, what struck us most is the interiors and all the funny and witty quotations, and maybe just some random thoughts about food and food lovers, spoken out loud, framed and hung on the walls.
There are also some pictures of famous Hollywood stars of yesteryears – the “classic” Hollywood – whose names I am not even familiar with, embarrassingly so. I probably heard the name or read about it somewhere but, it isn’t my cup of tea, really. My colleague, on the other hand, this friend of mine from work, is THE expert 🙂 She couldn’t stop gushing about it and could not stop taking pictures. Well, she knows her stuff. She knows her classic Hollywood. As they say: “Different strokes for different folks”. And as we say in this country: ‘walang basagan ng trip’ 😛
We ordered their vanilla ice cream. Nothing spectacular, really. Just your straightforward vanilla ice cream right there.
Afterwards, we met up with another friend from work together with her kids, and we decided to go to this place they usually frequent, Tutto Domani. Things we ordered were ‘Butter, Cheese and Sugar Crounds’, some pizza, chocolate brownie, and a club sandwich, for them, and just cappuccino for me. Cappuccino made more gourmet with some all-natural coconut sugar.
I like the way the foam was designed. Very intricate. Like work of art. In fact, sometimes it feels such a shame to mess it all up when it comes time for you to drink it.
What’s interesting and nice about this place is that its location makes for some quiet surroundings.
I may not be able to say the same for the inside, though – at least not all the time, I suppose – especially when the kids (and kids at heart) start playing with the toys (yes, the free toys provided by the café itself). Nice concept though, especially if you have kids with you, as this is an effective way to pass the time and a good form of distraction. Also good while waiting for your food to be served. Genius, huh? I saw people play card games. There’s probably some board games, too. And there’s even a guitar for music enthusiasts. Isn’t that cool?
Aside from these, there are toys and other items (like key chains) on display that are actually available for purchase, most of which I think, if not all, are from abroad, or that are probably hard to find locally. There’s this collection or series of toys that caught my eye called Labbit (by Kidrobot) that has a cute bunny donning different types of costumes depending on the theme. I think these are what they call designer toys, which probably explains the heavy price tag (P600). It may not sound much but it’s definitely costly for its size, and considering that there’s probably nothing much you can do with it other than for display purposes.
Oh, but they’re so cuuute….
If money is no object, I would have bought one right that very moment. But, as it is, I had to stop myself. And so now I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Dang! Cheapskate problems.