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Thursday, July 2, 2015

BAGUIO DAY 1: Azalea Residences' Dinner Experience at Cafe Yagam

Name the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Baguio.

Mines View Park? Then you're all probably about the lush and open scenery and posting photos on instagram.

Burnham Park? Picnics and long romantic walks perhaps?

Ube Jam and Peanut Brittle you say? Then its a food trip you may be looking for (heard there's strawberry sinigang being offered in some restaurants there)

Ghosts and Hauntings? Well we will get to that dear reader.

Whether you are looking for a romantic place to spend your anniversary, a family outing, or an adventure with your friends or officemates, Baguio presents a lot of options for the traveller in you--that is unless you go there during summer where the only thing you'll see are people lining up to whatever "instagrammable" location there is.

Yeah, summer may be over but it doesn't mean that the fun should be, and besides, Baguio's even cooler during this time of the year and you do want to wear that winter jacket you bought it the UK (or at the Ukay) right?

So instead of joining the thousands (or is it millions) of tourists looking for a place to cool off during those scorching summer months  I recently discovered that its actually better to go to Baguio when everyone else has had their fill of ube jams and peanut brittle.

Well my fairy godmother must be listening, because I got an invite last month to visit Baguio after summer for  3 days, 2 nights of food/adventure /scare trip together with group of bloggers (from June 26-28)  thanks to Azalea Residences, (which should be your choice!,,,but more on that later) and it was a totally different experience from all my previous Baguio escapades with my family and friends.

It was going to be my first trip back to Baguio after 3 years and I guess I couldn’t sleep from excitement, and despite having to go to the bus station twice, (one at 3 am and again at 10 am because of some mix up with the schedule) nothing could ruin my mood.

The bus ride was the first surprise as instead of the usual 6- hour trip, we arrived in Baguio in just 4 hours thanks to the new TPLEX highway, we were able to get to Azalea Residences at exactly 2:30 pm via Joy Bus ride Genesis Transportation in Cubao.

Because some of the bloggers who arrived earlier had already made their way to the Botanical Garden, Japanese tunnel  Casa Vallejo and  Mt Clouds, I was left to check out the premises of what would be my home.

I got first dibs on a fully furnished 3 bedroom with kitchen.  Our room was big and good enough for 5 to 6 people. I chose the room beside the kitchen for easy access on the ref.  I shared the two bedrooms with fellow bloggers Earth and Apple.

Azalea Residences is a six-storey contemporary log cabin-inspired hotel situated at the heart of City of Baguio. It is near Leonard Wood Road with address at Leonard Wood Loop Bgy M. Roxas, Baguio City.

Our first activity for the day was at Cafe Yagam.  We gathered at the lobby around 6:00 pm and headed to the cafe.

 Cafe Yagam has the cabin inspired interior with fireplace for that cozy vibe. They had a mini library smacked inside.  We were told that we were served exotic Cordilleran dishes such as Pinikpikan with Etag, Pinuneg, Binungor and Kiniwar for our dinner. I wonder what that means and how it would taste is my next worry as I was hungry the whole day. Luckily, I  had a bite of cheese ensaymada on our way to Cafe Yagam.

Debbie Molitas, Marketing Officer, Azalea Residences

Cafe Yagam serves "normal" dishes aside of course from the funny sounding names that we had for dinner.  They offer the best coffee in town, as a coffee lover myself. I suggests you try the french press, the coffee is flavorful and has that fresh aroma.

They also serves the best Cordilleran wine, "tapuy" or rice wine. The native brew is produced from fermented rice, glutinous rice and bubod (starter culture). It is light, sweet and has a little of alcohol but not that strong to knock you out in one bottle. I guess "tapuy" is good to warm you up a bit.

This is what we had for dinner. For those who would like to have a taste of Cordillera, their exotic dishes are as follows;

Pinikpikan tastes like "tinola" but savory. The dish is prepared by beating a live chicken with a stick prior to cooking. If you want your dinner with soup, this is what I recommend, best served hot.


Brown Rice
Binungor with Agurong
Binungor is a spicy vegetable dish with stir fried snails, bamboo shoots, ginger and eggplant. It was  the spiciest I have tasted since the authentic  "laing" from Bicol. My tear fell after a spoonful of the mixed up veggies.

We met up with the owner and had some "blogger" activities and had a drink of "tapuy".  I learned a lot about the peeps beyond their websites. We headed back to the hotel at 10:00 pm and called it a night at 11:30 pm. Excited for another day of fun and activities.

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