Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kamayan sa Baguio

Home of Native Lechon Cebu
Belmonte Compound
#27 A Sophia De Veyra St.
Quezon Hill, Baguio City

Last Sunday, my husband and I saw an announcement in Midland Courier (a weekly local newspaper) we knew we couldn't miss. It was a 50% opening discount at the newly opened Kamayan. Promo runs for only five days.

The restaurant is not that accessible but is near Naguillian Road/Cooyeesan (walking distance). It is in the same compound as the Jaime V. Ongpin foundation office. From Naguillian Road, just make a turn towards De Veyra Street. The compound will be on the first corner, if i remember correctly. You won't miss the Belmonte compound and the building that houses the restaurant. It's a cute brown house with a long driveway. I'm guessing that Kamayan's building used to be a house and was just renovated.

My first impression? The tables took too much space so it looked crowded. I do not know if it's just the opening season and they need to provide more chairs for more people. At around 12:15 pm, you had to go through a maze already just to get to the buffet table. They should take out at least 5 tables from the main dining area to give way for the people lining up at the buffet.

We arrived at 11:30 and only 4 tables were occupied. Some servers for main dishes were still empty. They have kare-kare, pork humba, pancit canton, pininyahang manok among others. At 200 pesos, I didn't complain. However, paying the regular price of 400 pesos for at most 30 choices of viands and desserts is not that convincing. For desert, they had halayang ube, a rice cake, ice cream and fruit slices.

Two singers entertained the lunch crowd, hopping from table to table to perform a song or two.

The ambiance is Filipinong Filipino. They also placed tables at the terrace, good for at most two per table. It overlooks Quezon Hill and Coyeesan.

Most are pork dishes. I think there's only one beef viand plus a couple of seafood dishes. The grilled Bangus and Catfish came late. After dessert, they served shrimps, which we feasted on like chips.

If you wanna try it, go early. At 12 noon, the buffet line gets too long and i'm not that patient when it comes to waiting to get food. Their Lechon Cebu is not part of the buffet and you can order it separately.

I'd say: they should continually improve their service to get people to travel far to pay almost 500 pesos for food that they can prepare at home.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Walking is good for the soul

Some people just love to walk, I included.

But if I'd walk along eeky pavements and polluted streets on a very hot and humid day, I'd rather not walk at all even if it's healthy.

Since it's 'generally' colder here in Baguio City than most of the cities in the Philippines, you can enjoy a leisurely walk even at 12noon. At times, you do have to check though, because you'd feel cold enough to even notice that the sun is already damaging your skin.

Further, I love looking at the outfits of people walking, then making mental comments as I observe. (Of course, both positive and negative.)

You don't get to see trench coats, scarves and boots as ordinarily as you'd see them here. Some schools here also have those cute preppy uniforms, which remind you of English boarding schools. My nephew's uniform in pre-school included a beret and he looked so cute in it. White collar workers have no problem using business formal clothes.

At times, I treat Session Road as a runway of sorts.

One other thing - at night, after 7 o'clock, or in the early morning, before 7:30 - the streets will be lined with ukay-ukay! Generally, the prices will be lower than the permanent ukay-ukay stalls. There will be other stuff on sale, like fruits, household items and whatnots. And these lure me into spending on things I don't need sometimes. But it's fun and it's like you're window shopping.

What I don't like is that it usually rains in the afternoon and I usually have muddy splatters on my shoes and pants. There's too much traffic on overpasses too so you just have to avoid the rush hours.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Vizco's Restaurant and Cake House

Puso ng Baguio Building
Session Road, Baguio City

Somehow, this is one of the reasons why I don't miss Makati City (in terms of food establishments) as much.

Vizco's offers a wide array of international dishes at very affordable prices.

It is located along Session Road, near the entrance of Porta Vaga Building. There's a very simple and relaxing mood to greet you, not to mention the cake display that you will see, when you enter the restaurant.

My husband and I found a nice table with a view at the loft, a part of which has tables, where you can eat Japanese style. They have very limited space, actually, but is not noticeable because of the use of glass windows and whatever interior design was used in the place.

I started with a slice of Strawberry Shortcake at PHP 75. (I have EQ problems, by the way. And I only realized that I needed to take a picture after I ate the whole slice.)

For the main entree, I had Pasta Paella at only PHP 155. I don't like Paella that much, in general, actually; but this one is good. You don't see it as saucy but the flavor is so rich and there's a cheesy taste to every bite. The shrimps were fresh. I didn't like the bread though.

My hubby had Italizan Gambazette at only PHP 210 and enjoyed it too.

No service charge. Relatively quick service. They specialize in pizza and pasta dishes. And don't forget their cakes and pastries. I will try the others sometime.

I almost forgot, their very creamy mushroom soup at PHP 48 rocks, too.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

And it all starts here

A lot of people stay in Baguio because, once upon a time, its rustic charm held them captive.

I am not one of them. I never fell in love with this city. At times, i feel like it's too crowded for my taste because I grew up in a small rural town, west of this place.

I, however, fell in love with a man, who is entirely set on staying here for life (or, let's say, in the mean time). And yes, i follow my heart, too. So, I am here, to stay.

Thus, the courtship stage starts. Let us say that this is my way of falling in love with it, like the rest of them, who left their homes and started anew in this place.

I will share my "getting to know" stories with you. Who knows, you might love our city, too; or, if you are a convert yourself, love it more.

Let's drift and explore together.