For the urban millennial whose veins are pumped up with caffeine to get through what seems like a lifelong supply of paperwork, there is that insatiable craving of the once-in-a-blue-moon bed weather: that rare moment when you’re curled up in that perfectly chill temperature under the right amount of gloom. It’s that sweet spot between room temperature and too much draft, and the clouds outside your window look melancholic enough to beckon you to just stay in bed and relax.
In the pine-filled city up north, the good news is that this weather pretty much stays the same on most days, making this city your best bet to unwind and take your mind off work. And while you’re taking advantage of the 24/7 bed weather, what better way to complement the temperature but with a cup of coffee? We offer you three must-try cafes in Baguio, each with their distinct character.
With about four major universities under its belt, Baguio City has a large student population coming from nearby regions, including Metro Manila. Yet it seems to be in this one coffee place along City Camp Road in Legarda that this demographic seems to converge in. Try going to Kaffeeclatsch on a Saturday night, and the place is packed with young faces meeting up with a large group of friends over drinks and live music. Fitting, as this cafe’s name, Kaffeeclatsch is German for “informal social gathering”, taken from two words kaffee, meaning coffee, and klatsch, for gossip.
With its quirky, almost kooky interiors and warm atmosphere, the place was reminiscent of Central Perk in Friends, except that the singers weren’t actually singing about, well, smelly cats, and the servers were quite skilled in remembering orders. Kaffeeclatsch had a loft where guests can sit on pillows and drink on coffee tables, but the low ceiling makes it inadvisable for tall people or the accident-prone.
The coffeehouse also houses some of the better musicians in the city, as in-house musicians called Vanilla Klatsch provide the music that add to the ambiance of the cafe. Kaffeeclatsch is also known for their flavored coffee such as Hazelnut Kreme and Roasted Karamel, among others, with its largest size at Php 135, while Irish Kreme costs around Php 170. Slightly steep prices for some, but it’s well worth it with the experience that it comes with.
While not strictly a cafe, the coffee and desserts, as well as the relaxed ambiance in this log cabin-themed restaurant cannot be missed. Hill Station is of course, the popular restaurant housed in the lovely Casa Vallejo lodge along Upper Session Road, near SM Baguio. At only Php 70, you can get a cup of Cordillera Heirloom Coffee, made with freshly brewed beans that are sourced locally. Yet, nothing beats the view from its windows and patio, a breathtaking landscape of the peaceful and ambient city sprawling in front of your eyes. For dessert, we had the Death by Chocolate cake, a luscious chocolate lava cake served with vanilla ice cream on top, that was wonderfully rich and moist.
Besides indulging in a bit of history through the old lodge, what makes Hill Station worth the visit is its artsy book shop next door, Mt. Cloud Bookshop, housing different local titles as well as children’s books. This country-feel restaurant captures the very respite from the bustle of the city.
Bright, kitschy and whimsical, a friend once told me that people in Baguio don’t necessarily go to cafes for the coffee, but for the experience itself. This makes the coffeehouse experience diverse depending on which establishment you go to.
Sala at The Camp along Leonard Wood Road is colorful and eccentric, with campy paintings of different pop culture references adorning the ceiling, ranging from fun to creepy. Majority of its jovial and cheerful goers don’t seem to mind though, with more of them surprisingly going more for beer than the coffee. Maybe it’s the more fun vibe that entices them to go for the alcohol, as the guests make themselves comfortable in plush seats and neon sofas, so at home that it befits the cafe’s name.
It’s quite a good thing that Sala makes for a warm and fun atmosphere, as food is obviously not their selling point. Their red velvet pancakes with mango slices sounded appealing, yet the stack of dry flapjacks that landed on our table missed expectations, with a dismal appearance. Funny enough, majority of its menu shared the exact same contents with neighboring bar Just Another Damn Good Sick Joint (to be covered in another post), which makes choosing a hangout more a matter of ambiance. If Just Another Damn Good Sick Joint was a sleek and confident older brother, then the neighboring Sala is the off-beat, fun-loving younger sister.
Three different coffeehouses with very different characters from one another. Whichever you decide to visit on your next trip will definitely offer a respite from the usual and tired Starbucks routine. #
Kaffeeclatsch: 39, Sagittarian Unique Building, City Camp Road, Baguio, 2600 Benguet (074) 442 5056
Hill Station: Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Session Rd, Baguio, 2600 Benguet (074) 423 9100
Sala: The Camp, Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City