Baguio may not be the pine scented mountain city it used to be, but a Baguio haul is still worth the trip.
I’m a Baguio girl through and through. I spent my growing up years in Baguio sadly taking for granted the pristine Baguio of the 70’s and 80’s.
It never crossed my mind that it could become the monstrosity it is today. However, it still has a special place in my heart, and in my sturdy bayongs. I don’t go as often as I should to visit my Mom who still lives in Baguio but when I do, there are a few things I always, always bring home with me.
I always buy Cordillera heirloom rice. I get either red or purple. It’s cheaper and nearer to the source. Yes it is available in Manila, but the price is outrageous!
Mushrooms as well. I buy a kilo of each. Shitake, button and oyster. I’ve also just discovered an excellent recipe for cream of mushroom soup which I made today because I panicked that my mushrooms would rot. Click here for the recipe.
Lemons. I love Baguio lemons. They’re huge! Where we used to live we had dozens of lemon trees. Sagada oranges as well but you can’t always be sure they are actually from Sagada since some unscrupulous vendors sell “Sagada” oranges that are actually from China! If anyone can tell me how to distinguish Sagada oranges from China oranges please leave a comment!
I also buy a variety of vegetables. I try to get the ones I don’t usually find in supermarkets or are overpriced when sold in Manila, like watercress, sayote tops, spinach, arugula, asparagus, fresh rosemary. I’ve actually been to the La Trinidad Trading Post where vegetables are sold wholesale. It was an amazing experience to be in the midst of all that fresh produce. It’s open to the public if you want to drop by the next time you’re in Baguio. The prices are crazy cheap.
Then there’s flowers. I always get a bunch of carnations and when in season bachelor buttons. I have to stop myself from buying too much because my husband says our house ends up looking like a funeral parlour! But no trip to Baguio is complete without fresh cut flowers.
Statis for sure because they last forever and brighten up any corner! Remember no water in the vase!
Poinsettia is in season now and you can get really nice ones from Mom & Pop, a Baguio institution found at the top of Session Road or at King Louis Farms in Asin. This one in the photo is from King Louis Farms and was given to me by my friend Nina Daza-Puyat who is married to the Louie of King Louis Farms. King Louis Farms also has beautiful cut flowers. A bit more expensive than the ones in the market but much prettier.
What about cakes and pastries? I don’t have a photo, but the cassava cake from Everything Nice is sooo good. They have branches at the Ayala Techno Hub in John Hay and at SM Baguio. The food is nothing special but the cassava cake is wow.
I can never understand why tourists buy the raisin bread from Country Club. I find it too sweet with way too many raisins! But that’s just me. Here’s a photo of the making of the famous Baguio Country Club Raisin Bread. The recipe I am told is from way back from an American service man stationed in Baguio.
What about Peanut Brittle, Strawberry Jam, Ube Jam? No thanks, I’m over these calorific goodies because they always end up half eaten in my refrigerator.
Walis? Yes! Baguio walis is the best. Don’t scrimp on these, buy a well made one and it will last until your next trip to Baguio.
Last but not the least, please tread lightly on this already abused city! It holds good memories for all of us after all.