I can't remember exactly when I went to Baguio last because it's been so long. But I think it was in '99 when I went for the Panagbenga flower festival, as part of an official tour of Philippine fiestas for work. As much as I love being up in the mountains amidst the cool pine-scented air, I used to dread the long 6-7 hour drive. But my trip to Donsol last year, which had me in a car for 14 hours each way, fixed that.
While the men played mini-golf, we explored Baguio's public market, a popular one-stop shop for the freshest produce from the Cordillera mountain region, native Ifugao wood-carved souvenirs, fruit preserves and yams, walis tambo (top-quality brooms), flannel blankets, peanut brittle, raw honey, native woven handbags, plants, flowers, handwoven fabrics, and chocolate-covered corn flakes among other things. Aside from how complete the market is, what surprised me the most was how utterly clean it was. No wonder it has become a popular tourist destination in the city.
Binatog is steamed white corn kernels mixed with milk, grated coconut and sugar.
It was a chewier version of mais con hielo without the ice. Yum!
No trip to Baguio is complete without the requisite visit to the legendary Good Shepherd convent , home of the most sought-after fruit preserves such as strawberry jam, ube jam and peanut brittle. If there is one thing (aside from the abundance of fresh strawberries and horses) that I love most about Baguio, it's the Good Shepherd ube jam! I have not found anything remotely as good as this sweet, smooth and creamy version.
They sell them freshly made and still warm, with a reminder to leave it uncapped until noon the next day. I barely made it back into the car, when with my finger I scooped up some of the purple goodness from the jar. Mmmm, still as delicious as ever! I wish I had bought more, but I find comfort in the fact that you can now avail of Good Shepherd products in Manila. In fact, I see a trip to Market! Market! in my future.
Some pictures taken at Mines View Park
Big & small kulangot (literally translates as, -get this- booger), I know it sounds gross but it's good! Found inside the coconut shells are wads of sweetened coconut , like cocojam, which you scoop out with your finger or a tiny spoon.