Baguio Trip 2020: Where to Stay and Eat With a Baby

We decided to go up to Baguio after our week-long stay in La Union. Baguio is one of our favorite and memorable places and we wanted Lucas to experience it, too. This would be Lucas’ last travel, last car rides, last dine outs before this lockdown. We were in Baguio from March 2 to 5, and when we got back in Manila, the COVID-19 threat was getting more serious so we decided to stay home even before the community quarantine was announced.

Where We Stayed

Enzo and I have always stayed at budget hotels in Baguio’s city proper before. The last time we were there was in December of 2016, and the traffic was hell. I vowed that the next time we went, we would stay inside Camp John Hay and never go to the city. I booked a room at Le Monet Hotel, which is just a stone’s throw away from The Manor. Le Monet has the same gorgeous views, at a lower cost. Tip: It pays to book through Agoda, or other travel apps because they give out discounted rates. I got our standard room for around P4,500 per night (with breakfast for two). The published rate at the hotel’s website was at P8,000.

If you’re traveling with kids, it’s really a wise decision to just stay inside CJH. There’s no traffic, so you can take advantage of the peace and quiet the place offers. You’ll be surrounded by pine trees everywhere and have a really relaxing time. Camp John Hay also has several picnic areas where you can rent a table and let the kids explore and gather pine cones. We skipped the other kid-friendly activities (zipline, mini-golf, horseback riding) because Lucas can’t do all of those yet. Instead, we simply strolled around and had lunch in the forest.

There are diners and restaurants just outside Le Monet Hotel. We bought hotdogs, sandwiches, and hot chocolate to bring for our picnic. They also have a separate bakery where you can buy super good Ube and Cheese Pandesal–perfect for pasalubong!

Where We Ate – 5 Restaurants in Baguio to Try

  1. Cafe by the Ruins – 25 Shuntug Rd, Baguio, Benguet

We always start our Baguio food trip at Cafe by the Ruins. We would eat brunch here even before checking in at the hotel. This iconic local restaurant was destroyed by fire a few years back, but I’m happy that the owners decided to renovate and re-open. The newer structure has more modern interiors, but it still exudes the same nostalgia.

2. Foggy Mountain Cookhouse – San Carlos Heights, Baguio, Benguet

On our second day, we had dinner at Foggy Mountain Cookhouse. It’s a private, by-reservation-only dining place by Chef Babes, a Baguio resident who I believe also worked as a meat exporter in Manila. You message him on Facebook, book a table, and order a day before so he can prepare the ingredients. There aren’t many options on his menu, but every dish seemed sumptuous and carefully thought of.

We ordered Split Pea Soup, Porchetta, Angus Rib Eye, Bottarga Pasta, and Pumpkin Puree for dessert. It came with free salad and humus. Everything was great, but the star of the night was the Bottarga Pasta. Ask if it’s available and grab the chance to try it. It’s actually dried fish roe that’s crunchy and full of wonderful flavors. Chef Babes told us that he tried once in Italy and decided to recreate the dish here in the Philippines. It’s beyond amazing.

Tip: Foggy Mountain Cookhouse is inside a private village. It’s Wazeable, but the roads are super narrow and it’s easy to miss. There’s a sharp right turn that’s pretty dangerous so drive carefully and slowly!

Tip 2: Go before 6pm to catch the sunset. Foggy Mountain has an impressive viewpoint!

3. The Farmer’s Daughter Restaurant – Tam-awan Village, Long Long Benguet Rd, Baguio, 2600 Benguet

Tam-Awan Village isn’t the best place to go when you have a baby. Or if you’re traveling with a senior (Enzo’s mom was with us). I wish I knew before I planned our itinerary. But nobody mentioned this tiny tidbit in all the blogs and reviews I read. While it’s certainly nice to marvel at local and native artworks, you’ll have to go through more than a hundred steps to get to different areas. Many of these steps were steep, some without handrails. I had to carry the heavy boy on a hip-seat carrier, kangaroo-style. Gasp.

Outside Tam-Awan Village, though, is a lovely nice little restaurant called The Farmer’s Daughter. It serves authentic Ilokano dishes with super fresh vegetables. Just look at those greens! Props to them for their cute native high-chair. Thank you for thinking of babies and toddlers!

4. Cafe Sabel – Ground Level, BenCab Museum, Km 6. Asin Road, Baguio, 2603 Benguet

After Tam-Awan, we proceeded to BenCab Museum. Another place with STAIRS! :) We ended our day with a sweet merienda of coffee, turon and suman. 

5. Chocolate de Batirol – Igorot Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio, 2600 Benguet

Here’s another local mainstay in the Baguio food scene. Chocolate de Batirol, located within Camp John Hay, is always packed with tourists. We were lucky that we were there on a weekday and so we were able to choose seats. Our full breakfast consisted of arroz caldochamporado, longganisa, and tocino. Burp!

Ahh, Baguio, when will we see you again? We are grateful for the chance to travel. Now, as I share these photos, I reminisce and pray for better days ahead. Stay strong, mamas!


La Union Trip 2020: Where to Stay, Eat, and Go With a Baby!

Last February, the husband had work in La Union and needed to stay there for a week. Because we had no yaya, I couldn’t imagine being left alone with a giddy baby for seven days. So off we all went to LU! I’m glad we were able to travel and sort of go on a vacation before our country enforced strict quarantine. It will be a while before any of us will be able to do this again–but I’m posting photos and short stories here because they’re happy memories and for future reference!

Where We Stayed

While most tourists would prefer to stay in San Juan, La Union–the country’s surfing capital–we had to book a hotel in San Fernando since Enzo’s job was there. We stayed at Sunset Bay Hotel, a beachside resort near the Airport Road. It’s a three-star “budget” resort so we didn’t expect anything fancy. The hotel surprised us, however, with its friendly service, clean facilities, and breathtaking views!

The standard rooms are privately tucked behind lush bushes and have their own patios.


The resort’s pathways are neatly landscaped and decorated.


Their beachfront al fresco restaurant serves a wide array of dishes (from pasta to burgers and Filipino meals), with huge servings. They were surprisingly delicious too! We enjoyed our daily breakfasts here with the boy, who learned to eat pancakes and french toasts.

They also have a small infinity pool, which Lucas loved. It was his first swimming pool experience!

We had previously stayed at Aureo Resort, which is just a couple of meters away. While Aureo has more modern amenities, I truly recommend Sunset Bay if you’re on a strict budget or traveling with a large group. We stayed at their standard room, which comes with its own patio. Just a tip: bring an insect repellant lotion or spray to ward off pesky mosquitoes!

Where to Go/Eat in La Union

For a yaya-less mom like me, surfing was out of the equation. I conceded that I won’t be able to do that, at least until Lucas learns how to confidently walk and entertain himself. For now, all we could do was explore new restaurants and sight-see. We also didn’t have much time, because Enzo was mostly at his job site. During his breaks, we were able to go to San Juan, which is about 10 minutes away.

If you only had a day to explore San Juan, I recommend you go to The Great Northwest Philippine Travel Stop and Viewing Deck. It’s right smack in the middle of resorts, right in front of the great LU beach. There’s ample parking and hip restos. We had merienda at El Union Coffee and had the most amazing cheese sandwich and ricotta toast.

We wanted to try other food stalls, but we were so full and we can’t stay long. If you’re coming here, please don’t for the love of you miss trying Coco Mama. It’s a small shack that sells coconut ice cream. You can have it with other fruits, but the coconut base is the star. It was soooooo good I’m actually craving for it now!

A few meters away, we discovered Coast Call Kitchen and Bar. It’s a restaurant within the famous San Juan Surf Resort. It serves fusion cuisine that’s really, really tasty! We had their ginormous burger, milkshake, and longganisa pasta. That one’s a winner!

Ah ELYU, it’s been a while, old friend! The first time I came here was when I was a new college grad, to learn how to surf with my friends. La Union was so different then. There were no resorts, no restaurants, and no crowds. While I certainly miss my youth, I’m happy to see a different LU today. I can’t wait for Lucas to grow a bit older so he can appreciate the surf!

P.S.: How are you holding up, mamas? Stay safe and healthy!

Aureo Resort La Union: Lucas’ First Beach Trip

Last week, the husband had a meeting which took him to San Fernando, La Union and I decided to tag along with the baby. Lucas was turning four months and it would be the perfect opportunity for his first beach experience! I went online to look for beach resorts in San Fernando and immediately found Aureo.

The last time I was in La Union was years and years ago! I think I was pleasantly surprised that the drive north is now faster and smoother, thanks to SCTEX and TPLEX. Aureo is Waze-able and quite easy to find. We were greeted by friendly staff and this friendlier view:

Aureo Resort La Union

Since we were only staying for a night, we booked the cheapest room, which was located in the gardens. The other room types were the pool view and the beach view. Our room was modest but really nice, and the best part was the patio where we had late-night drinks. The Instagram-worthy garden has two gazebos with chaises perfect for lounging.

Aureo Resort has an ample beachline–the sand isn’t white but clean, and the La Union waters are clean. The resort also has two swimming pools. Since we were there on a weekday, there weren’t many guests and we had the pools to ourselves almost the entire time!

Lucas couldn’t sit on the sand or dip in the sea yet–but the change of scenery and the fresh air surely did him some good. I, on the other hand, definitely enjoyed my time in the ocean. It was my first beach trip in a year!

We also enjoyed the food at Aureo. They have large servings! I wasn’t able to take photos of all the food we ordered, but each dish came in HUGE batches–enough to fill six grown men!

Traveling With Kids?

Unfortunately, Aureo Resort isn’t too kid-friendly, IMHO. There aren’t a lot of open spaces, and I didn’t notice any special areas for children. That being said, maybe kids don’t need a manicured lawn and swings, slides, and playsets–the sand is calling! Nature is always, always the best playground!

I did notice, though, that one of their swimming pools might be a hazard. The entire pool is shallow, like 4ft deep only (in my guess); and in the middle of the pool, above it, is a bridge without railings. I could already picture an overly excited kid running to it, diving to the pool, and getting injured. I pointed this out to the lifeguard, but he didn’t look too alarmed. Maybe it’s the paranoid me, being a new mom and all.

Still, it was a pleasant overnight trip. Great well-kept place, nice ambiance, and friendly staff! We’ll definitely be back for a longer stay!


Barangay San Francisco, San Fernando City, La Union
Tel. No. (63) 072 888 0833

La Union Souvenirs

On the way back, we passed by road-side stalls to buy pasalubongs. Of course, we had to get native garlic and suka that Ilocos is known for. A pleasant surprise is La Union’s locally grown grapes. Apparently, the province is now growing grapes and offering grape-picking packages as part of its tourism programs. We skipped the picking part and just bought grapes per kilo–at only P230!

Superstar Virgo Cruise: Why I Took a Keto Break

Confession: I took a [very] long break from my Keto diet. Last month, my family and I sailed to Japan and Taiwan from Manila via Superstar Virgo. I knew that the cruise would have amazing (read: FREE!) food, so I decided that I would take a break during the six-day trip.

May 19, 2018: Aboard the Superstar Virgo cruise

I actually broke my diet two days before the cruise. I told myself that my body needed time to adjust to all the food I’ll be eating on the ship. But really, here’s another confession: I MISS CARBS AND SUGAR LIKE CRAZY!!! And boy, did I eat!

Continue reading Superstar Virgo Cruise: Why I Took a Keto Break