31 May 2007

Go home and plant camote!

One of the things that I truly appreciate having lived in Baguio was how fresh and cheap we can get our veggies, as compared to the vegetable state here in Manila. A couple of months ago, I took a leave of absence from work because I was raging a battle against fever. That afternoon, dizzy and feverish but hungry and with no one else to turn to, I took a brisk walk to the supermarket to buy provisions that will last me a couple of days. I turned to the groceries section and almost stumbled on my grocery cart. They were selling lettuce for 150 pesos a kilo, while I can get the same for only 20 pesos in Baguio! Wow, that was truly a revelation. No wonder lowlanders hoard as much veggies as they can while in Baguio.
I couldn't resist taking this photo when a guest brought back loads of vegetables from a buying spree in the market. This and the dining table were filled with vegetables.
Even the "lowliest" of vegetables taste great in Baguio. Below: watercress being prepared to mix with sauteed sardines.

Sadly, I haven't been doing a lot of cooking lately, just stir-frying what-have-you. So for this post, I'll mention a couple of great veggie places in Baguio instead. Let's slice and dice, shall we?

Oh my Gulay!
Believe it or not, there is a place in Baguio called "O My Gulay". It's a vegetarian restaurant located right at the heart of the city, and yet not many people are aware of its existence. It's co-located with a place called Vocas (which is an acronym whose meaning escapes me at the moment), a place where artists showcase their work and perform ethnic dances and music. This place was introduced to me by a close friend only a couple of years ago, and it has since been a favorite spot for dining with guests. To get there, you have to walk up to a narrow flight of stairs. And then when you enter this place, it's like you're out in an ethnic countryside! Really amazing.

Tea and pasta, anyone?
The ambience is great, the food scrumptious. OMG is located at the top floor of La Asotea Building along Session Road.

Cafe by the Ruins
Who hasn't heard of Cafe by the Ruins and the story behind the name? Well, to keep the long story short, part of the cafe's structure is built around a dilapidated wall which bore witness to the horrors of war. The cafe, however, has brought with it an atmosphere of relaxation and casual conversation with friends and family. It was originally a place where artists converge, and it still has that reputation. They frequent other watering holes these days though, such as Vocas or Tam-awan village.

Sweet potato fritters
They have a unique food selection with brown mountain rice and of course, salads. Trust me on that one, even if there are no photos. :-)

Where to buy your veggies
You can get your veggies at the local Public Market. The long lane offering take-home goodies, veggies and fruits beside Bonifacio Street was designed with the tourist in mind. But you can try other areas of the market such as the Hangar. The Hangar is located at the end of this "tourist lane" if you're coming from Maharlika Livelihood Center. Right after the vegetable and fruit stands are the rice vendors. The pathway goes to the left and ascends slightly to a building where rows upon rows of vegetable dealers abound.

If the Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet is part of your itinerary, drop by the Trading Post too. This is where the vegetables from the farmers are converged for shipping to other sellers. You can get substantial savings if you buy in bulk. But if it's going to be in small orders only, the cost is relatively similar with what you will get in Hangar.
Suffice to say that vegetables in Baguio are really something else. Sweet and crunchy! Munch on a carrot today!

And what's with the title? In Baguio, it's what teachers say to students who are "nangangamote". Hehe.

Thanks to Toni of Wifely Steps for inviting me to write for this round!
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