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!


  1. Anonymous9:41 pm

    sarap talaga dyan di mainit

    mura gulay...kung pwede ba dyan na rin work e :(

    i'm planning to re-visit baguio for the nth time this year. will ask you for alternative places to visit like this oh my gulay place :)

  2. Uy napalipad ka tutubi! Ganda ng trip nyo sa Liliw! Yeah kung may work lang sa Baguio, dun na lang din ako.

    Uy kitakits tayo!

  3. vocas/oh my gulay is owned by kidlat tahimik. i like it there too. when we have some sort of poetry readings, that is the best place to hold it.

  4. Anonymous8:54 am

    what a great pang-pa-homesick post! it's good to see these types of places even in pictures...iba pa rin sa Pinas, huh!

  5. Anonymous1:34 pm

    ang dami pala talagang magagandang place dyan sa baguio! imagine, sa edad kong ito e hindi pa ako nakakarating dyan?? sad! di bale, ngayon alam ko na kung kanino ako manghihingi ng opinion kapag gusto kong umakyat ng baguio!! hehehe!

  6. Lei: It must be interesting to listen to one of the reading sessions. Sana ma-experience ko.

    Ces: Op cors!

    rho: naku hwag kang mag-alala. marami pa ring hindi nakakaakyat ng Baguio.

  7. Anonymous3:44 pm

    Wow! Look at all the fresh vegetables.

    Since early spring (March), the vegetables and fruits that we have been getting here in Winnipeg are of poor quality. That's because of the frost experienced by California. That's where we import our veggies and fruits. And as a result also, because of low supply, mahal din ang presyo. Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin gaanong maganda ang nabibili sa grocery stores.

  8. Anonymous4:52 pm

    Water cress in sardines- reminds me of mama's cooking when we were kids!
    Have not been to Oh My Gulay, though Cafe By the Ruins is one of my faves! Hay, nakakamiss naman ang Baguio... Di bale, 20(!!) years nalang, magreretire na ko dyan LOL

  9. Anonymous5:01 pm

    Lettuce pa lang dito parang ginto na.Kung ganyan ba kamura ang vegetables dito eh di sana ang yaman ko na sa sbd ko..hahaha!

    Regards to Tina.

  10. Anonymous6:35 pm

    Agree! No better place to veggie trip than Baguio!

  11. I've been to La Azotea, but never to that vegetarian restaurant. Will try it next time I go home. Thanks, Nick. :)

  12. Hi Watson. Before anything else, I like the changes in your template.

    Thanks for sharing your LP. It's been ages since I last went to Baguio but I remember buying lots of veggies to bring home to family and friends. I think it's great that you can buy so many cheap and good quality veggies.

  13. that's why whenever we are in baguio, i eat all the veggies that i can eat (and all the tomatoes hehe). even the veggies pizza in don henrico's di ko pinapatawad. medyo hassle nga lang pag-uwi ng manila kasi andami kong bitbit na gulay hehe. :)

  14. Anonymous9:03 pm

    Most, if not all my comments in blogsphere ends with "goodhealth". Of course, probably no one is paying attention to it.
    Growing up in Baguio, I was sorrounded by some fruits and mostly vegetables but I was a carnivorous. I resented my late parents forcing me to eat "gulays". Fast forward many, many years later, now it's the other way around. I even managed to eat "parya" and "tomatoes". Of course, to each his own, and I don't have to overemphasize the health benefits of these herbaceous plants. Parya I've heard is good for people with type 2 diabetes (don't seriously take my word on this). Once again, goodhealth to all. Sorry Nick, humaba yata ang istorya ko sa mga gulay natin, hehe....

  15. Hey Mr. Chowhound... Yup, still catching your posts; just nothing to say.... Except, keep eating.....and posting.

  16. hi watson -- pwede magcomment sa new look ng blog mo? it's too plain..balik mo na lang yung dati..

  17. Anonymous2:35 pm

    I'd like to see those places kasi, kasi.... like rho, I've never been to Baguio! Waaaahhhhh kainis!

  18. i love the food at "oh my gulay"!
    it's a must that you go there and eat when at baguio. the food is really affordable, yummy and the place is really nice.

  19. hey watson, i like your new template.
    turo mo naman ako saan mo kinuha at paano mo nailagay yong mga bagong features. luma na ang mga template sa blogger eh.

    off topic. sorry.
    para sa blogspot account ko.

  20. Anonymous2:33 pm

    Btw, contrary to some, hehe..think your new template is great! I can identity those two with sungays (horns), BUT let me just keep it to myself. Mademanda pa tayo. Alam ko alam mo rin yung dalawa...
    hmmm..mag-guessing contest kaya tayo..goodhealth again..

  21. Niceheart: kahit na hindi maganda ang product, dictated pa rin ng law of supply and demand ang presyo, ano? Believe it or not, early this year marami ring nasirang veggies sa Benguet due to frost!

    Chateau: Waaah ang tagal ng 20 years...

    Ann: Nasabi ko na sa misis ko regards mo :-) Booming yata ang SBD mo ah.

    Kaoko: Thanks for dropping by!

    Wil: who knows, we might see each other there!

    Rach: It was nice participating in LP again. Yeah, I also bring veggies as pasalubong. Iba talaga pag fresh galing Baguio.

    Zherwin: Veggie trip ito!

    Trublue: matanong nga sa misis ko kung ano yung parya...

    Phil: thanks!

    Princess Em: try ko muna ito... yung dati kong template kasi, medyo common...

    iska: Dalaw ka ng Baguio... if you need accommodations, sa Baguio Condotel.

    Macy: o ayan, you vouched na maganda sa OMG. Para hindi lang ako ang nag-recommend. hehe. Thanks for dropping by!

    Cathy: Sige dalaw ako sa blog mo mamaya and let you know.

    TruBlue: Thanks ha! I'm trying it out kung ok.

  22. hmm.. new look itich ha...

    it's nice! but i miss the old watson blog... i like!

    but this is something new...

  23. Anonymous2:07 am

    It's so gratifying to see vegetable market posts like this. My last experience with Pinoy veggies was at a market where I bought parsley, came home and found it full of tiny worms! Yikes! Mabuti naman nag-improve na (in leaps and bounds) ang veggie scene d'yan sa atin:D

  24. watson,

    sayang, ngayon ko lang na-discover ang blog mo (thanks to toni's OMG!)

    was up in baguio just this past tue-wed, would have loved to visit that OMG on Session!

    di bale, sa uulitin!

    maraming salamat mula sa isang nagnanais sanang mag-migrate sa baguio!

  25. Dessagirl: thanks ha

    Stef: hi stefoodie! Yikes bakit naman naging full of worms? Next time alugin mo yung gulay hehe

    Spanx: It would have been quite an experience at OMG. Hindi mo akalain na nasa Session Road ka pa rin. Yeah, next time do visit it!

  26. gosh, again, you made me miss Baguio! It's so true what you said about vegetables. They just taste better! Love the photos!

  27. Anonymous9:31 pm

    F.Y.I, camote ang subject ng Feasibility namin. We were able to create a product out of camote.

    Cafe By the Ruins is owned by my relative. I am a descendant of an old Baguio settler.

    Kidlat Tahimik who owns Oh My gulay is a de Guia, also old Baguio settlers. Gwapo anak nyang German (si Kawayan). He lives in the penthouse in La Azotea.


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