Last July, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a Baguio trip with some friends. For some reason, the first place we decided to eat was in Cafe by the Ruins. We’d all never been there so it was pretty perfect. It was around merienda time when we went and it was virtually empty. We were wondering why it was called Cafe by the Ruins. At first we were like, “Where are the ruins?” First we thought it was the Stonehenge-esque arrangement of Igorot boulder chairs out back. It wasn’t until we saw a concrete wall with the steel support sticking out that we had our “Aha!” moment.
To this day, I didn’t actually know what the ruins were of until I did a quick Google search and stumbled across their official website. “The ruins we claim are the remains of the gracious home of Phelps Whitmarsh, the first governor of Baguio. the house was built very early in the last century and destroyed in World War II.” Anyway, on to the food!
Cafe by the Ruins is proud of the fact they use and serve local and natural ingredients of the region. Baguio and the northern provinces are known for their produce and coffee among other things. This excited me further. It was chilly when we were there so the lot of us ordered cups of hot chocolate. Rizal’s Tsokolate-e (P140) is made from fresh carabao milk and tablea chocolate. Mmm. This was black with tablea chunks in it. It’s different from the conventional chocolate that most of us are used to but it certainly was good, there’s a sort of semi-sweet, semi-bitter taste that comes with drinking this. Really good in my opinion. If you’re feeling thrifty, you can skip the order and just buy a box of 10 Tablea tablets at the counter for P200 bucks and make them at home. That’s what I ended up doing too!
My friend mentioned that the friend of hers who recommended the place spoke wonders about their Longanissang Hubad (P245). It was the middle of the afternoon and we had just gotten there so pretty much starved, I decided to order this. Mmm, look at that pile of red mountain rice. The rice was delicious and had such a rich texture. I stand by the fact that this is the best rice I’ve had in my life. Usually when you get red rice from the grocery, it has the tendency to flower up, look unappealing and taste different. This red mountain rice was something else. The longanissa on the other hand, was just alright. It was regularly salty, peppery but also kind of tough which is why I didn’t enjoy it so much.
This is their Pancit Molo (P140). I give it failing marks for presentation. They could’ve at least wiped the edges of the bowl before serving. My friend ordered this and although I cant say it looks appetizing, she seemed to be very happy with it. I tried some of the soup and it was rich!
My two skinny friends ordered their Bibingcakes (P180) and split. I’m not particularly fond of Bibingka so it would be wrong for me to judge this. They didn’t seem too happy about this though and noted that it tasted rather “bready”.
Verdict: Have hot chocolate there and take home boxes of Tablea primarily for the ambiance and maybe take your chances ordering things we did not order.
Cafe by the Ruins
25 Shuntug Road, Baguio City 2600, Philippines
+74 442 4010
Open Daily 7am-9pm