The Sagada Saga: Food Trip Edition

While traveling to Sagada is no quick and easy journey, the good news is, at the end of 12 hours of long and winding roads,  the town welcomes you with some delightful culinary offerings. In short, everywhere we ate, the food was good. Healthy, too. Most meals come with generous servings of fresh vegetables. ("Yuck." --Eliel)

Before arrival, we were already warned that food preparation in most of the establishments usually take quite a while. We found this to be true, and we especially felt it when we enter a restaurant already hungry and wanting instant food.

To make up for the prep time, they present their meals beautifully. The instant reaction of everyone (on our table at least) was to whip out their cameras and take photos. We endured another hungry minute or two for food pictorials, as evident in the photos below.


On arrival, we headed straight to the Salt and Pepper Diner. We ordered our food and then walked to the Residential Lodge to check in and freshen up. True to warning, our food still wasn't ready when we got back and we had to wait a little bit longer (about an hour in total -- see tired photo of Jessa, Ria and myself below). We were such a big group having lunch and the restaurant was packed, so we totally understood.

Most meals are at Php 150 with rice and Php 180 with baby potatoes. I got the Classic Inutom which basically is salt and pepper chicken. The chicken was cooked well and was super tender. I'm no food critic, but I think it's one of the best fried chicken dishes I've tasted. I would probably order the baby potatoes on the side the next time I get to visit. 

After an afternoon of spelunking at the Sumaguing Cave, we badly needed to eat and refuel. The other group who did the cave connection (Sumaguing+Lumiang Caves) still weren't back from their adventure, so we decided to eat dinner without them. Not that we didn't want to eat with them, we were getting hungry and just wanted to eat already.hihi 

We walked the streets and found the famous Yoghurt House. Again, we received big servings of food with vegetables. Everyone was happy with their food, but I think McBeau was the happiest with her Spicy Chicken Curry. Couldn't stop raving about it. :) Eliel really enjoyed his Java Chicken as well.

It would be a sin not to order some yoghurt at the Yoghurt House, so we did. I especially LOVED my strawberry-banana yoghurt. I loved it so much that I ate it before I ate my dinner (which I barely finished because I was too full from the yoghurt.haha) I promised to drop by for more yoghurt in the coming days. Unfortunately, I never did get the chance.

Meals are kind of pricey, at around Php 200. My yoghurt was at Php 85.

What's nice about staying at the Residential Lodge is that all the guests are free to use the kitchen for free. After splurging the previous day, we decided to make use of the lodge's facilities and cook some Lucky Me pancit canton. The best instant canton in the world, it never gets old. Calamansi+Extra Spicy. We bought some pan de sal to go with the canton. Our carbo-loaded breakfast prepared us for our trek to Pongas Falls.

It was already mid-afternoon when we returned from Pongas Falls, so we headed staight to Gaia Vegetarian Restaurant for a very late lunch. At first, "vegetarian restaurant" seemed intimidating. But to our surprise, we really enjoyed the food. 

It was freezing cold with a bit of rain when we arrived there, so we all ordered some warm drinks. Well, almost all of us. McBeau and Gjerico gave in to Gaia's yummy soy avocado smoothie.

While waiting for our food, we enjoyed the scenic view overlooking some rice terraces. They also have a mini library wherein you can grab a few books to read while waiting. 

I really liked the vegan french toast I ordered (no eggs were used!), while Eliel and his anti-vegetable self seemed to enjoy the tomato pasta. Jessa's shitake mushroom carbonara was also good. Ria had some adobo made of vegetarian meat (just like real meat) with some healthy unpolished rice. Everyone was happy, but we all agree that the camote fries with a tinge of dayap was the winner.

Gaia is also home to a friendly dog named Isis who kept us company during our visit. She is quite the charmer and I think Gjerico gave in and gave her some leftovers.haha

Food prices go from Php 85 (french toast) to about Php 135 (pasta dishes).

For dinner, our travel host/guide, Dexter of Anywhere Philippines, asked the lodge to prepare for us the local specialty, pinikpikan.

As per Wikipedia, 

Pinikpikan is a dish from the mountains of the Cordillera region in the Philippines. It is prepared by beating a live chicken with a stick prior to cooking. The beating bruises the chicken's flesh, bringing blood to its surface, which is said to improve the flavour after cooking.

Not very nice, right? Sorry PETA =/ It is a local specialty though, so it would be a shame not to at least try it.The pinikpikan was served with some pork and soup, with steamed paco (hey there, new veggie. nice to meet you...) on the side. 

We all contributed Php 100 for our native dinner.

We ate our last meal in Sagada at the Strawberry Cafe, right behind our lodge. Mmm, breakfast. You will forever be my favorite meal.

We ordered classics like bacon and eggs, ham and cheese omelettes and chicken mami. And then we decided we wanted some pancakes and crepes, too. Yumyum. The blueberries they served us were fresh. :D

Meals are at Php 100.

On our way back to Manila, we made a quick stopover near Baguio and had lunch at the Strawberry Farm. Technically, this shouldn't be part of the Sagada Food Trip blog, but where else would I post the photos we took? Haha!

Food was so-so.

To complete the strawberry farm experience, there's nothing better than some strawberry taho. The manongs were very persistent and they kept saying that we should try it, "Pang Facebook, pang Twitter po Ma'am." Okaaaay. =p

It's your basic taho, but with strawberry syrup. Great for strawberry lovers!

So there. I would definitely go back to Sagada if just for the food. Good food, plus cool weather and such beautiful works of nature, what a combination. We missed The Lemon Pie House, but hey, at least we got somewhere to go the next time we visit! ;)

Photos by Eliel Sarmiento, McBeau Babaan and Ria Geromo.


Read about the rest of our Sagada Saga here:
Food Trip
Stopover at the Banaue Rice Terraces
Spelunking at Sumaguing Cave
Power Trekking to Pongas Falls
Hanging out with the Hanging Coffins at Echo Valley