Sagada: Must Eats and Coffee

Eating in Sagada is an adventure of its own for there are a lot of establishments that offers various cuisines and even local organic foods. You can never go hungry in this town because everywhere you go there is always a table waiting for you.

A stay in any place will never be complete for me without trying out their local coffee, it has always been my obsession to try every kind of coffee there is. Sure enough, Sagada does not disappoint as there are various coffees that are offered in each and every restaurants and eateries, paired with their local cuisine and the perfectly delicious and healthy organic rice.

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Not our first stop, but Salt and Pepper will surely fill your thirst for coffee as they offer different varieties like a French Press with their homegrown Sagada Arabica coffee beans and Irish Coffee, and the usual Brewed Coffee just to name a few.

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It taste more like an Alamid Coffee but a little bit lighter, and not the usual bitter taste you’ll get from pure Alamid. Maybe because I think they added a small amount of sugar which I don’t usually use. After all, this is from a homegrown Sagada Arabica coffee beans from their plantation in Organic Highlands Coffee Farm.

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After the coffee, I ordered the Beef Tapa with Egg and Garlic Rice because I’m missing my favorite meal at Luna, back in Manila. Not what I expected to be crispy fried but it does stands out on its own. It has a lot of pepper and the egg is cooked just right with salt and nothing else.

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On our departure we stop over at Gaia, a small, comfy and rustic themed restaurant sitting on the edge of a hill just beside the road to Sumaguig Cave. They offer a variety of meals from pasta and noodles, soups like squash and sweet potato, rice meals like a vegetarian adobo, muffins and cookies made from banana, nut and honey. You must say healthy and organic foods are offered here.

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They also offer snacks and sandwiches but my eyes always gazes directly to hot drinks, looking for coffee. I ordered their Brewed Coffee with a sweet treat for just 50 pesos which taste just like the same Brewed Arabica Coffee you’ll get anywhere else in Sagada, but a bit unique as there is a paired sweet treats made from sugarcane molded like a bread, there’s also a muscovado sugar.

There are other native drinks and organic coffees as well, there are Soya and Rice Coffee, and Ginger, Turmeric, Lemon Grass, Tarragon Mint ‘which I have no idea, and Guyabano Tea. That’s a lot of hot drinks to try.

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This Hot Chocolate for instance is homemade from cacao tablea, cashew milk and muscovado sugar. A bitter sweet hot chocolate which is different from what you will usually get in Manila that lacks the taste of a natural cacao.

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Coffee without something to eat is too plain so we ordered a Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich made from whole wheat bread with sugar free peanut butter at the bottom and slices of banana and fruit jams to the top. It is properly layered and tastes so good. You’ll get the usual taste of peanut butter and the sweetness of fruit jam and banana in a wheat bread that is crunchy and with a lot of sesame seeds.

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You should also try their smoothies and shakes made from fresh fruit of the season. They were not very shake like but of course this is a cafe restaurant that offers healthy food so it might differ depending on your taste or what you really prefer. Muscovado is not really necessary but as I have said, it depends on your preference or taste, like Ricky who prefers it more sweeter than it already is.

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While on the road looking for a place to eat on our first day at Sagada, we tried out their local Binatog but this one is not the usual Binatog we have in Manila that only comes with salt and shredded coconut. Binatog in Sagada is also made of boiled white kernels with shredded coconut and something that makes it unique is the addition of evaporated milk. Not to sweet and not too salty and it gives a distinct taste because of the milk that the white kernels absorbed, plus it is always served hot.

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Our stop in Banaue going up to Sagada is welcomed with a sunny side egg and deep fried native longganisa with organic rice straight from the rice terraces paired with hot chocolate from a cacao powder. Enough just to keep you going and awake to continue the trip.

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Sagada and the nearby towns offers variety of food that are healthy, organic and usually fresh and served hot. You will never go hungry if someday you decided to settle and live the rest of your life here as long as you are hard working and knows your way around.

There are too many places to discover in this town, and I think a week is not enough and you surely need a month to fully enjoy and appreciate the local cuisine and the different drinks that they offer, specially the coffee knowing that they have their own coffee farm just within the vicinity. I will surely always consider this place if I want a time alone or just want to relax from the stress of work and life. Reconnecting with nature with healthy organic foods and coffee, is something that I always consider over other things.