Café Yagam - Baguio City

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog

I have the craziest cold intolerance in the world. I could be wrapped up like a burrito but would still feel the chills in the night, on a very normal day, in Manila. So imagine me on a 13-degree night in Baguio City; cranky, depressed, grumpy. And then the warmth of Café Yagam embraced us as we settled on its fireplace. I was to ready to defrost.

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog

Café Yagam is that cozy, homey café that’s perfect for hanging out when you’re in Baguio. This quaint old house turned into a café was our rendezvous that night. We were having the perfect staycation at Le Monet Hotel inside Camp John Hay and wanted to hang out somewhere. Somebody suggested this café and so we went out to check it.

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog

Pinikpikan with Etag, Pinuneg, Binungor, Inanchila and Kiniwar. Lost in translation. The menu list written on a cardboard greeted the group as we headed the entryway.

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog

We all settled into the receiving area and felt at home right away with the chill ambience of the café. Low wood tables with low chairs, books lying around, the regulars sipping their coffee while enjoying the heat from the fireplace (real, hardcore, logs-on-fire fireplace), the smell of brewed coffee and the works; it was home indeed.

I lurched near the fireplace and defrosted for some time. One by one, I removed the layers of wraps that was sheltering me for quite some time and relished the moment of the warmth brought by the fireplace.

We were here for the legit Cordilleran food which is hard to find in Baguio nowadays. The gracious host (felt like my long lost aunt) offered some of the bestsellers in the house and everyone agreed to have Pinikpikan with Etag (200 Pesos) and Pinuneg (200 Pesos) that night.

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog

The group converged near the fireplace and chitchatted endlessly. Some were discussing their crazy itineraries for their next trip while others perused the books and travel magazines for their possible next destination; it really feels good to be with the perfect company with the same frames of mind.

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog

In no time, our food arrived and shutters were unstoppable. Everyone was giddy and thrilled to sample Café Yagam’s home-cooked meals.

Pinikpikan with Etag is a popular Cordilleran dish with very traditional roots. The pinikpikan (chicken stew) is similar to your old school Chicken Tinola with a twist. The native chicken is usually hit with a stick until the blood coagulates as it dies (it’s an old tradition, don’t get mad at me). The chicken is then put to an open fire so as to easily remove its feathers and then the stewing follows.

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog
Pinikpikan with etag
I’ve experienced the hardcore way of preparing it while I was in Sagada last year and the locals were very proud of their native dish. They even prepared it on an open fire (logs and stuff) in the middle of a vast yard while we’re moon-bathing. Native green leafy vegetables were added and the stewing continues. They added the Etag (salted cured meat) at the last part that gave a distinct flavor to the dish.

Everyone agreed that the pinikpikan was legit. There were first-timers in the group and they enjoyed it to bits. I was more into the etag and the broth. The cured meat enhanced the flavors of the dish. I couldn’t imagine pinikpikan without it.

Next was the pinuneg or the Cordilleran blood sausage. This is your good old sausage with a twist; minced pork and curdled pig’s blood (blood tofu or blood pudding in other terms). I generally don’t adore sausages like others do but this one has a unique pungent taste that was balanced off by the vinegar-based dip (with shallots and red chilli). Others raved about it, others were not a fan at all. It was actually a like it or hate it kinda dish.

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog
Nursing our happy tummies, we discussed about the current political situation and the poverty alleviation schemes of the government next. No, I was joking, we don’t discuss such things. We continued our endless talks about travels and stuff when the host offered some coffee and Cordilleran sweets; we couldn’t say no to.

And then someone mentioned coffee! The coffee preparation was very engaging. We were personally asked by the host on its three elements; strength (light, medium, strong), roast (light, medium, dark) and brew (paper drip, French press). I wanted my coffee to be strong, dark and… The host assisted me on the paper drip versus the French press issues. She expressed that the oil from the coffee can be lessen using the paper drip thus, giving it a smoother taste. While the French press maintains the coffee oil thus, giving it a robust taste (and I wanted that). Fact about me; did you know that I don’t put sugar on my coffee ‘coz I really wanna enjoy its purest, bitter state? Moving on…

Our coffee arrived with some surprises; Inanchila (Kalinga sticky rice with ladek) and Kiniwar (sticky rice, tagapulot and ladek). The attendant (in a very cute outfit) brought the treats on our tables and again, shutters were abused.

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog

Cafe Yagam Baguio Blog

I super looooved my coffee. This was the highlight of our food tripping at Café Yagam; that strong and bitter taste of the locally-grown coffee was just too perfect. The dessert and the coffee perfectly culminated our chill night in Baguio. And I was so ready to battle the chilly weather outside, or so I thought.

Café Yagam
25 J. Felipe St., Gibraltar, Baguio City
Contact Numbers: (+63) 921.256.5677 | (+63) 946.455.0364
Open Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily

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