Seven hours in Baguio (Part 2): Asin woodcarvers village and Ben Cab Museum

BenCab Museum Facade (and me), taken in 2009

After visiting Bell Church in the outskirts of Baguio I went back to town proper aboard a jeepney. I got back to town at around 11:00 am and I made my way to the Pink Sisters Convent just in time for the 11:30am mass. Mass ended at around noon and naturally before heading out to my next destination I had lunch.  There are a lot of interesting places to have a meal in Baguio. The list is so long it would merit its own article. I had lunch at an eatery near Mabini St. called Cathy’s that offer huge servings of Filipino and Chinese dishes.

Following my lunch break, next stop for the day is the woodcarver’s village in Asin road.  The jeepney terminal going to Asin is located at Hilltop near Baguio City Market. If you wish, you can always choose to ride a taxi instead, which would probably cost you about 70 to 80 pesos (est.). About 20 minutes from town, Asin Road offers its visitors beautiful woodcarved products including life-size statues of Igorot hunters, chairs, tables, wine racks, tissue holders, bookends and other furnitures and decorative items. Asin’s long strip of artisan shops sell quality products, carefully made and intricately designed. It gives you a taste of the creative side of the locals, usually blending Cordilleran tradition with modern designs. Some carvers originally came from the province of Ifugao and migrated to Baguio City.

As an alternative to the usual ube and strawberry jam, you can take home with you some of Asin’s products for pasalubong. I didn’t get any pasalubong for anyone back home but I got something for myself (haha).

To cap the day’s (and the two-day weekend) trip, I planned to have some coffee at Cafe Sabel at Ben Cab Museum which conveniently is also along Asin Road. My first visit there was in 2009. The museum was newly opened then. There were a lot of different galleries featuring National Artist Benedicto Reyes Cabrera’s works and other artists’ that are for sale. Entrance fee was P100 but if you’re only going to the cafe, there’s no need to pay a fee. There’s a separate entrance at the right side, just ask the guard for assistance.

sabel
Welcome to Cafe Sabel
Sabel’s special menu for the day

When I got there, almost all seats were occupied and the remaining ones were already reserved. Yes, I didn’t have my coffee. So instead, I took photos of the place and just enjoyed the view, the sun and the cool wind before I head back to town.

green
Ben Cab’s picturesque garden and vegetable farm

It was around 3 pm when I reached town. I had to do my last minute shopping for pasalubong at the market. I bought ube, strawberry jam and some vegetables. As I write this I can’t help but laugh at myself because after saying that products from Asin are best for pasalubong, there I was buying strawberry jam to bring home. I promise to get woodcarved products for pasalubong in my next visit.

It was Sunday and there’s work waiting for me the next morning. As planned, at 4pm, I was already on board a Victory Liner bus bound for Manila. Indeed it was a very short trip, one that I’d be willing to do over again whenever I get the chance.

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