Once upon a time, there was an enchanted mountain. And on top of that enchanted mountain is a big rock. And on top of that big rock is a cafe where all their staff were polite and courteous. And the food that they serve are all fresh and glorious. Well enough of that story. You might start to think that I’m only telling you a fairy tale. Well, the good news is I’m not.
Cafe Bodega had their soft opening in 2005 and been cooking good food in their kitchen ever since. I should tell you, when I first heard of them, I was actually skeptical and thought that the place was purely overrated. Until I’ve made my first visit. I got really excited when we received our invitation from Wanda, who is the owner/manager of the place. We immediately set a date for our visit.
Going to Cafe Bodega was quite an adventure really. The road that leads to the place was not yet developed and to be honesty, it was a really shaky ride. Me and my friend were already getting out of our car on the parking lot, still wondering what’s so special about this place. “This better be good,” I’ve told myself. The moment we stepped infront of the entrance, my eyes went big. The front door was all covered with vines and yellow and red flowers called Lady’s Shoes. It was like a scene from the movie The Secret Garden. Suddenly, I felt like a kid getting all excited to open up a nicely wrapped present. I had to rip it open; I had to go in.
We came thru the door with my eyes still wondering around. We were immediately welcomed by their very polite staff. They gave us the biggest smiles we’ve seen in Sagada. I really can’t help but notice the floor. They’ve used red cement and nicely accented it with pasted chunks of pinewood. Quite original. A small souvenir booth was placed in the left and antique displays were placed on the right. When I looked up, my eyes immediately saw their locally made chandeliers. They’re made out of Rattan and Capiz Shells They were strikingly stunning and beautiful. Their dining area was really huge with a seating capacity of 85 people. The ceiling which was covered in Sawali was incredibly high which made me feel like a Hobbit in a fantasy land. The walls were made out of Runo and Pinewood. Whoever thought of this was brilliant. Later that day, I found out that it was David Baradas who designed the interior of the place, who happened to be the curator of the Malacañang Palace during the Marcos regime. Their bathroom was the cleanest and the best one I’ve seen in Sagada. It looks like those bathrooms in good hotels and malls in Manila.
We were ushered to our seats and our very good friend Wanda came rushing out of the kitchen. She was very kind and very accommodating. We requested to her for us to be seated at the portico where there’s fresh air and warm sunlight. Wanda told us that Rock Inn and Cafe started as a farm in 1995. Their parents purchased the 7-hectare property from the Yamashitas and added more a few years after. It had 1800 trees with 7 varieties. An inn was later added with 18 big rooms and very wide hallways. We never wasted a minute and they started serving us our food.
Poached Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce and Buttered Vegetable – Very flavorful dish finished with thick mushroom cream sauce. The vegetables still looked very bright and fresh even after we let it sit for 20 minutes. Less oil or fat was used or probably zero oil or fat, yet the end result was a very succulent, flavorful low-fat chicken dish.
Roasted Rosemary Chicken with Pepper Corn Sauce and Mashed Potato – Very nice presentation with a scrumptious smell. Some people may find the gravy to be a little too much but it’s how I exactly like it. The gravy’s a little salty but it fit perfectly with the mashed potato. Vegetables looked so lively, cooked just right.
Carbona with Chicken Piccata and Buttered Vegetable – It’s my friend’s favorite. He liked the creamy texture of the Carbonara. The Chicken Piccata was just seasoned right and perfectly complimented with real tomato sauce. I could tell that the tomatoes used for this dish were fresh because I could taste the small chunks of them.
Jungle Pack Sandwich with Home Fries – A very healthy yet light snacks. It has eggs, cucumber, tomato, ham, and a very special sauce that only Cafe Bodega offers. It comes with ketchup and mayonnaise. Light on your pocket, heavy on your stomach. The wooden tray makes it even look more appetizing.
Full House Yogurt – The name of the dessert speaks for itself. It has pretty much everything nice in it. It has chunks of mango, granola, banana, blueberry, cherry, and homemade yogurt. Just when I thought that I’ve had the best yogurt in Sagada, eating yogurt at Cafe Bodega had never been this exciting before. This is a must-try for every one visiting Sagada.
Rock Inn and Cafe does not only offer the freshest and the most bountiful foods in Sagada. They also offer the cleanest and the most comfortable rooms, the sweetest oranges, the biggest Dap-ay, and the warmest service. I really liked the idea that they discourage putting televisions in their rooms because they want their guests to go out and explore Sagada. I encourage every tourist to try to visit the Cordilleras at least once in his/her life.
Other must-trys: Also try their Chicken Reds, Homemade Cherry Choco Ice Cream, and Blueberry Graham. Special thanks to Chef Tracy, Chef Gao and Boss Bang for a very lovely meal. Check their website by clicking here. Cafe Bodega is located at Rock Inn and Cafe, Batalao, Sagada, Mountain Province. They’re open from Mondays to Sundays, 6am until 9pm.