Baguio has always been one of my family’s favourite vacation destinations during my childhood years. I’ve always considered Baguio as one of my second homes because there is something about the city and its elements that make me feel very much at home. Last month’s trip led me to discover PNKY Travel Café, a café and artsy lifestyle shop guaranteed to make you feel right at home.
The woman behind the concept of PNKY is Pynky Gomez-Magsino. Growing up in Baguio led her to become fascinated with the Cordillera culture, which is what jumpstarted her personal collection of antiques. Now that is has crossed its thirty-year mark, the PNKY brand had expanded to include a bed and breakfast with a travel café that serves customers the best and the finest local Baguio produce has to offer. Since April of this year, the bed and breakfast concept has been scrapped to introduce the bioessence spa, another of Gomez-Magsino’s ideas.
The travel café and its delicious food, however, will always be there for its patrons.
PNKY Travel Café is set on serving guests comfort food prepared in fresh and familiar ways. The café was actually a brainchild of my friends, Luis and Sammy, and their older sisters, Aischa and Liana. What I love about the interior of the café is that it shows the Magsino family’s love for travel. My friends are fond of expressing themselves through graphic art and photography, and some of their works have been incorporated into the décor of the café.
During my visit, I was able to sample a few of their best-selling dishes. The El Secreto Salad and La Tomatina Soup (P245) were served together, making a refreshing, healthy starter course. Tomato lovers (like me!) will definitely fall in love with this fresh tomato soup served with whole chunks, parmesan cheese and various herbs. The salad, on the other hand, was a spectacle in this case because Baguio produce is always so crisp and fresh. It is a fine bed of organic greens and various fresh vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and tomatoes among others, garnished with the café’s secret salad dressing.
El Secreto Salad
Our main course was the Beef a la Seine (P260). Baguio’s famous strawberries come into play quite often when it comes to their dishes, so I was delighted to see whole strawberries served with a beef dish. Aside from the strawberries, it is also sautéed with mushrooms and red pepper, creating a unique medley of mixed flavours. To add to that organic feel, the meal is tastefully served with wild rice and vegetables.
Beef a la Seine
For dessert, we had the Crepe de la Crepe (P210), a purple crepe stuffed with another Baguio staple, PNKY’s homemade ube jam, coconut and cream. It is one of the most unique crepes that I have ever tried as crepes here in Manila don’t exactly come in purple. It is lightly sweet and rather delicate in terms of texture, making it a perfect dessert to accompany your café meal. If you can’t get enough of the ube, their special Chunky Ube Jam retails at P240 per bottle. I was also able to try the Strawberry Slush (P120), an honest-to-goodness strawberry shake with all-natural flavours.
Crepe de la Crepe
Chunky Ube Jam
The art that is incorporated into the PNKY Travel Café concept is one of the reasons that I am attracted to it, but what draws me more is that it comes with a family’s story. Every nook and cranny of the travel café says something about the Magsino family. The café speaks of their warmth and their zest for life, as snippets of their hobbies and knickknacks from their travels can be found just about anywhere. This feature served as a bit of a personal experience for me because it allowed me a further glimpse into the life of a family that I have quickly grown so fond of.
Photos by Katrina Langomez.