1 Gaia Cafe and Crafts
This cafe uses only fresh ingredients, sourced locally. Order their delicious tomato and basil pasta (P165) and if you have room for it, the hot chocolate drink.
A bonus: The cafe has a souvenir shop, selling local products such as hand-woven bags, colorful camera straps, beaded jewelry, and printed shirts, mostly made by artist friends of shop owner Gawani Domingo Gaongen.
Visit Gaia Cafe and Crafts at Ambasing, Sagada, +63949 137 6777, +63915 727 6831.
2 Sagada Cellar Door
This cellar serves local and imported wine. It also has a brewery and outdoor bar serving local beer. Try the craft beer samplers for P50 each or all five flavors for P250. A personal favorite is the coffee stout, a dark brew with strong coffee notes.
A bonus: The fire pit just in front of their outdoor bar is a cozy spot to spend the cold Sagada nights. Bring marshmallows to toast or simply order a plate of Sagada Cellar Door's tasty sausages. The cellar's owner also serves local Cordillera dishes - if you order 12 hours in advance - like pinikpikan chicken, a chicken stew that requires an unusual way of preparing the chicken. A live chicken is used and beaten to death with a stick, drawing blood, a method locals believe makes the chicken more flavorful. French chef Aklay who has made Sagada his home can be booked five days in advance for a special buffet meal for groups (minimum 15 people). He does not disclose his menu and will instead surprise diners by whipping up dishes based on ingredients in season.
Visit Sagada Cellar Door at Lallalai, Poblacion, Sagada, +63917 554 1345. Owner also recommends reaching them through Facebook.
3 Café Bodega
The place for homemade yoghurt. Order the Full House Yoghurt, topped with a generous heap of granola, bananas, mangoes and other fruits.
A bonus: The cafe is quite near Kiltepan Peak, so it's a convenient breakfast stop for mountain climbers coming back down from watching the sunrise from the peak. Behind Café Bodega is Rock Inn's orange orchard, which, for a fee, offers visitors the chance to pick and eat oranges on site.
Café Bodega, Rock Inn Farm property at Staunton Road, Sagada, tel +63920 909 5899.
4 Sagada Coop Canteen
Best for lemon meringue pie said to be the best in Sagada.
A bonus: For those who don't like lemon pie, there are other equally tasty pastries, from banana cake, carrot cake, custard pie to chocolate cake.
Visit the Sagada Coop Canteen along South Road, just outside the Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
5 Misty Lodge and Cafe
Best place for pizzas straight from the oven. Try the Margherita and the Trio Formaggio.
A bonus: Not in the mood for pizza? Misty's all-day selection includes roast chicken, silog (rice and egg) breakfast meals and more.
Visit Misty Lodge and Cafe along South Road, Sagada, +63926 123 5186.
—By Celia Nachura
Published January 2017