How I broke a relationship that never was

adobo solibao

How do you say goodbye to a stranger? 

On the fourth day the sky finally had its fill of empathy for this broken heart. The seemingly eternal downpour dissipated into a morning mist while the golden rays of Mr. Sun broke through the clouds. It was a promising Sunday after days of cold and dampness.

You and I stepped out from the ‘upstairs’   to celebrate the beautiful day. We strolled and found ourselves in the warmth of Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral. When mass has been offered, we joyfully traced the descending stairs I took alone trying to find myself in the rain the day before. Silence was a commodity we both enjoyed in this journey…lost in our own thoughts…

We reached the landing and you knew where we were going…I, on the other hand was still lost in my reverie…wondering if these moments will ever have to end. You dragged me in the reality and pulled me into the warmth and aroma of a treat called ‘breakfast’. We were inside Solibao Restaurant along Session Road where we had an authentic Ilocos empanada the day before.

We’ve been sharing meals since we met and clicked. We shared music and our thoughts on politics, Ant-Man and that birthday breakfast at Tsokolateria. In Solibao however, like an omen, we had our own separate meal. You had your Baguio longanisa and I had my chicken-pork adobo. 


adobo solibao


As loud as the omen of separate meals, we ate in silence. We were consumed by our thoughts. There was a quiet battle in the heart that threatens to explode and leave us broken. It felt like a time bomb…I took a deep breath, downed the bitter potion and smiled fighting that urge to detonate.

Back ‘upstairs‘ we gave ourselves that much needed space. I stayed in bed while you stepped out. I was at a blank, staring at your bunk, wondering the what-ifs. Then I was reminded that what we have will never bloom no matter how we nurture it with memories to smile at. A stranger who unknowingly tried to fix the broken…but could only ease the pain. A  stranger who could not mend this broken heart…but thank your for trying…

I came broken looking for some reprieve

In solitude I was hoping to fix my soul

Instead, I stumbled upon a heart,

a heart good enough to pick my broken pieces…

but not big enough to mend it

With a pang of sadness, I took a shower and packed my bag. I wasn’t ready to go. I still had a day left to stay. But I was a bomb waiting to explode. I didn’t want you to be a casualty of the mess that I was. Your words were hopeful but I can only give a hollow promise of return…before my eyes become glassy and betray me, I stepped out of the room, checked out and started the long journey to the bus station…

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How my Birthday started at Tsokolateria

menu tsokolateria

It’s been almost a month now…

Just when the celebratory mood for my birthday started to go down the drain with the seemingly unending shower in Baguio City last July, I began to see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Actually, it’s more of a pot of chocolates!

Tsokolateria is a small al fresco dining on the famed Igorot Stairs along Leonard Wood Road. The artisanal cafe is part of the bigger chain of restaurants from Happy Concepts where Barrio Fiesta belongs.

The nipping cold woke my rather lethargic self. I was feeling cold and rolled in a ball on my bed staring at the door thinking “happy birthday!…what now?” And as always, when my mind was about to escape reality, you come barging in with that unwavering smile. You asked if I wanna have some breakfast. And there I was, bedazzled. I asked for a couple of minutes to wash away the stains of the cold evening.

Surprise! You took me upstairs. Just a couple of steps up where we were staying. It’s almost mid-day yet the sun refused to smile. Then we were in for another surprise! Tsokolateria doesn’t open until 10 AM! It didn’t dampen the already sour birthday morning…so we wait. I don’t smoke…you don’t either, and that little nook we were sitting on was way too perfect for a morning puff!

menu tsokolateria

The al fresco nook was just perfect! Artisanal Cafe it was called because they only serve hand-made kitchen creations of high quality ingredients. Eveything in that quaint cafe is, for the lack of a better word, cute…from the space it occupies down to the serving trays! One thing to note when you ask for the menu is that it is heavy! It’s a compilation of laminated sheets where the menu is printed. What made it heavy yet adorable was the woodworks! It is held by a wood block with that instrument you typically use to make/stir the perfect hot choco!

The menu has chocolates written all over you’d think it’s a dessert haven. It was a surprise that they actually serve real meals. The catch? Savory as they were, all meals did not escape the cacao invasion!  Since we were the first customer of the day (we literally opened shop), savory brekky had to wait.

For starters we had an interesting irony – The Frozen Hot Tsoko.

Tsokolateria - frozen hot tsoko

Frozen Hot Tsoko is a pot of hot hand-crafted cocoa and vanilla ice cream. So how do you consume an irony? Well, you take that scoop of cold vanilla ice cream in that small cup and pour over the hot cocoa, then you use that cute stirrer that comes along with the cups! The smoothness of the cold vanilla ice cream complements the bitter-sweet bite of that hot cocoa. Deliciously interesting for the irony of a couple that we were. The damage for this morning potion was P 200.

While we were savoring the ironic starter, they were prepping our breakfast…err…brunch.

bacon pork belly - tsokolateria - baguio

So you can’t really escape the cacao fever here. Our breakfast was one of their “all time fave” – Bacon Lechon Kawali Cebu Style & Cacao Nibs. The Menu described it as “Tanglad (lemon grass) marinated, bacon cut liempo (pork loin) cooked in peppercorns, bay leaf and cacao nibs”(and there’s that nagging bit that say’s I may be savory but I can be chocolatey)

The dish was served with native garlic mountain rice, Pinoy salsa, native orange yolk omelet and sinamak and cacao nibs.

Dissecting breakfast was what we did. We devoured whatever the pots, pans and plates have to offer while having some candid convo on the merits and demerits of our chosen meal. The native garlic mountain rice was served in a terracotta pot. It was native and therefore it has that unrefined taste. It was grainy yet flavorful and filling. The earthy flavor was teased by the mix of savory lechon kawali, spicy sinamak and the freshness of tomatoes and greens. So much for the famed mountain rice! The star of the meal was the bacon cut pork loin that was pan fried to perfection! It was as crispy as pork crackling minus the oozing fats. Crispy made tender by the mild kick from the sinamak with cocoa nibs. The total damage for this satisfying breakfast was P 250.

The bill came as a surprise (err…how many times have I used this word!)! How can you resist paying. I even asked if I can keep it!

tsokolateria bill tray

Everything became interesting that morning…even the rain! It was a bit forgiving that allowed me to wander a bit on Session Road.

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