072312 - The Urban Tracker (In Baguio) : Downtown Marketsite Frontliners

Jack's Restaurant in Abanao St. - move over McDo and Jollibee

uch has been said and retold about one renowned food chain in Baguio. So instead of asking why, better find and experience myself why Jacks Restaurant is Baguio’s answer to novelty top-of-mind fastfood chain that is Jollibee or McDo and I found one in the side of Abanao.

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Facade of Baguio city hall
Earlier, we were inside the walls of Baguio city hall where we visited the City Engineer's office to get a map overview. Instead, the department gave us a Baguio city guide brochure that gave us more on thumbs on tourism spots of Baguio fitting for wayfarers or backpackers who's into exhaustive trip. When we decided to disappear among the alleys after crossing the street to Abanao district, that's the time we struck into one Jack's outlet - a building with a tarpaulin on the entrance. The restaurant, a stairway climb on the 2nd floor.

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Jack's signature combo dish -  affordable and sumptuous at 75.
We didn't expect a native themed restaurant starting from its carved wooden seats up to the hangings on the wall. Jack's outlets spread all over the city even in malls and unexpected spaces but similarly as cozy and comfy of a typical restaurant like this one. A lady took us to a sala format table with the menu already waiting for us. We automatically ordered the signature combo meal and the coffee. And thumbs up to Jack’s signature combo meal composed of chicken, pork, veggies, egg and rice, for reasonably 75 Pesos, the byword has become a testament that this is by far the most affordable yet delicious combo meal. Why there’s not a branch Manila? I guess freshness of vegetables of Baguio could be the answer.

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Abanao Square's electronic billboard, Baguio's centerfold.
After the meal, and few steps ahead, passing by Abanao square, Baguio’s version of Time Square was inevitably on our way. The centerpiece attraction is the electronic billboard suggesting you're going to extreme downtown part of the city. The sight of traffic, busy street scene was looming. The buildings are after all camouflaging as malls as passing into one of them makes you realize there are interconnecting walkways giving way to passerby to lead into another building or complex.

Freshness explodes in Zandico St. with flowers for sale.
Baguio is a haven of freshness of  flowers and a stall near Abanao Square going to Zandico St. gave me a dose of it. But nagging on my mind  were those Baguio vegetables. Souvenir hunters real test begins when one enters the nearby Maharlika Livelihood Center, the territory for souvenirs and handicrafts.

Baguio is a goldmine of fresh vegetables and fruits. It's cheaper by the dozen of course.
Behind further is Baguio's Public Market for the wet and dry section. Veggies are a goldmine to urban marketgoers. Brocollis, cabbages, lettuces, asparagus, carrots are sold here at comparably and cool lower prices and guaranteed fresh. The same goes with fruits like sagada oranges, apples. The deli sections are either the pasalubongs, like strawberry jams, peanut brittle, and elsewhere are the jewelries and Igorot woodcarvings.

Who's ready for Baguio's ukay ukay plethora?
Ukay-ukay (hand down apparels) are also waging a competitive and vigorous war here.  The ukay is ubiquitous in Baguio that a separate area is dedicated just for them. If not  in sacks, they are sold by piece that can even drop to 5 pesos a piece by twilight. Stuff toys, children wear, shoes, bedsheets, comforters, jackets - its all superabundance abounding here.

Move over Jollibee and NcDonald - here comes McDollibee
But this one eatery almost knocked me down to chuckles, The McDollibee. Perhaps the owner wanted to attract more attention or better yet sales by combining Jollibee and McDonald. It’s actually an ambulant street eatery stationed in the market selling grilled items like isaw (chicken innards).

A view from umbrella, restlessness despite the weather
This market never seemed to loose its sensation especially for those who really didn’t know what to look first. Chances are too close to get lost and disoriented in some unfamiliar alleys. Expect the minutes turn hours spent just looking around and finding what suits the taste. 
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