On christmas eve, at around 9 o’clock in the evening and after we have celebrated at home, I had this weird craving for callos. I remember trying it at Hill Station in one of my meetings and so I talked my wife into driving out that evening to find — callos. I was concerned that Hill Station might not be open that night considering that Filipinos usually close their businesses during the 25th of December but lo and behold…
I knew it, people these days dine out during Christmas instead of going through the hassle of preparation…
Hill Station was surprisingly full, I surmise these are tourists who came to my beloved Baguio City to celebrate Christmas with us. Since the dining hall was, let’s just say filled to capacity, we were fortunate to have 2 available seats at the farthest corner of the hall. We were ushered to sit in an area that is a little bit dark and so I was joking to my wife that we looked like an “aliping sagigilid”. I then requested to be transferred should there be a vacant table for 2. After a few minutes, here we are…
And so the quest for callos began…
Before we asked for the staff to take our order, I gave my wife a quick briefing and reminded her that we already ate at home and that she is full and that we were just there for the callos and not for anything else. I told her that we need to stick to the plan and focus on the goal and so she ended up ordering…
HOME MADE POTATO CHIPS w/ AIOLI.
But before we were served the golden HOMEMADE POTATO CHIPS w/ AIOLI, the staff brought us…
WHOLE WHEAT BREAD w/ DUKKAH and OLIVE OIL, let me show you a picture so you won’t think that I’ll be using the DUKKAH and the OLIVE OIL on my face because they sounded like they were lifted from a spa menu…
Let me show you how a “non-dukha” will eat the dukkah…
Kidding aside, after gobbling all the whole wheat bread, my most precious spanish callos is now served…
Know what, I did not only enjoy my food at Hill Station but I also learned some Baguio City trivia from their menu, here you go..
Trivia No. 1
From India to Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, little towns were carved out of the mountainside as places of rest and recreation. Baguio was one of the last hill stations to be established in Asia during the Americal colonial period in the Philippines.
A hill station is a town located at a higher elevation than the nearby plain or valley. The term was used mostly in colonial Asia, but also in Africa (albeit rarely), for towns founded by European colonial rulers as refuges from the summer heat, up where temperatures are cooler. In the Indian context most hill stations are at an altitude of approximately 1,000 to 2,500 metres (3,500 to 7,500 feet); very few are outside this range.
Trivia No. 2
When the American government in 1909 was building up Baguio City, the hired workers stayed in Casa Vallejo, then known as “Dormitory No. 4.” It had sawali partitions inside and was wood and galvanized iron on the outside.
Trivia No. 3
In 1928, Casa Vallejo was leased to Salvador Vallejo, a Spaniard who came with the Spanish army at the turn of the century, married here, never left. He renovated the building and opened Vallejo Hotel. Our small function room, perfect for meetings, is named after the founder.
Okay, let’s get back to work, here is the verdict on my Hill Station Experience:
PRICE: Well, it depends on your budget, if you are on “dukha mode” like me then the prices are a little bit high for your current financial situation. (lol) The resto’s market are from the middle class to the upper echelons. It is not a resto where you can eat everyday, otherwise you’ll end up selling your priced possessions just because you ate spanish callos.
LOCATION: They have 2 branches, the one where I had my Spanish Callos experience was at Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City – few steps away from SM Baguio. They also have another branch which is a thousand steps away from SM Baguio so you choose, but the address is – HILL STATION BISTRO, Ayala Land Technohub, Camp John Hay, Baguio City.
PARKING SPACE: They have a parking space behind Casa Vallejo but if they are full, you will end up parking by the road side and risk being issued a ticket by the Traffic Management Bureau which is also a few steps away from where your car is parked. But to give you peace of mind, I have not been issued a ticket even once just by parking along that area, but who knows, you will be the first one. 🙂
AMBIANCE: If you are in love, the place is romantic. I enjoyed being with my wife there. It was like valentines on a christmas eve. The environment is very stylish and sophisticated even if the place used to be a run down building, the owners were successful in reviving it to its present glory.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: I would say – excellent for that evening. Even if they were full, they’d take care of you as if you are their only guest. The staff obviously know how to work with grace under pressure.
Now, will I recommend this place? Because of their Spanish Callos – definitely, YES! This place is iconic here in Baguio City so if you are a tourist, try their Spanish Callos! Haha. I have yet to try the rest of the menu.
Until the next spoonful folks!
P.S. My wife felt like she can’t leave Hill Station without trying some of their desserts and so she ordered their New York Cheese Cake: