Friday, August 16, 2019

Bontoc Bed and Bistro: Finding Bits and Pieces of Home in the Highlands

Getting some work done by the window come breakfast time
The place wasn't open yet the last time I was in Bontoc, about 3-4 months ago.  The signage of Bontoc Bed and Bistro, however, caught my eye as it was just several steps away from the GL Lizardo station.  Coming to Maligcong on the cusp of a long weekend, I made it a point to avoid the crowd at the bus stations for the return trip home so I chalked up checking out the new establishment even just for an overnight stay well after the Eid holiday.  It turned out to be a godsend as I was able to catch up on sleep (I'm an insomniac) before boarding the GL Lizardo bus on the way back to Baguio enroute to Manila, a trip which took almost eight hours due to landslides and road slippages most notably in Buguias and Atok.

Friends who've seen the iPhone pictures I snapped of the place and posted in FB were, I think, pleasantly surprised.  The bedroom, for one, wouldn't look out of place in a Manila setting.  That there's an adjacent bistro makes it even more an inviting proposition (you can stay in all day and never go hungry without stepping out to get chow).  Even if you're not planning to stay in Bontoc or is just passing through, the Bed and Bistro makes you entertain thoughts of extending your stay or make a stopover enroute to either Maligcong or Mainit, or further away to Banaue or Natonin, maybe even Buscalan, Kalinga or Tabuk

Roomy and airy
ROOM TO MOVE.  I got billeted in Room E on the third level with a curtained and draped floor to ceiling window looking out to a coffee shop and a gas station.  The spacious room is fitted with a split type air-conditioner, a rather uncommon luxury in these parts but considering that the Bontoc poblacion is hotter than the barangays located up in the mountains (like Maligcong, Mainit, Guina-ang), or nearby Sagada (just under an hour of travel away) it makes perfect sense.   The air-conditioning as well as the drapes muffle the noise of vehicular traffic and nearby bars -- much appreciated if you're trying to catch up on sleep.  The pillows are plump, the bed firm and supportive and the sheets warm and well-appreciated especially in the wee hours of the morning.

WORKSPACE, STORAGE SPACE & GETTING PLUGGED IN.   I work mostly online so having a work table for my laptop and notes that doubles as a mini-bar is a nice touch.  Suggestion: a pendant lamp or small work light would be appreciated.  I counted eight electrical outlets scattered around the room so charging all your devices all at once wouldn't be much of a problem.  An open cabinet with three levels of shelves made easy work of organizing all the contents of my Condor tactical backpack (Manfrotto tripod, Eagle creek cubes of clothes, cables, flipflops, books, Wildo mess kit and Nalgene water bottle).
Spacious toilet and bath
TOILET & BATH.  Really spacious t&b with a glass-enclosed shower area and more shelves.  A bidet-looking spray nozzle attached to the faucet makes cleaning your feet muddied up from hiking easy and less messy, that is, if the water pressure is enough to pump in the agua.  Yes, there's a water heater though water pressure is a wee bit weak in the poblacion (hence the presence of the pail and dipper in the picture of the t&b above).  Maybe ask for a pail of hot water from reception if need be.   The towel is plusher than in most inns while the complimentary shampoo is rather good in a mild and non-irritating way.  The T&B could use a bit more accent pieces (told the owner as much) and more importantly, the requisite non-slip mats to safely navigate the rather distant spaces between shower stall and toilet bowl, washing sink and bedroom.
Warmly-lit lounge area is homey
WARM RECEPTION.  Just outside the room and serving as the buffer/passage way to the bistro is the lobby though I think it's more apt to call it as an anteroom or guest's lounge.  There are sofas inviting one to laze around.  Otherwise, it could serve as a cozy and homey venue for meeting friends who are passing by, maybe share coffee and dessert with a bit more privacy than meeting up in the bistro.

GOOD EATS IN-HOUSE.  As I would be writing a separate post on the bistro in Happyfoodies.com, I would keep my description here short and sweet.   The coffee is rather fair, the craft beers (Sagada craft beer and from the tap, no less) better.    My friends and I had the 3-Cheese Pizza, Buffalo Wings, and Pork Texas to go with coffee and craft beer the first time we had a taste test; later, I would have the Daing na Bangus with Spam and Sunny-Side Up Egg for breakfast.

ACCESSIBILITY.  Bontoc Bed and Bistro is located about 4-5 buildings away from the GL Lizardo bus station and very near the public market.  I buy fresh fruits and kakanin from stalls just across the street, my other supplies and medicines from Archog just a 3-5 minute walk away.  Ditto my favorite lechon kawali from Drop By restaurant.  The gist being, if you prefer to eat out, it's easy enough to do so even during this rainy season.

RATES.  Off-peak/Rainy Season Rates are as follows: 
Twin Deluxe (two twin beds, private t&b, air conditioning) for 2 pax - P2,000 (inclusive of breakfast)
Double Deluxe (one double bed, private t&b, air conditioning) for 2 pax - P2,000 (inclusive of breakfast)
Triple Sharing (three twin beds, shared t&b) for 3 pax - P2,500 
Twin Standard (two single beds) for 2 pax - P1,500
Double Standard (one double bed) for 2 pax - P1,500
Triple Sharing Standard Room (three single beds, shared t&b, fan) for 3 pax - P1,200
Family Room for 6-8 pax - P4,000

For more information or to book your reservations, visit https://www.facebook.com/pmabontocbAndBistro2019/

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