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Dining within spectacular mountain surroundings

The chef is ready. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Imagine, having lunch or early dinner outdoors with your special someone. But not just an ordinary open air venue but one where you’re surrounded by spectacular mountains, crisp and cool air, with a waiter dressed in tux decanting wine while a chef in toque and all, whipping up your dish. An intimate activity sure to make it a memorable day. This in the great Cordilleras of Benguet.

Last January 2010, I was invited by the North Philippines Visitors Bureau to join a media tour of travel writers and bloggers to experience North Luzon for seven days starting in Cagayan province all the way to Pampanga to sample the various local cuisines and experience the attractions offered by the various provinces along the route.

Wine sir? CLICK TO ENLARGE

This is the premise and promise of what the Baguio Conventions and Visitors Bureau (BCVB) is whipping up to bring tourists back to the City of Pines and surrounding areas by introducing adventure packages and other activities. Ambuklao Dam tour, go karting and now, dining al fresco in the great Cordilleras are just some of these attractions.

Dining in spectacular natural surroundings is a novel and interesting idea, a unique offering that I’m sure will appeal to a specific group of people. Of course, like the karting I’ve blogged prior to this post, I also have some reservations.

The place that we were brought to doesn’t appeal so much or isn’t a romantic place in the beginning. Maybe, it was their way of showing us how it will be but it just doesn’t cut it. It was near a pebbly and rocky river and below the highway. If I would recommend, a high promontory giving the diners spectacular views of valleys, mountain ranges and mist covered pine forests would be great. There are lots of it along the road network in Benguet. Even the highest point in the Philippine road system gives a sweeping vista that’s just arresting.

Also, if they will eventually pursue this one, they should have well trained personnel able to handle the special demands of the place and activity. It is not enough to have a good idea but logistically, well stocked from the furnitures and other fixtures, to the food.

Be prepared to be in awe as you are surrounded by these beautiful mountains, a perfect background while enjoying one's food and company.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.