Mt. Kalugong Kape-an/Cafe, a Coffee Shop that Requires a Hike

Would you hike for a cup of coffee, a slice of pastry, or even both? Yes, yes, yes? Then Mt. Kalugong Kape-an/Cafe, situated in the Mt. Kalugong Eco Park in La Trinidad, Benguet, should be on your list.

While it has been operating since January 28, 2017, the coffee shop is still not that popular, IMO, to coffee lovers and coffeeholics alike. My friends Vane and Andrea, who definitely love coffee, didn't hear about this shop yet.

Perhaps because Mt. Kalugong Kape-an/Cafe is located on a mountain and requires patrons to exert some sweat to be able to savor its parties and drinks. And while some travel bloggers have posted about this already, it is not that hyped on social media as well. On Instagram alone, about less than a hundred users have checked in using its geotag. So why then? Are reviews not convincing? Or is it because it's not worth the hike? Continue reading to find out.

Getting there and the short hike

A day after attending our friend's wedding, Vane, Andrea, and I still had ample time to explore the city of Baguio. Everyone has explored/visited the top attractions in the city before, so I had to look for other spots they haven't gone to yet. We have agreed to visit two spots in La Trinidad, namely Colors of Stobosa and Mt. Kalugong Kape-an/Cafe. Convinced them to visit the latter as, according to an officemate, its coffee and carrot cake taste great.

My not so happy friends. haha!

We then booked a Grab ride after stopping over and taking some snaps at the Colors of StoBoSa, officially designated as the StoBoSa Hillside Homes Artwork. The app estimated the cost at about Php 190, but after we boarded the cab, the driver asked us to pay Php 350 because he said that that's the normal rate drivers charge for passengers heading to the cafe. Why? Because the road leading to the cafe is slope. Without further questions, we agreed.

The road leading to the cafe was slope, so we murmured, "ah tama lang pala na 350" (oh 350 is reasonable). But guess what? The driver of the cab we hailed going back to Baguio City noted that there's no such thing as charging P350; they still follow the meter. So we were scammed! Haha! And oh, if you are on a budget and don’t want to take a cab, hail a Campdangwa/Tomay-bound jeepney from Baguio for Php 17 pesos. Just tell the driver to drop you off near Mt Kalugong. Jeepney terminals in the city are located along Magsaysay Road and near the city hall. Do note that from the highway, it would require you to walk for about 45 minutes to get to the cafe.

After traversing the road for about 30 minutes, we were dropped off at an entrance situated about 15 minutes to the cafe. There were no clear signs leading to the cafe so while we were figuring out which way to take, a staff stationed at a nipa house on the right side called our attention, and asked to log our names and pay Php 100 each; for me, this fee is too pricey. It didn't even include a free bottled water to keep us hydrated while trekking for a few minutes. We didn’t mutter, though, and commenced our short hike right after.

The very affordable drinks

The girls weren't informed about this short hike (I wasn't either) so they were complaining along the trail and shouted, "akala ba namin magka-kape lang tayo, Josh?" (we thought we are just going to grab some coffees, Josh?). Haha! While the trail is an easy one, it would require you some energy if it's your first time hiking or if you haven't trekked for years.

The ambiance and views

Several minutes after, we set foot at the cafe's entrance and were welcomed by an adorable dog. The first order of business, checking the views out (not the menu. haha).

The cafe has a great ambiance and features local displays. It also has an area with overlooking views of mountain and town sceneries. A few stones away from the cafe are rock formations that offer stunning views of mountain and town sceneries, too. Make sure to watch your steps! Sunset views are also said to be perfect from the cafe. Unfortunately, we did not wait for it as we needed to catch the earliest bus ride bound for Manila.

Was it Worth it?

For me, the affordable coffee variants (from Php 70) and the magnificent views were definitely worth the short hike. The hot cafe mocha I ordered tasted really great! And my friends loved theirs, too. "Apricot Peach and Pear Smoothie is a must-try! After wandering around La Trinidad and a short hike to this cafe, this (real) smoothie will give you an instant energy boost and hydration," Vane said.

Since we weren't able to taste most of the cafe's drink and party must-tries as we were full and only had about an hour to enjoy the cafe,  our reviews/feedback are very limited. So I tapped our Instagram friends and asked for their honest reviews. Here are their takes:

“It’s something refreshing to eat after having a hike because of the fresh strawberries in it. It was a great pair to cup of hot coffee!”  - @jdbshawty

“Absolutely tasty and perfect for the cold weather; I didn’t feel queasy at all. Their drinks aren’t that too sweet, too. What’s more exciting was our drinks were made in front of us. Would definitely come back! Hehe”  - @animheyyy

“All I can say is that their pastries and drinks will tempt your taste buds. Not too sweet; perfect for all ages! “ - @angelicadesteen

“Actually, we only tried those included in the shot and all of them were delicious especially the green tea latte as it wasnt overpoweringly sweet and the chocolate cake which was bittersweet and kind of has a hint of wine in it :)”  - @mooncraters

“I do enjoy visiting and experiencing coffee shops, but this coffee shop (Kalugong Kape-an) is actually pretty rare since it's located in Rocky mountain. We really had fun and memorable experience in this place and we also enjoyed the Iced coffee that we ordered here. I highly recommend this coffee shop if you are looking for a place where you can unwind and the place is good for taking pictures :) Absolutely will be visiting this place again with the squad” - @emperor.jhed

“The blueberry cheesecake and strawberry cake were so delicious. Not so sweet unlike the chocolate. I wasn’t able to try the match but my friend said that it was also tasty. Hehe will definitely go back there. Specially the sunset view. Ugh” - @theroxanity

There you go! The above guests loved their orders too and some even wanted to visit it again. As to the question of why it’s not that famous to coffee lovers yet, perhaps because it is not the talk of the town yet. So are you considering in visiting this spot? Let’s make this the talk of the town then. Share this piece away! :)

Visit this cafe now! Savor your pastry and drink of choice while enjoying the stunning views.

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