BAGUIO's BEST Bed & Breakfast... & BAR!!!
It's been a long while
since I really really enjoyed a perfect little
drinking establishment up in Baguio.
Rumours on Session Road is still there,
but since it isn't airconditioned,
it's muggier and stuffier than any bar in the lowlands,
and you end up missing the cool Baguio experience.
The bars in Nevada Square
aren't too safe for vacationing MetroManila folk either,
what with all the scandals and violence
that take place there on quite a regular basis.
thank the gods for the resurrection
of the old Swagman on Leonard Wood Road,
its new incarnation,
THE RED LION,
BAGUIO'S BEST BAR!!!
It's a 24/7 bar,
an intriguing mash-up of:
1. an expat bar,
you have a crowd of baguio's causcasian community
whiling away the hours at the pub.
2. a kimchee congregation.
after the koreanovelas air on channels 2 and 7,
the SoKors invade the bar.
3. the late night barflies,
the true-blue pinoy drinkers settle on their favorite barstools
and affectionately nurse their pale pilsens.
4. the call center kids,
warding off the insanity of outbound and inbound calls
with their san mig lights,
singing their hearts out at the soundproof videoke room.
The owners of this fine "Tender Bar"
are a charming Mr. and Mrs.,
back home in the Philippines since 2003,
after decades in California and Arizona.
Tony and Bing Perlas,
the innkeepers of Baguio's prime pilsen place,
are two of the most hospitable people I've ever met.
I arrived at the Red Lion at four in the morning,
fresh off the midnight trip
of Victory Liner's "Business Class Bus",
serendipitously sat next to them at their bar,
introduced ourselves to each other,
and ended up chatting with them til sunrise,
instant "old friends" catching up on the latest.
And I guess that's the secret of their success,
an innate pinoy friendliness that trancends
time zones, altitudes, and generations.
the coolest thing about The Red Lion?
the inn's rooms are just a flight of stairs down
from the bar, so it's an easy crawl to one's
quiet, cozy quarters after a hard night of drinking;
then having the best Tapsilog in Baguio at 8am,
surrounded by stragglers still drinking their beers.