Missing Baguio's Ketchup Food Community? Here's some good news

Carl C. Taawan

Posted at Aug 14 2017 12:56 PM | Updated as of Aug 14 2017 02:40 PM

One of Happy Tummy's best selling food offering. Photo by the author

BAGUIO CITY -- Ketchup Food Community has become one of Baguio’s landmarks when it comes to dining since it opened in 2011. Consisting of five homegrown restaurants that have created a name for themselves among foodies, Ketchup became a must-try place for those going up to Baguio.

However, “all good things must end,” as the cliche goes, as their contract ended after five years of operation (six years in the case of Happy Tummy, which started operating a year before the community was developed). Ketchup will soon be replaced by a branch of a giant pizza chain.

But fans of Ketchup can still enjoy their favorite dishes since several of the restaurants there have opened branches in the city.

Canto Bogchi Joint, for instance, has a new home on Kisad Road. Proprietor Carlo Blanco was grateful that they were able to make a name despite their simple menu. Canto started as a small restaurant with only a few tables.

“The Ketchup Food Community allowed us to develop our clientele,” he said.

Blanco described the new location as an improvement. “The added sitting capacity, the freedom to prepare and serve what we want to specialize in, and of course the wider parking space, all contribute to the upgrading of the store,” he said.

Canto branch along Kisad Road. Photo by the author

“We are happy that our established customers are eager to follow us to our new location,” said Blanco.

Rumah Sate, which specializes in Indonesian and Malaysian food, had a branch in Mine’s View Park, which it closed just last August 3 to transfer to a bigger place just in front of the Mansion House near Wright Park and the old Ketchup Food Community.

Manager Joyce Daguines, who enjoyed Indo-Malay food during her frequent travels to Singapore, said that aside from tourists, they are also popular among local diners. “We hope to get them back when we open our new store,” she said.

Happy Tummy owner Ligaya Gomez, meanwhile, admitted that they had difficulty maintaining their employees as she didn’t want to lay-off any of them. She opened a small branch near SM Baguio with only few tables and had to arrange alternate schedules for the crews while looking for a better location.

Last July 30, a new branch opened at the second floor of Porta Vaga Mall. Gomez, who quit her travel business when she opened the restaurant in 2011, said the new branch is showing a lot of promise. “Our first three days of operation, which unfortunately coincided with Typhoon Huaning, was still well received,” she said.

The new branch, although located in a mall, has an outdoor feel just like the original store.

Happy Tummy branch in Porta Vaga Mall. Photo by the author

Happy Tummy will also opening its main branch at the residence of Gomez near Loacan, “just next to the runway,” she said.

“We are thankful for the six years of operation at the Ketchup Food Community that we were able to create a name for our business. Our regular customers would come looking for us and I believe they will also follow us in our soon-to-be-launched main branch,” she said.

As for Green Pepper, which is famous of its steaks and pasta dishes, managing partner Charlynne Macalalag-Buagan said they decided to stop their restaurant operations and will just concentrate on catering services.

Rancho Norte, meanwhile, has not yet found a new location for its restaurant.