Kape Umali: Authentic Highland Coffee Shop in Baguio City

For as long as I know I’ve always loved coffee, I mean really really good coffee. Sometimes it’s hard to find an Authentic Highland Coffee Shop in Baguio City that could give me that umphh. And when I’m home, we brew our own coffee from the beans that we get directly from the coffee vendors. 

In Search of Coffee Shops

What these large established coffee chains miss is that aroma you can get from the newly brewed fresh beans where I can’t seem to smell the aroma that the coffee should have. And this is consistent with the large establishments here and abroad. Maybe in the storage? I don’t know. It’s just really different when the coffee has been brewed fresh from the newly ground coffee beans. 
authentic highland coffee shop
And since I’m a professional who always goes to the field and not work at home, this consistent craving for Coffee has been a long itch that I frustratingly try to solve all the time. Even though I am living in Baguio City where apparently authentic highland coffee shops are practically everywhere.
authentic highland coffee shop

An Authentic Highland Coffee Shop!

The Cordilleran Mountains are home to the best coffee in the country namely – Benguet Coffee, Benguet Arabica, and Kalinga Brew. Around the world, mountain coffee is considered to be the best. That is why there’s a lot of burgeoning stand-alone coffee shops in Baguio City trying to make their own blend popular in the city.
And one of the only coffee shops in Baguio City that understands coffee is Kape Umali. They are a family run business retailing the coffee beans themselves. They supply coffee to the Baguio City Public Market and at the same time they built their own coffee shop right beside their home. That is as authentic as it can get! 
authentic highland coffee shop
Here’s a link to their Youtube Video. It’s quite a nice production 🙂

The Cost

The Menu is located Below. (I usually hate it when blogs don’t give me the price range XD.)
authentic highland coffee shop
authentic highland coffee shop

What is really cool is they also offer imported coffee from around the world. And you could probably ask any of the family members which coffee blend would suit you personally, because they know pretty much everything about coffee. 

authentic highland coffee shop

What’s Different with this Authentic Highland Coffee Shop

Normally to get this high quality coffee, I would also have to pay a high price. But since they are the source of the coffee and they built it right beside their home – then there’s a lot of unnecessary operating costs were saved. 
Wifi – YES
Charging – YES
Cool Company – YES
Chill and Not Too Loud – YES
Social Climbers – NO
Parking – Beside the road
I love the idea of Starbucks actually, but it’s just that i hate the people going there. You know what I mean? Does this mean I hate myself at some point? 
From Baguio City Hall take Naguilian Road and go straight right before Cooyeesan Mall.  This is just right behind the Shape Up Boxing Gym if you want to become a member. There’s a subdivision gate called Shangri-La Village and going down you will see the shop. Just tell to the guard that you are going to Kape Umali (sometimes the gate is closed). 
authentic highland coffee shop map
So if you’re looking for an authentic highland coffee shop in Baguio City making delicious coffee blends that are freshly brewed for a reasonable price come to Kape Umali.

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Five Considerations Before Renovating Your Home

When you think of renovating your home, a myriad of ideas and concerns often beset you. Should you go for a modern and crisp theme with a state-of-the-art update? Should you opt to make it simpler by just playing with colors and paint? Or what about using antiques and vintage pieces?

Whatever the vision, there are considerations to be made before you start updating your home. Here are five of them:

1. The timeframe

Time is the most underrated consideration when renovating a home. Often, redoing a portion of a house would take a while to plan. This includes creating a design, finding the right contractor, and making adjustments during the actual renovation.

Updating your kitchen is different from adding another floor. There will be delays, whether small or massive. Maybe a pipe needs to be removed and rechanneled, or an old termite-infested wall needs to be replaced. These constrain your cost projections and available resources, creating backlogs along the process.

Indeed, it is important that when you think of making changes, the timeframe is realistic enough for the renovation plan to work.

2. Cost expectations

The budget is usually the single biggest denominator in any renovation plan. It essentially decides for you in all aspects of the renovation process. When thinking of a revamp in your home, the budget is always on top of the list of concerns.

But sometimes, cost expectations are overthought. With the heavy burden to estimate the cost of materials, contractor fee, labor cost, and the like, the homeowner loses sight of what they really want and need. Want and need are two different animals. Normally, if want exceeds the need, you overestimate costs.

To correct issues with estimations, you should get advice from a builder or a quantity surveyor. Expert advice is very important as it will aid you in deciding over wants and needs. It will also limit you from spending too much time planning. If you are utilizing financing options, research and compare each of them to produce a cost-friendly renovation plan.

3. The contractor

Finding the right contractor could be messy. Particularly with small and not so lengthy renovations, people ask for references from their friends, neighbors, and family members. This may be simple and less costly, but there may be concerns regarding the quality of materials, the level of skill of laborers or workers, and other aspects controlled by the contractor during the renovation process.

You must also consider the relationship of the contractor to the supplier. Will the contractor be using old clients for materials, electrical works, and plumbing? Does the contractor have a clean and regular buying history? For larger renovation projects, these issues are readily addressed as there are contract firms that are already reliable at the start or can fix supply issues during the middle of the house revamp.

4. Think about the future

Knowing your objective for the renovation is as important as finding the right contractor. Thinking about the future, what the change is for, and who or what it will serve is paramount. Are you going for a quality finish or is your goal simply to make your home look more contemporary? In the end, your design must be worth your investment.

Envision the changes you will make. They should still be valuable many years from now. They should still serve you well and more importantly, make your home a great place to live in. It would be impractical if another renovation occurs in the near future. This would only mean you have exhausted the short-lived benefits of the previous renovation.

5. Your design and how you will find it

With your objective in place, it is now time to source your design. Your vision for your home must always be in tune with your design prospects.

Of course, getting help from an expert would boost your design hopes. If you cannot afford an interior designer or an architect, take advice from books and the Internet. There is a library of information online which is free and easily accessible. There are tips everywhere from blogs to design sites. Look at designs that allow you to be in control of costs and resource considerations, or those that are easy to finish.

It is important, however, that you do not get overwhelmed by the information available as this could potentially ruin your design prospects. Take aim at designs that suit your vision. Be realistic.

Renovating your home, although exciting, is never an easy task. There are a number of things to be considered in order to meet a set deadline, budget limits, and design prospects. If well prepared, executing the plan will simply be a walk in the park.

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Baguio’s Art, Business, and Real Estate Scene

Originally built as a hill station by the Americans in the early 1900s, Baguio has come a long way, becoming one of the most visited cities in the country. True to its splendor as a favorite summer getaway, the city has also evolved as an art, business, and real estate haven.

Due to its natural and cultural richness, Baguio has developed a unique art that is perceptively homegrown and readily identifiable. Sitting on top of a plateau high up in the Cordilleras should be enough reason why Baguio art has always been linked to the land and the people that first harnessed it. A top choice for immersing oneself to Baguio art is the Baguio Botanical Garden, along Leonard Wood Road, where the Baguio Arts Guild is based. It is a place for local artists to showcase their talents. People can view the artists do their art and even have their portraits done by them.


If visitors want to relish a more artsy yet very local atmosphere, they can try Tam-awan Village, a colony of artists that aims to enrich and preserve ethnic arts. The colony is located in the outskirts of the city via Naguilian Road and Tacay Road. Another site to visit is the Woodcarver’s Village on Asin Road. A plethora of wood carvings and weaved products can be found displayed in the three-kilometer long village. Here, native woodcarvers flaunt their skills in rows of workshops on both sides of the road.

Many of Baguio’s artists are nationally acclaimed. To find their artworks and to learn more about their lives, they can be discovered in galleries and museums normally under their names. The most famous is National Artist Benjamin Cabrera’s BenCab Museum. The museum houses Cabrera’s personal collections and choice artifacts from the Cordillera. Ben-Hur Villanueva, another prominent artist, also owns a gallery named Arko ni Apo. Located just across Tam-Awan Villlage, the gallery further serves as a café, and Villanueva’s home and art studio.


As the Cordillera’s melting pot, businessmen and traders are attracted to the city just as artists do. The business and trade scene in Baguio is a microcosm of local, regional, and international activities. The city prides a diverse retail industry spanning from bargain products at the Baguio Market and Maharlika Livelihood Center to the more commercial options of SM City Baguio and Baguio Center Mall. A number of retail and food outlets also line along Bonifacio Street, Harrison Road, and Session Road. Food and agricultural products, most notably the colorful flowers and sweet-smelling strawberries, are daily fixtures. Wood products, weavings, and fabrics are plenty too.

Manufacturing and business process outsourcing (BPO) have likewise made a home in Baguio. Through the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ), manufactured products are produced every day and exported overseas. These include textiles, vehicle components, electrical products, electronics, and computer parts. The BCEZ hosts both local and international manufacturing companies like Texas Instruments, Linde, and LTX. As vibrant as the manufacturing sector is the BPO sector. Like in many parts of the country, particularly large cities, call center companies have set up shop in Baguio. Companies like Teleperformance, Convergys, and Sitel have also ventured to the Summer Capital to take advantage of the city’s steady supply of high-quality college graduates.

Real Estate

Baguio’s real estate has moreover adapted to its dynamic economy and well-preserved cultural arts scene. The growth of the city has added value to the familiar desire to live in its cool, pine-scented environment. The number of visitors and new residents in the city has, of course, increased. Led by people from the lowlands and foreign students studying English in the city’s top colleges and universities, the population boom has provided the local real estate industry a distinct niche, something that is hard to match by other Philippine cities. Due to this ongoing migration and transient surge, most houses are either rented or bought recently.

The progress in Baguio’s real estate scene is not only evidenced by the growth in sales or rent from low- to mid-level priced homes or properties. The city is currently experiencing an increasing demand for luxury properties. According to the 2017 Lamudi Real Estate Market Report, Baguio has now attracted luxury property developers that build homes costing above Php20 million. Along with Tagaytay and Cebu, it is the only city outside Metro Manila that lures high-value properties. The report further explains that with the limited space in the country’s urban areas, luxury homes have been designed to make up to such shortage via luxurious additions like “best location, high ceilings, privacy, large entertaining spaces, and most importantly of all, heaps of unique character.”

The City of Pines is indeed a product of the temptation of the senses. The subtropical setting is a constant draw to those wanting to take a break from the hot and humid days of the lowlands, and to those willing to make the city their permanent home. But just as alluring as the weather, the art and business scene of the city makes for a perfect reason to once and for all embrace the call of the mountains, for eternity’s sake.

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sunsetView for our client

Client Interview: How we were able to choose the perfect house in Baguio

Here’s a story that we’d like to share about a client who found their house in Baguio through our services. Since this was posted on Facebook we just copied it here to protect the identity of our client.

 “We inquired about two years ago and we were surprised to meet these young brokers who are from Baguio. But although they are young, I can definitely say that they know more than those older agents in terms of the technicalities and the market. Maybe because they have chosen this as their first career and it is obvious that they are enjoying it.

We were looking for a house and lot that is within our budget of PHP 5-6 Million and at first there were no properties for sale at that price range that we liked. We’re very simple family of four. We just want a 3 bedroom house with a garden, a parking space, and for the house to be at least accessible to public transportation. But in turns out, getting a house in Baguio is very expensive.

Surprisingly, these guys are not pushy or intruding. They ASK me what I need or what my thoughts are. Wow, such a magnificent way of selling.  So I told them that these are not what I’m looking for and so we waited and subscribed to the email newsletter.

Once a month we get these updates where we scroll for new properties and then voila! We found a property that was in our liking just recently put on sale! We contacted RJ and went for a short site visit. The owner was very friendly and flexible in terms of payment because they are already leaving the c0untry.

The next day we put the downpayment and we are now moving there in a few months after doing some little renovation which this company also offers!

All I can say is, thank you so much for the very professional treatment that we receive. And I know you guys will prosper, and I will support you all the way!

– Mr. T.I. “

 Thank you sir and enjoy living in Baguio!

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The Forevermore Effect at Sitio La Presa Mount Sto Tomas

Just recently I have been constantly asked by my clients if the properties I’m offering are near Sitio La Presa. I have been living in Baguio for decades and have not heard of this tourist spot.

Turns out, this is from the hit pop series Forevermore aired in ABS-CBN. The actual site is in Mt Sto Tomas. For locals, this has already been a place to go to but it is quite another world for people coming from the lowlands.

You can see the whole of Baguio from Mt Sto Tomas

You can see the whole of Baguio from Mt Sto Tomas

I remember when me and my friends go there because its such a pretty site without much people. The road was just recently cemented.

The site of vegetable gardens, fog and the cold temperature is a normality for locals especially those coming from the neighbouring provinces in the Cordilleras.

5:30 am - freezing tourists visit the house where one of the main characters "Agnes" lives.

5:30 am – freezing tourists visit the house where one of the main characters “Agnes” lives.

We went there early to avoid traffic, but even arriving at 5:30 am I’m surprised that people are already there!

The house where they supposedly shoot their scenes is still occupied by the owners. It is quite funny to witness when the tourists wanted to go inside the house and having the residents shoo them away. People from inside the house evidently still use this as their own home.

Stores suddenly popped out of nowhere selling T shirts and clothes that the characters usually where in the show. Small stalls picked their own spot and sold food to hungry tourists who usually suffered hours of traffic going to the spot.

I’m not sure what will happen when the series ends, obviously they will try to lengthen it since its a hit. Will there be less people in Baguio or will it stay the same?

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Why you should consider a real estate investment in Baguio

This is why you should consider a real estate investment in Baguio. Baguio holds 140,000 students yearly. Nearly half of its total population are students. Besides being the summer capital of the Philippines, Baguio is also dubbed as the “education center of the north” holding 7 major universities, 43 high schools, 66 elementary schools, 54 pre-elementary, 37 vocational and 2 schools for the handicapped.

korean students in baguio

62,231 or 20% of Baguio’s population are college students

Students from all over Luzon have come here to have their children educated. Even students from abroad like South Korea, Africa and the Middle East have travelled to Baguio to learn not just because of the climate but also for the quality of education.

elementary students in baguio

Because of the tourist inflow, education centers and business establishments, Baguio has been packed with people.

With the limited space, developments have been forced to move farther away from the city. Baguio locals are converting their houses into boarding complexes and made their own apartment buildings. Most of these do not appeal to the new middle income families from the neighbouring provinces and abroad who could pay more just for the security and comfort of their children studying in Baguio. 

old apartments in baguio

A lot of apartments and dormitories in Baguio are very old and unsafe

Luckily Goshen Land Capital’s CEO, Alexander Bangsoy, has made the impossible to be achievable. The company has negotiated deals after deals of land acquisition from locals who were very conservative with the promise of developing projects that would provide better housing in Baguio while preserving Baguio’s heritage. 

So what is the opportunity here?

Baguio is just at the onset of its real estate development and most of the projects are at pre-selling stage. Most traditional local investors are still dubious about this concept. 

You have the chance to be part of Baguio’s rapid development by investing in your own condominium in Baguio City which you can rent out. 

Below is a map of Central Apartments, one of Goshen Land Capital’s pre-selling condominium projects. It is located near many of Baguio’s largest universities. 

baguio condo map

 Central Apartments Location Map

 baguio condominiums 2br

Central Apartments – 2 Bedroom Unit 38sqm

condominiums for sale in baguio central apartments 1 bedroom

Central Apartments – 1 Bedroom Unit 26sqm

Having been sent this letter means you are a busy person and that you want to hear it straight. So let’s make the numbers speak for themselves. 

Some notes:

  • Not only can you rent this out to students but also the increasing employee population in Baguio. You also have the choice to make it daily or weekly rental to tourists where you can charge at least PHP 800 per night. 
  • The revenues you will be getting are tax exempted as long as they are not more than PHP 12,800 per month per unit, which is more than enough to regain your investment but just enough to not be too pricey for the lessees. 
  • At the end of the rental and after you’ve already regained your initial investment, you are left with the condominium which is a perpetual asset since you are also a co-owner of the land which the building is built on.

In essence, you can have your money work for you in a business you won’t need to manage every day. I’m sure you’re already educated in business and personal finance so I don’t need to elaborate.

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baguio city hall

Government Offices in Baguio for Real Estate

Transacting real estate in the Philippines is a daunting task. Remember that this is a country covered with red tape. Proof? How many IDs do you have right now? Do you know that in other countries they have just a maximum of two IDs. Yes its true. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To protect yourself it’s always good to check everything on your own especially when you don’t know your broker personally. So here are the government offices in Baguio for real estate transactions.

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)

BIR office baguio city

Real estate transactions are heavily taxed by the government. Most of them you will pay here at #69 Leonard Wood Road, BIR Office. Here is where you will pay your capital gains tax, documentary stamp tax, donor’s tax, estate tax and if you are in the business of dealing properties creditable withholding tax, VAT or Percentage Tax. That’s quite a lot isn’t it?Well this doesn’t mean that the buyer will pay all of them because payment of these taxes will always depend on what kind of transaction and the agreement between the parties. And of course, this is where having a good broker is going to be useful.

We will post our complete guide to real estate taxes here soon.

Registry of Deeds (ROD)

registry of deeds baguio

The registry of deeds is located below Baguio City Hall. This office is very important because it’s here that you can double check everything. It’s very important that you check in here first to confirm that the title or other ownership document of the property that you will buy is legit. All of us have heard or know someone who was a victim of fake transactions. Don’t be another one!

Pag-ibig Fund

pagibig office baguio

Pag-ibig Fund is located along North Drive, it’s just a short road so you will see the building right away. This office is where you will get the most flexible terms of housing loans in the country. People say that pag-ibig is the most well managed government organization. Loans here can get as long as 30 years so you can stretch your capacity to pay for a house now instead of renting it. Interest rates are not necessarily cheaper than banks but the length of payment will be very helpful.

It seems a lot of work to transact with all of these offices. Goods news! You’re broker will do this for you so don’t worry. Most brokers will do this for free as long as you pay the right professional fee of course. Choosing the right broker will be your biggest decision so choose well!



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Commercial Construction Service – The Cha Tien Milk Tea Shop Story

Business is always about maximizing what resources you have to get profits. So for most of our commercial construction service in Baguio we try very hard to keep the construction cost low, right quality and reusability. Our priority is the client’s priority which is to make their return on investment much faster.

What the client wanted for the construction

In this case, our client just went back from Taiwan with an idea – to bring the popular taiwanese milk tea craze to Baguio City. She gathered her resources and bought equipments and initial stocks. She had to make a shop which is pleasing to the eyes but should be limited by her budget, since she is just starting with a new name of her own, not a franchise.

Start of commercial construction at Decibar Building 2nd floor

chaTien during construction

After construction


Materials Used

  • Sliding glass door, fixed glass walls for commercial units
  • Dark Grey Deco Stone as counter finish
  • Plywood ceilings with Pin Lights
  • Granite tile counter top
  • Ceramic glaze tile on long side table
  • Floor tiles were already there, so we just used the existing as per client’s request
  • Panaflex on visual aids, we installed spotlights on the menu

How we delivered our service

We finished the construction within two weeks without any overtime. This is because the building is allowing construction during the day. Most popular commercial buildings will only let you build at night which is understandable since it will alienate other commercial spots’ business operations.

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korean students in Baguio

Top Schools and Universities in Baguio City

Baguio City holds 140,000 students yearly. Nearly half of its total population are students. Besides being the summer capital of the Philippines, Baguio is also dubbed as the “education center of the north”. And to help you with choosing which schools you’d like to enroll, here’s the top schools and universities in Baguio City.

There are a total of 209 Schools and Universities in Baguio City which is made up of 7 major universities, 43 high schools, 66 elementary schools, 54 pre-elementary, 37 vocational and 2 schools for the handicapped. 62,231 or 20% of Baguio’s population are college students.

Students from all over Luzon have come here to have their children educated. Even students from abroad like South Korea, Africa and the Middle East have travelled to Baguio to learn not just because of the climate but also for the quality of education.

University of the Philippines Baguio (UP Baguio)

University of the Philippines Baguio
The University of the Philippines campuses have always taught the brightest scholars of the Philippines. Students here are passers of the entrance exam which are the top 3-7% of the total examinees. To see their campus and awards please follow this link: http://www.upb.edu.ph/

Saint Louis University (SLU)

Saint Louis University Baguio
Built in 1911 by a group of catholic priests, SLU has become the most popular school in Baguio specializing in courses such as medicine. It is the largest university in Baguio with some 30,000 students including high school, elementary and pre-school. To see their campus and awards please follow this link: http://www.slu.edu.ph/

University of the Cordilleras (UC)

University of Cordilleras

UC or formerly known as Baguio Colleges Foundation was built in 1946 by Atty Benjamin Salvosa. Today it caters to 15,000 college students. The university specializes in Law and has produced some of the board top notchers in the Philippines. UC is one of the fastest growing and improving colleges in the Region. To see their campus and awards please follow this link. http://www.uc-bcf.edu.ph/

University of Baguio (UB)

University of Baguio
UB was built in 1948 by the Bautista family and now holds around 15,000 students including high school and elementary. To see their campus and awards please follow this link: http://www.ubaguio.edu/main/

Philippine Military Academy (PMA)

Philippine Military Academy Baguio
The only military school of the Philippine Army in existence in the country since 1908. It has produced most of the decorated military officials that the Philippines have today. To see their campus and awards please follow this link.: http://www.pma.ph

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Gyms in Baguio City

Places to exercise in Baguio City

One of the popular things to do in Baguio is exercise! (next to sleeping all day) Why you say? Because Baguio offers the best weather for a comfortable exercise. What else is better than staying warm in Baguio’s cold weather? All places to exercise in Baguio City is composed of clean parks where you can jog and walk every morning before you have coffee and breakfast at the restaurants. Perfect.

But here we like to make it special so we ranked all the best places in Baguio to get some exercise. Some are paid but most are free.

South Drive – Jog or Bicycle

This track is around 1 kilometer. There’s not much vehicles bustling here since it is just a secondary road. It’s also surrounded with pine trees. After you’ve jogged, you can have breakfast in boutique restaurants along the road. And some are pretty darn delicious!

Mansion Oval – Jog or Walk

Mansion Oval in Baguio City

The Masion Oval

This has been one of my favorite because there’s not much people here and you can jog in peace. It’s also a shorter route than South Drive so I can always bail out when I’m already tired. Ha! It’s near restaurants strips like Ketchup. And for the tourists its near parks like Wright Park and Mines View.

Camp John Hay – Golf or Jog

Everyone knows about Camp John Hay and it’s huge reservoir of trees etched by a golf course. It’s also complete with shops where you can dine right after your activity. There’s not much people in the shops in the morning so it’s very peaceful and scenic.

Burnham Park – Bicycle, Jog or Walk

The popular Burnham Park is always crowded with people, even early in the morning. So if you want to jog here without interruption then go really early in the morning. It’s in the center of Baguio so there are shops everywhere if you want to have breakfast right after.

Shape Up, Coyeesan – Boxing or Gym

Shape Up Gym Baguio

Shape Up Gym Baguio

Coyeesan is an old mall along Naguilian road. It’s quite the drive but I tell you that the gym there has the best equipments and amenities in town. It’s complete with a sauna, lockers, and showers. My favorites is that they have very good customer service! This is also where Manny Pacquiao trains for his bouts whenever he needs high altitude training. The pesos you spend at this gym are worth it.

Melvin Jones – Football or Rugby

The advent of Korean culture and the popularizing of football by the Azkals has spurred lots of football activities in Melvin Jones, which is perfect for that purpose! It’s a huge green space complete with goals. I think you just have to be earlier than the other teams to be able to play at these grounds.

Athletic Bowl –  Swim, Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball and Jog

Athletic Bowl is just beside Burnham Park and Melvin Jones. These is where Panagbenga events are held so it’s a huge area. There are courts there where you can play tennis, basketball and volleyball. There’s an olympic size pool and of course you can jog around the whole place.

Teacher’s Camp Oval – Run or Jog

Teacher’s camp has a ruberized oval where you pay just around PHP 60 to run on it. Very cheap considering the freshness of the air and the peace of mind that the place will give you.

So those are the places where you can do physical activities and exercise in Baguio City! If you have additional suggestions please comment those below.

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