Last Updated on February 2, 2022 by Tina
If you’re planning to visit Mankayan to do paragliding or to visit Lay-odan Farm, you are probably wondering where to eat in this mining town. There are several restaurants in Poblacion and they serve good food. I will make a separate post next time with a list of where to eat in Mankayan. For now, I will only mention two- Garahe in Brgy. Balili and Cafe Ud Bangsal in Brgy. Sapid.
But before I talk about these two, let me give a brief background about Mankayan for those who are not familiar with this town. Mankayan is a town in Benguet rich in mineral resources. There are gold and copper mines operating in the municipality, both large and organized small-scale operations. There are also several prospects in different stages of exploration and further development.
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Mankayan is also an agricultural town where you can find plenty of highland vegetable gardens. This is where some of the highland vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, and carrots that you buy in Baguio come from. Which means the vegetables are cheaper here.
It is also being developed as a tourist destination. You can come here to do paragliding or go on a farm tour at Lay-odan Farm, hike Prayer Mountain (Mt. Gadagad) or get a stunning 360 degrees view of Mankayan, the mountain ranges of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur where the historic Bessang Pass and Tirad Pass and the Pilipil Red Soil are located, Abra River, and the neighboring towns of Tadian and Bauko, Mountain Province in Am-am Viewdeck.
Mankayan is located on the north-western tip of Benguet. It is bordered on the west by Bakun, Buguias on the southeast, Tadian and Bauko, Mountain Province on the east, and on the northwest is Cervantes, Ilocos Sur.
Now that you know a little bit about Mankayan, I will now introduce two restaurants that you should try when you visit the municipality.
Where to Eat in Mankayan
Garahe is located in Cada, Brgy. Balili, Mankayan. It is a 5 to 10 minutes drive from Am-am Viewdeck. This restaurant opened in May 2021. Although the restaurant’s interior design is Japanese, it doesn’t serve Japanese food. According to Claro, one of the owners, their branch in Sagada that opened in November 2021 is the one that serves Japanese food.
This restaurant has plenty of food options, from pizza to rice toppings, Filipino dishes such as sinigang, sinanglaw, lechon kawali, sisig and crispy pata, burgers, and desserts. We were able to try their pansit canton bihon, silet, chicken fingers, and nachos. They were all good, especially the silet. Silet is pork intestine and it is one of our favorite dishes in Joruka (if you know this restaurant on Halsema Highway). The silet in Garahe is more delicious.
Garahe is open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Mondays to Saturdays and 12 noon to 8:00 PM on Sundays. According to Claro, most of their customers are people from Mountain Province and the farmers in Balili.
From Poblacion, Mankayan, you can get to Garahe via Balili, Bulalacao, or Abatan. The fastest way is via Bulalacao (it takes less than 40 minutes and 90% of the road is cemented).
Just a reminder that Balili is higher than other parts of Mankayan. It is cold even at midday, and really cold at night (according to Claro). So make sure you bring your jacket if you go to Garahe and Am-am Viewdeck.
Cafe Ud Bangsal
Cafe Ud Bangsal is the newest Cafe in Mankayan located in Nursery, Brgy. Sapid. This cafe just opened last December 18, 2021. It is different from other restaurants in Mankayan because it serves Kalinga dishes. Other food options are pasta, burgers and sandwiches, fries, and nachos. Experience native Cordilleran coffee with its Arabica coffee. Milky coffee is also available here.
Cafe Ud Bangsal is owned by 25-year-old Kevin Rosito. He said he used to work in a coffee shop when he was studying in Baguio. That’s how he learned how to prepare coffee.
It was our first time eating Kalinga dishes so we ordered all the Kalinga dishes available. We had Finungor, Lichoy and Pork Sisig. Finungor is a mix of snail, stringbeans, bamboo shoots, and other vegetables. Lichoy is sliced fried chicken with a vegetable dish similar to Bicol’s laing. It is made of taro leaves. The Sisig is supposed to be with Kini-ing, a smoked or sun-dried piece of pork. They ran out of stock but we wanted to eat Sisig so we just had the one without Kini-ing.
Of the three dishes, I liked the Sisig the most, though Lichoy and Finungor were delicious too. I forgot to mention that the three dishes except for the chicken in Lichoy are spicy because Kalingas love spicy food.
Cafe Ud Bangsal is open 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM from Tuesdays to Sundays. Kevin said he is still looking for additional staff to train in the cafe so he could accommodate more customers. If ever you visit, try to be patient as it may take a while for your food to be served. While waiting, ask Kevin about coffee. He’ll be happy to share info with you.
Cafe Ud Bangsal is a 5 to 10-minute walk from Lepanto Golf Course. Take the road to Nayak, and when you see a hanging bridge near the first waiting shed, cross the hanging bridge. From the bridge, turn right until you see a red gate with the sign Lumnok.
I forgot to mention that the price of food for both restaurants is very affordable. It is way cheaper than the ones in Manila and La Union.
I hope the food I just shared in this post made you want to visit Mankayan. Trust me, it is such a beautiful place, and the highland vegetables are so cheap (like the cabbage I bought a while ago costs Php 20 (US$ 0.40) a kilo. I’ll come up with a comprehensive travel guide to Mankayan next time so stay tuned.