A TRIP to Baguio is never complete without shopping for sweet delicacies in the old public market of this mountain city.

In fact, it is mortal sin not to bring home those lengua de gato and peanut brittles packed in small plastic containers that relatives at home would expect to receive from a family member who came from a vacation trip from Baguio.

It is also customary among lowlanders like us to hoard on jams of strawberries along with vegetables and the famed Baguio broom stick made out of tiger grass to bring home as pasalubong to older relatives.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

They say Baguio’s allure when it comes to food delicacies for the sweet tooth never seemed to fade through the years. But limiting yourself in the market area is like limiting your opportunities to take the best buys home.

Its old public market still holds a famous reputation of a one-stop shopping area for local goods and delicacies; however, some of the best merchandize are not in the public market itself. A seasoned buyer would now that Baguio’s public market offers only a little of the throng of amazing buys that could be brought home, only, it takes a keen eye and more exploration of the alleys and streets of this charming city. Here is list of the best things to buy when in Baguio:

Benguet Coffee. Walking along the main access alley of old public market, one would come across the coffee stall owned by the Garcia family. It is the only stall in the area that specializes in selling the best coffee in the region. Here one could take your pick from Benguet coffee beans, Kapeng Barako beens among others. Introduced by the Spaniards, the Arabica variety produced in the area and commonly referred to as Benguet coffee is the favorite beverage of the Cordilleras. Available at the city market, roasted coffee beans are sold by the kilo and ground while you wait. One can also have a mix of bean varieties for better taste. A kilo usually runs from P170 and up. The coffee sold here is extremely aromatic and could serve as an economical gift to bring back home.

Longganisa. Vigan longganisa had also foun its way through this city a long time ago. Some are locally made while a few stalls sell original sausages from the Ilocos. There is also the Baguio longganisa. Baguio longganisa are sausage links sold by the string with a strong garlic flavor that rival the Vigan variety. The smaller rounder links are referred to by the locals as "short-ganisa". Available at the Baguio City Market mostly, although there are a few outlets selling home-made sausage. One would have to venture into the wet market are to get the best and freshest variety.

Motit Coffee. If you are in for an adventurous taste, try Motit Coffee of the Cordilleras or Kape Alamid in Tagalog areas. It is most popularly known in the world as Civet coffee. It is coffee made from coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet. According to owner of one coffee stall here, the civet usually eats the ripest coffee beans. However, the inner bean seed is never digested, adding that natural enzymes in the belly of the civet, the bean would have been reduced of its bitter taste. The beans are gathered cleaned, washed, sun dried and lightly roasted. Only two stalls here are known to sell such rare and expensive commodity. We tried drinking it black, sans lait-sucre, and it is indeed an amazing blend.

Sagada Oranges. Bit expensive but nonetheless considered potentially irresistible merchandise is the Sagada orange. According to fruit gourmets, these are the decedents of the Valencia limes and oranges introduced from Spain hundreds of years ago. A bit expensive on budget when bought in the malls here, in Baguio the price range is very much reasonable. The perfect sweetness and the balance of tang is mainly because most of these oranges are grown in organic environments way up in the Mountain Province.

These are a few of the best buys in Baguio. So when you find yourself craving for unique things to bring back home in your next visit to this charming city, try to buy some of the items on this list.

For comments, invites, suggestions, violent reactions and what-have-you, email the author at ianocampoflor@yahoo.com. (09155497904)