Gaia Cafe and Crafts is one of those places that you find and it beckons you in.
Situated a good 30 minutes walk from the centre of Sagada and a short walk from Sumaging Cave you will find a rickety looking structure, built from local materials, hanging over the edge of a cliff with a great view of Kapay-Aw Rice Terraces and a cool constant breeze blowing through.
So after finishing our two hour underground tour of Sumaging Cave with my companions, Marcos (Detourista) and Gael (ThePinaysolobackpacker), we decided to take lunch and rest up for a couple of hours at Gaia.
Gaia Cafe and Crafts is run and owned by Gawani Domogo. Gaia’s Manifesto states “aside from herbs and spices, we use organic raw sugar, unrefined sea salt, naturally-brewed soy sauce and locally-manufactured vinegar in your food. No MSG or any artificial flavors have been used.”
Gawani has also made sure that Gaia is 100% zero waste by recycling or reusing non-degradables, growing alot of their own vegetables and discouraging the use of plastic. They will not let customers have “takeaways” unless they bring their own food containers too.
Gaia also has a claim to fame because of a Filipino movie “That Thing Called Tadhana” ( That Thing Called Destiny) had a scene filmed there. Because of this film there has been an increased number of tourists flocking to Sagada.
There is also a small gift shop where you can buy good quality clothing and locally made handicrafts such as bags and jewellery and a selection of teas. There’s a library you can borrow a book from and read while waiting for your food, or relaxing and simply enjoying the breath-taking views over the rice terraces. Gawani named the library after her father who, she told me, just loved his books.
Gaia serves Vegan and Vegetarian food which is freshly cooked for each order, so it can take time for your order to arrive, so prepare yourself with a book or enjoy the views across the rice terraces. The CR design is also very original and worth investigating.
So how about the food i hear you asking ……….
I was really in need of a coffee when we arrived there but was in two minds about ordering as i had found the brewed coffee in Sagada to be very disappointing, but Gawani assured me that Gaia’s coffee was different….. and it was. The coffee had rich, wholesome taste of arabica coffee and with a couple of sweets to accompany it was very enjoyable……… ***** recommended
For the main dish i ordered Vegetarian Adobo…… which according to the menu is made from seitan/gluten, potatoes and carrots cooked in naturally-brewed soy sauce and organic vinegar, with bay leaves and black pepper and to drink the Camote Quencher caught my eye on the menu.
As i had never tried a vegetarian adobo (or even knew that one existed) i was intrigued……….
I didn’t expect the Camote Quencher to be pink but despite the colour tasted really good. A nice sour fermented taste and really healthy into the bargain.I can imagine the Bontoks and Kankanaeys drinking this after a hard days work in the fields ( menu description)………. ***** recommended
The vegetarian adobo actually tasted very good. I liked the texture of the seitan, it had the tender taste and feel of meat and the flavour of the adobo sauce just lingered in the mouth. The red rice which is locally grown had a nice nutty taste. The red rice is blended with white rice and is rich in protein, iron, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous, which makes for a good healthy option and that is what Gaia is all about. ***** recommended
In my opinion Gaia Cafe and Craftsshould be on everyones list. A spelunking trip to Sumaging Cave should always be rounded off with a really healthy meal at Gaia on the way back to Sagada town.
How to get to Gaia Cafe and Crafts
The best way is to follow the road downhill from the tourist centre in town all the way until you see a sign for the left turn to Sumaging Cave. Follow this road passing the entrance to Lumiang Burial Cave and keep walking. Soon you will see Gaia on the right side. Sumaging Cave is a further 5 minutes walk.
Gaia Cafe and Crafts is open from 09.00 to 19.00 everyday
Remember …. if you want a takeaway you will need to bring your own containers to carry the delicious food in.
Contact Gaia Cafe and Crafts
Mobile +6349 137 6777
+6315 727 6831
Facebook Page: Gaia Cafe and Crafts
Gaia Cafe & Crafts