First Travel Café in Ilocos Norte is the next big thing in the north

LAOAG CITY, November 2  (PIA) – A thriving café in the sunshine city of Laoag is becoming the newest destination for tourists including locals who have cravings for good food and healthy lifestyle.

The one-of-a-kind fusion of a travel agency and a food hub has become an instant sensation that won the hearts of food lovers here, as well as travellers.

Young entrepreneurs, Christine Joy Salvador, 31 and Jan Carlo Caldito, 29, are behind these travel and food innovation known as Ilocos Heritage Tours and Good Vibes by Geronimo’s. Salvador owns and manages Good Vibes while Caldito runs the Ilocos Heritage Tour which started as an online travel agency.

Named after the admirable stance of Salvador’s father, Good Vibes by Geronimo’s Coffee, Pasta & Delight serves foods, mainly pasta and sandwiches, with a taste of home-grown herbs.

These were products of Salvador’s curious experiment of adding some herbal leaves freshly picked from their backyard into her pasta and refreshing drinks.

“I started with organizing some ‘Dulang’ (a traditional dining set) using our backyard as setting.

I served the foods that I cooked with the twist of herbs and I think it became a hit since clients are increasing,” said Salvador.

From then on, she has partnered with her friend, Caldito, in a Travel Café business, now called Good Vibes.

“We initially planned to have something to be served to our clients here in the travel agency while booking or inquiring for their travel, but the demand for the food has grown,” said Caldito.

An interesting feature to this food hub is their dishes named after the top tourist destinations of Ilocos.

For instance, the most-visited Kapurpurawan rock formation in Burgos town here was interpreted as a pasta dish, with the white and creamy sauce representing the color of the rocks.

Another bestseller here is the Patapat pasta topped with longganisa (Ilocano pork sausage) and basil, a dish named after Patapat Viaduct in Pagudpud. For sandwiches, the CalleCrisologo sandwich, which is inspired by the famous Heritage Village in Vigan City is now becoming a crowd’s favourite with its tasteful tuna filling housed in brick-like texture and color of the bread.

On the other hand, the Adams’ sandwich, cut in triangles represents the mountainous town of Adams in IlocosNorte where hiking and trekking activities are famous.

Other foods to look forward to include the Malacañang of the North Pasta topped with red longganisa, Adams Banana, Nutella Delight and Sand Dunes Icebox, a mouth-watery dessert inspired by Sand Dunes in Paoay and Laoag City.

“We want to introduce the different tourist destinations to the people through our food since most of them are not familiar with the tourist destinations here in Ilocos Norte,” Caldito said.

Even the refresehments are named after Ilocos Norte’s attractions like the Kabigan Infused Water and Agua Grande representing the refreshing vibe of the Kabigan Falls and Agua Grande Mini-Hydro plant in Pagudpud town.

Kabigan’s mix is composed of fresh lemon, cucumber, basil, calamansi and honey, and Agua Grande’s combination of carrots and dill.

“One of our goals is to introduce to the young generations the health benefits of the herbal plants and of course the importance of healthy eating,” Salvador said.

With the cool interior and cozy ambiance of the place, people keep going back in their little but cozy space, only a few feet away from the La Tabacalera and MuseoIloco in Laoag City. (Cherry Joy D. Garma, PIA-1, Ilocos Norte)