PHOTOGRAPH: Isaak Nalupa
WORDS: Micah Celi
Of the many rising cafes in the City of Pines, Arca’s Yard Café Library and Museum remains to be a well-visited spot despite that it is nestled away from the central business district.
The tranquil location and quaint ambiance of the café lure its visitors to slow down and to just enjoy the leisure of doing nothing. There are varied cozy spots for groups who want to huddle and a lot of space for someone who is in dire need of solace and solitude. The café also offers outdoor dining arrangements overlooking the serene view of Baguio. This is a haven for artists and creative community because there is so much inspiration to take in.
Every nook and cranny of the place portray value for culture and arts. It is aesthetically curated inside and out with a collection of artifacts and indigenous treasures that depict the culture of the Cordillera, old portraits and various paintings by great local artists.
The café is a reflection of the owner herself, Ninj Sabado. She is the woman who transformed (and is constantly developing) a simple abode into a charming and exquisite space now enjoyed by many. With her keen eyes for beauty and being rooted in her culture, she is able to share the beautiful experience and inspire a lot with her very own place.
She told a great story of how it started and reminisced some of her fond memories in their place during her youth. It was their ranch and a place where her family and friends gathered for celebrations. She recalled those times when they had to attach a ladder from the first floor up to the attic and the rooftop where they would gaze a million stars, sneak in some booze and drink, laugh so loudly and exchange stories with each other up until dawn. Gone were those days where communication and connection was so real without the technology.
Arca’s Yard came into fruition as a tribute to their father, Arca. From that name and considering the wonderful grand scheme of the place, Arca stands for “Activities and Renaissance for Culture and Arts”.
Converting Arca’s Yard to a Café was not really a plan. She wanted a place where she could display her artsy collections, wide selection of books, old portraits, paintings, antiques and artifacts that portray her cultural heritage. These are collected by the family over time and most of the pieces and furniture are made from the Sabado’s Handicrafts (a shop owned by Greg Sabado, husband of Ninj).
It was in 2012 when Arca's Yard opened its doors to the public as a library and museum with its vision to preserve the Cordilleran culture amidst the fast modernization of the environment. As soon as she opened it, visitors kept coming back and stayed for long hours reading and doing their work. She then felt the need to offer something to eat and drink. The first thing that she served was Benguet coffee and her own recipe of camote pie. And the rest is history. Not for long, she officially opened her place as Arca’s Yard Café, Library and Museum.
Everything about Arca’s Yard tells an interesting story, from the intricate decorations and interior to the various selection of dishes served. The food menu is derived from Ninj's and her family's recipes. There is no doubt the place is passionately developed and thoughtfully crafted.
The light and warm feeling is felt by every guest whenever they set foot in the café because that is how it was created and celebrated. It is a place that offers not only great dining experience and but it also fills the visual senses and soul of its guests. Arca’s Yard offers good food along with great stories, relaxation, inspiration, and history.