The Michelin Guide, the revered restaurant rating body/chefs’ and fine dining connoisseurs’ Bible—despite accusations of being French-leaning and playing favorites—started with a little red book. Its purpose was initially to boost car and tire sales by encouraging tourists to take more road trips. Two decades later after its birth in 1900, it included restaurant listings for “the traveler in search of respite from the adventures of the day.”
But even before its introduction, sustenance has always been so intrinsically linked to travel. If the dining experience is good, then all the more it is worth a trek. The Michelin star rating system itself is predicated on a restaurant’s travel worthiness. One star means it’s worth a stop, two a detour, and three a special journey.
Manila has yet to be on Michelin’s map but that hasn’t stopped hardcore capital city imperialists from thinking the best dining spots are concentrated there. The truth is, other locales are catching up and it’s not just metropolises.[READ: Where to eat in Cebu, as told by a local]
Some dining concepts even take pride in the fact that they are a destination. This is increasingly becoming a trend for bakeries at patisseries, at least.
Here, we list some of these “destination bakeries,” if you may, that are far-ish from Manila though not an airplane ride away. Trust us, they are worth the trip. You don’t need the Michelin Guide to tell you that.
Masa Bakehouse – La Union
Costales St., Sitio Dappat, Brgy. Ili Norte, San Juan, La Union
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday
A La Union surf town staple, the bakery moved to a new location last year but nonetheless, patrons still flock to it, lining up early to order its all-day breakfast menu as well as its sandwiches and toasts that use artisanal bread. Note that not all baked goods are available upon opening though. Masa follows a baking schedule to ensure that its bread is fresh throughout the day.
If you don’t mind missing out on its tropical interiors and lingering with your choice of drinks and sandwich or toast, they also have an express counter where bread like their sourdough loaves, pan de coco, Spanish bread, and pandesal are available for takeout.
They also have a branch along Aguirre Ave. at BF Homes in Parañaque.
Rebel Bakehouse – Baguio
Km. 3 Naguilian Rd., Baguio City
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Formally billed as a viennoiserie offering laminated pastries like croissants, Rebel Bakehouse is a tad off Baguio’s busy main arteries. As soon as you enter, you are welcomed by a visual and olfactory feast: You can see and smell the baked goods as the staff makes them in-house.
You may have a hard time deciding which pastries to get as I did the first time I went. I will make it easy for you: If you love chocolate, get the #4 Chocolate, a pain au chocolat filled with dark chocolate then dipped in milk chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder—because you can never have too much chocolate.
They also have a tight drinks menu with classics like espresso and fun drinks like cereal milk latte to pair your pastries of choice with.
Ijo Viennoiserie – Lipa, Batangas
Big Ben Complex, President Jose P. Laurel Highway, Lipa, Batangas
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Speaking of the Michelin Guide, Ijo’s pastry chef Joaquin Katigbak worked in Michelin-starred Thailand restaurant Gaggan and apprenticed for sourdough specialist Richie Manapat. The bakery identifies as a viennoiserie specializing in French and Viennese baked goods.
Known for its various croissant flavors, from classic to filled with pistachio cream, Ijo also has inventive pastries like cruffin (a hybrid of croissant and muffin) as well as bread with savory flavors like sausage, ham, and cheese.
Its latest menu features new items with familiar yet innovative takes on panaderya and merienda favorites like the kalihim, which is actually a two-toned croissant with a pudding filling and the turon, a plie croissant with a confit saba and jackfruit caramel filling.
Uniqo Patisserie – Lipa, Batangas
TheSquare, 140 B. Morada Ave, Lipa, Batangas
Open Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ijo’s sibling bakery Uniqo is just a short walk away if you’re looking for even more creative takes on French baked goods that employ fresh fruits, creams, and various other fillings. Its menu features choux pastries, tarts, eclairs, puffs, as well as macarons.
You can order them as individual treats or have them as a set, with prices ranging from P700 to P800 for a box of six pieces of assorted pastries.
Something worth ordering but maybe not stable enough to bring home is its ice kouign (get it?), a croissant ice cream sandwich stuffed with its housemade ice cream flavors.
Both Uniqo and Ijo occasionally do Metro Manila drops so you don’t have to travel all the way to Lipa to try them.
Wildbreads Craft Bakery – Los Baños, Laguna
Lola J’s 10276-8 Ruby St., Umali Subdivision, Los Baños, Laguna
Open Friday through Monday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Located in the university town of Los Baños is Wildbreads, a cafe/bakery/pizzeria that began as a weekend market stall. Last year, it opened a physical store where it sells its selection of sourdough breads, laminated pastries, pizzas, and a lineup of espresso-, cold brew-, and tea-based drinks.
Alongside its best-sellers like the classic and flavored croissants are limited time specials that include the coffee cream cruffin, strawberry galette, and mango almond load.
It has also started making panettones and those TikTok-famous filled croissant rounds that Wildbreads call supremes owing to the fact that they are over-the-top and brimming with filling and toppings, too.