BAGUIO CITY, The Philippines – The advent of AirBnb marked the beginning of what is now called ‘space sharing’. People with extra spaces in their homes are opening them up, letting travellers stay for a fee. It’s like managing your own hotel without the paper work. One such place is Le Coq Bleu.
Located in Baguio City, the Summer Capital of the Philippines where most Filipinos escape the unbearable heat, Le Coq Bleu is a home owned and operated by Chantal Pangilinan. French by birth, Chantal is someone you would call an honorary Filipino. She moved to the Philippines for love and has been here for four decades.
Situated in the hillside village of Suello, her home has a breathtaking view of the Cordilleras – an extensive mountain range that is nothing short of breathtaking. Travellers have two options to choose from when staying with her; either they rent out the Loft or they choose the Suite.
The Loft is inside the main house, and is just above Chantal’s own room. Which means that a certain level of common courtesy, like not making a lot of noise, is requisite.
Also, renting out the Loft means abiding by a curfew, which is at 10 PM. So if you decide to go gallivanting with your friends around Baguio beyond 10 PM, expect the doors to be locked because the curfew is absolutely non-negotiable. Keep in mind that the space is first and foremost Chantal’s home, so you cannot impose on her what you will.
The Suite on the other hand, is a different story. Located below the main house, the Suite offers a larger space and more privacy. Since it is below the main house, it is a sort of house of its own, so to speak. It has its own refrigerator, bathroom, bedroom and dining table. One of its highlights is its very big window that offers a stunning view of the mountain side.
The Suite is divided in two: the ante room, which contains the dining set, the mini kitchen, and a sitting area; and of course, the bedroom. The bedroom is a unique work of art and engineering. Instead of trying to manipulate the mountain slopes and make it look like an ordinary room, Chantal chose to build around the slopes of the mountain and retain its natural look. The result is a dramatic mix of natural and man-made structures that look as if they blossomed out of the mountain side. It’s something one has to experience personally because photos do not do justice to the wonder you would feel when you see it for yourself.
The Suite is designed for honeymooners and couples. The view, the privacy, the tranquility, and the cool breeze of Baguio conjures up hours and hours of pillow talk and ‘getting-to-know-you-more’ sessions. A few minutes in the Suite would convince you not to go out anymore but rather, just enjoy and cozy up in the amazing room.
The wonderful thing about staying at Le Coq Bleu is that there is the option of having breakfast there. Host, Chantal, is more than happy to whip up a delicious breakfast for you should you wish. And, whilst you wait, you may enjoy a lovely and spirited conversation with this extraordinary woman.
Her two dogs – Juno and Zeus – also share the roost and delight in taking turns to let you pet them.
Breakfast is served in the main house. A lovely space made mostly of recycled materials and filled with all sorts of knickknacks and trinkets.
This space is the focal point of the house and it is where you feel the most at home. There’s something about it that will make you say “I am home.”
The house is a bit far from the city centre, and a bit of walking is involved whenever you want to go out and explore Baguio’s other sights.
The cab-hailing app Grab is your best option if you don’t want to endure an uphill walk. But even if it’s a little far, the beauty and the warmth of the house will re-energise you and make you forget about all the difficulties that it took to get there.
Le Coq Bleu will disarm you at first sight, seduce you with its charm, and will make you pledge to come back to it in the soonest possible time.
All photos by Mark A.L. Francisco and Kenneth Samala.