April 3, 2018

Le Coq Bleu, Baguio City

In every sense, France is the fashion capital of the world.

Since the 17th century, French led the way in making almost all things fashionable, including interior design. Author Ros Byam Shaw even praised them for having displayed an enviable degree of domestic chic. When it comes to creating rooms that are both laid-back and elegant, well French country home style is hard to beat. And Le Coq Bleu in Baguio City (even though not in France) clearly proves that.


Le Coq Bleu is a rustic French cottage homestay; so far the most quaint and whimsical homestay that I’ve been to. Take note, homestay; not inn, not bed and breakfast. It is owned by a lovely French immigrant named Chantal and her Filipino husband Boi Pangilinan. Chantal who has lived in the Philippines for four decades, is a retired teacher from an international school in Baguio. She was also the one who painstakingly designed the place and named it “The Blue Cock”. And why the peculiar name? Well, she discovered that cock-fighting is a popular pastime and sports for men in the country; and that cocks are practically well-loved. She just added blue because it is a zen color. She said that in France, it is common for French people to name their house.   

I’ve been eyeing Le Coq Bleu, ever since it was featured in a popular home interior magazine, Metro Home and Entertaining, a few years back. And I was extremely excited when I was finally able to book its loft room. It’s a bonus that Chantal allows 8 am check-in if there are no previous guests in the room. Since it’s a homestay, guests are expected to strictly follow house rules.    

The house is located in a quiet subdivision, 5-6 kms. away from the busy Session Road. The house is painted green with a rooster signage on a water tank.


I was warmly welcomed by Chantal and her three playful and adorable dogs, Juno, Hestia and Zeus. Chantal obviously named them after Greek god and goddesses, and treats them as if they were her children. Her favorite is Hestia the Rottweiler which she lovingly referred as her husband’s bitch (because it was Boi’s dog).  





I held my breath until I stepped inside her living room. It was exactly like what I imagined and saw on photos. It’s cozy, gorgeous and so visually delightful. It felt like I was instantly transported abroad into a charming European home. Everything is swimming and soaring in different shades of blue and earth colors. Every mismatched furniture, couches, rocking chair, cabinets, paintings, lamps, vintage china, draperies, hats, wall décor, figurines, knick-knacks, has their own place in the room, and even story to tell. There are even fresh flowers because as Chantal said “No French home is without flowers”. Truly, her home looks lived in, not staged to impress. In one word, it’s a masterpiece.  



Chantal shared that almost all the materials used to build Le Coq Bleu was recycled and repurposed. She’s even planning to buy solar panels to make her home completely eco-friendly.








The big French window allows cool breeze and natural light to come in, and opens to a stunning and relaxing view of pine trees - very romantic; and somehow reminds me of ancient Baguio. It's very relaxing to just sit by the window and listen to the music of birds and the soothing sound of nature. 




The fire place warms the room during colder season.


Among the dogs, Juno the poodle is the only one allowed to stay and sleep on the sofa. But her son Zeus sneaks in sometimes whenever Chantal is not looking.



The kitchen is well-stocked and organized.




An outdoor patio with pocket garden could be an alternative al-fresco dining area. But most of the time, this is where the three dogs stay.



Just above Chantal’s room is the loft room with a blue rooster décor. It has a king size bed and a small extra bed with warm floral sheets, comforters and blankets (for the cold bed weather of Baguio), and can fit maximum of four people. It also has a private reading area, overlooking the living room.






Stand out room decors are the vintage travel bags and a painting of the Eiffel Tower and Seine River in Paris.



Though there is no TV, free and fast wi-fi is provided.

A more private suite good for couple is located below the house. The room has its own allure and uniqueness, given that it was built on a rock boulder. It has its own living area with wide glass window affording guests with view of garden and trees.





Chantal usually joins the guests during breakfast. She doesn’t prepare rice meals because she said that’s not how French do it. But she made a healthy and hearty set meal of luscious fresh strawberries, yogurt, pancakes, fresh juice, and French-pressed coffee. The dogs love the pancakes and butter too.




Over food, we exchanged stories, and I found out that she and Boi met in Hong Kong, fell in love and finally settled in the Philippines. They used to stay in Manila but eventually relocated to Baguio. They have three grown children; the two are already living overseas. While Chantal oversees Le Coq Bleu, Boi on the other hand manages Le Coq Floral, another homestay within walking distance. Chantal also knows and recommends the best restaurants in Baguio to visit. I was amused by her honest review (with matching rolling eyes) like “Why would a Greek restaurant serve French fries?” or “It’s an offense to serve 3-in-1 coffee to guests! I would never do that!” Honestly, her coffee is one of the best. 

I had a wonderful, memorable stay at Le Coq Bleu. The place is a classic. It is not for all-night party-goers and loud people but is perfect for those seeking solace, serenity, and beautiful architecture and interior design with French touch.

It may be a bit far from the city proper but it worked just fine for me since I tend to avoid big crowds. I’m already content just lounging in Chantal’s living room or watching sunrise.   



  
Perhaps the only thing that made me sad during my entire stay was when Chantal confessed that the average lifespan of Rottweiler is between 8-10 years and that Hestia is already at the sunset of her life. I’ve seen how she cuddles Hestia with TLC and look at her with so much love; but I guess she was already prepared for the inevitable. Everybody is leaving. If not today, someday.
  
From Manila, take Victory Liner bus bound for Baguio. Tell the conductor to drop you off in Suello Village along Marcos Highway (10-15 minutes before Victory Liner bus station). From the highway, take a taxi going to Le Coq Bleu (make sure to use Google maps) or if you don’t mind walking, it’s a good 10-minute downhill walk. If coming from Victory Liner bus station, the homestay is 20-minute drive away.   
  
Le Coq Bleu    
#13 Gulf View Horizon
Suello Village, Baguio City
Tel. No.: 0917-5017355
(Strictly by reservation)
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