Ili-Likha Artist Village
As a vegetarian on a quest for good vegetarian food in Baguio City with my spirited daughter on hand, I was aiming for a place, nothing short of fantastic and definitely not expensive, where the food and the spirit of the place are both brimming with love.
So from the suggestion made by Nona Garcia, a renowned contemporary artist residing in Baguio City, we walked to Assumption Road, which is perpendicular to Session Road, and arrived at Ili-Likha Artist Village.
A mix of amazement and excitement filled us as we passed through the steel gates of Ili-Likha, (“to be created” in English) charmed by intrinsic carvings on its wooden post and quite apropos to an artist village.
Inside is a cavernous fantasy of art manifested into skewed mushrooms woven around old trees and growing out to add life and color to every nook and cranny of the place.
We felt ourselves beckoned to each artwork that was installed, with the sunlight shining through a found object replica of the Philippine flag, the wooden statue of Philippine Hero Andres Bonifacio charmingly adorned with marigold wreath and a red scarf around his neck, with wine bottles stacked up against a wall, with pastel colored tiles adding a rainbow-like mosaic to the staircase, and more of these mind-expanding installations gratifying our senses and feeding us with the passion and inspiration that fueled such amazing creations.
As we felt content within the dynamic web of creation in Ili-Likha, we finally seeked to quench our hunger with the assortment of food offered by the artists who helped create the place.
Obviously, all menus displayed in front of every kiosk were artisan quality. There was Balbacua near the entrance, which offers 100% grass-fed meat dishes, creative coffee beverages, and cakes like Blueberry Cheesecake and Flourless Choco Cake.
Another kiosk called Keso offers native beverages, like Tsokolate de Baterol and Langka Shake.
At the spacey area led by the entrance are more interesting food concepts. There is Hayahay with a colorful arch inspired by ati-atihan designs. They serve all-time Filipino favorites like sisig and lugaw.
Beside it is another pocket of culinary creativity, called Lihim ni Maria, which offers delicious vegetarian secrets like Mushroom Sisig, Vegetable Gratin Omelet, and other delectable deals to satisfy the palate and the pocket, such as Pesto Sandwich with brewed coffee for 89php, Asparagus or Mushroom soup with scrambled egg and toasted bread for 69php and tasty vegetarian add-ons for 35php.
I enjoyed the Mushroom Sisig and Green Basil Smoothie from Lihim ni Maria and brown rice from Balbacua to share with my daughter, while my friend had beef wanton noodles and lemonade.
When our food was finished, we moved to another nook, called Balay Amani, which takes pride in its Mandirigma veggie Burger, Mango and Strawberry Crepes, fresh beverages, 35-peso coffee with 1 peso refill promo, and an exclusive location where we were able to enjoy more privacy, while our kids played in the empty dining played dining space at the loft.
While we enjoyed our coffee and crepe, Ifugao artist and environmentalist Kidlat Tahimik, who is also the founder of Ili-Likha graced us with his presence. He shared with us the tale behind Ili-Likha, that is essentially an artist village continuously providing an outlet for inspiration and environmental advocacies, as well as a multi-dimensional gallery for Baguio artists.
Hence, with more wood recovered from naturally fallen trees and junk scraps gathered from the city, more space is allotted at Ili-Likha to showcase more ideas that would nourish every visitor that steps foot in it.
Ili-Likha Artist Village
Address: Assumption Road, Barangay Kabayahihan, Baguio City, Philippines
Telephone Number: 074 442 0980
Business Hours: 8am-7pm (Mon-Fri)