From the outside, it looks like a run down dilapidated structure with an overgrown tree intruding its space at the entrance. Once we got inside, it’s like going through a rabbit hole and we were transported into a surreal otherworld. Almost amorphous and continuing to evolve into who knows what, Ili-likha Artist Village is a patch of creative space in the heart of the highly urbanized Baguio City. They are just a few steps away from the infamous Session Road.
Love for Trees
Ili-likha Artist Village came from same mind who conceptualized the vegetarian restaurant “Oh My Gulay” – the film director and writer, Eric de Guia, commonly known as Kidlat Tahimik. From the copy found at the entrance of the establishment, Ili-likha Artist Village is all about honoring the trees and keeping the “woody Baguio”.
With that advocacy in mind, the establishment is built around trees, like a tree house, though more sophisticated in design and artistry. In one wall there are TV screen frames, then there’s the rainbow staircase made with tiles, then there’s the restroom divider made with bottles. There are so many details in this multi-level establishment that one has to look closely to notice. Even the chairs have characters in one chamber, old bikes adorn a pathway to a garden where a native Ifugao house, complete with skulls and native items can be found. It’s a treat not only for artist but photographers alike who enjoy artsy stuff as well.
Healthy Food Hub
Similar to Oh My Gulay, Ili-Likha Artist Village is an advocate for healthy eating. There are no soda beverage available inside the establishment. Unlike OMG though, there is a community of food establishments in this village which they call Kiwing na Kahoy Kommunity Food Hub (KKK) and each of them have their specialty offerings from pastas, crepes (try Cafe Cueva) and even the southern Philippine dish, balbacua (try Balbacua by Urban Kamote). Aside from being healthy, the food are priced affordably as well making it a popular lunch place for students too.
Ili-Likha Artist Village just opened early this year 2014 and is still a work in progress. So don’t be surprised if you see some workers installing new “art” pieces in the establishment while eating, for sure though they won’t be a bother. I’m excited to see what form it would take, but for now I’m glad that there are places like this that brings awareness to the importance of our environment and healthy well-being. Do visit this one of a kind village when in Baguio City.
Ili-likha Artist Village
32 Assumption Road
Barangay Kabayanihan, Baguio City
Operating hours: 7:00am to 8:00pm
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.