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Food parks in Metro Manila, while they’re cool and all, ain’t got nothing on Baguio’s Ili-likha Artist Village. It’s a multi-level tree house, located just off Session Road, that’s bursting with so much art and so much food.

Just to give you the caliber of the kind of art you’ll find here: Ili-likha was established by renowned film director and writer Eric de Guia aka Kidlat Tahimik.

Upon entering the village, you will immediately notice the artsy vibe of the place. An impressive rainbow staircase made with mosaic tiles will call your attention, with your eyes gazing carefully on all the old bottles on the cement walls, on the red floor, on the wooden fixtures, on all the little fixtures that scream inspiration.

Louie Casilang, one of the carpenters who is maintaining the place said that they make artsy crafts from recycled materials.

“Kapag may bagyo o kaya may mga puno na matatanda na, agad na binibigay ng mga tao yun kay tatay Kidlat. O kaya, kinukuha na lang namin. Tapos kami na yung bahala mag-ayos nun at gagawin na naming siyang decoration o kaya furniture dito sa village.

“Kahit anong patapon na bagay na kaya pa naming ayusin, kinukuha namin at ginagawan ng paraan. Kasi kilala si Tatay Kidlat dito sa Baguio na masinop at gusto niya talaga mapakinabanagan yung mga bagay na yun,” he said.

He also said that they want to promote the culture of the Cordillera region and nationalism through art. That’s why paintings and sculptures are displayed all over Ili-likha.

But while the art is astounding, no visitor must forget the delicious, healthy, and organic food available and waiting for them from the Kiwing na Kahoy Food Community—a group of food vendors found all through the tree house.

All the food items from each kiosk are made from organic ingredients; MSG, needless to say, isn’t in their vocabulary.

By the entrance is the Balbacua stall, which prides itself in featuring 100% grass-fed meat in its meat dishes. The balbacua (P75) is a must-try, which we can only describe as the lovechild of pares and papaitan. We paired it with an organic smoothie (P95) made with cherry, calamansi, and guyabano.

Balbacua
Organic smoothie

The Akohadaw Rice Meal (P120) from Shakilan ni Akohadaw is amazeballs. It looks like your regular chicken, lumpia, rice, and salad meal, except it tastes way better than your regular chicken, lumpia, rice and salad meal. Pair it with Samian Kitchenette’s buko shake (P95) and you’re good to go.

Akohadaw rice meal and buko shake

Apparently, not everybody can join the food community. According to Louie, only artists are allowed to take part in the community.

Priority talaga namin ay yung mga artist din. Yun kasi ang pinakagusto ni Tatay Kidlat. Yung matulungan niya yung mga kagaya niyang artist,” he added.

Come April, the village will open an in-house theater, where you can watch Kidlat Tahimik’s movie and documentaries, as well as other artists’ masterpiece.

Ili-likha Cinematheque Theater
Ili-likha Cinematheque Theater

Ili-likha Artist Village is located at 32 Assumption Rd, Barangay Kabayanihan, Baguio City. 7am-8pm.

Photos by Kim Maniscan

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