I struggle to find the right adjectives to describe the place but it’s how I imagine the land of the elementals would look like. Entering the place felt like stepping into another world, it was both fascinating and confusing, a maze of some sort where each turn had me wondering what could be waiting in the next corner. Ili-likha Artist’s Village is like a huge treehouse and exploring inside would make you feel like a kid.
It’s a huge eco-art complex, which opened in 2014, born out of the creative mind of film director Eric de Guia a.k.a. Kidlat Tahimik. It’s located on Assumption street near Session Road. It looked so out of place on the street where it stood and I think it’s part of its allure.
If you’re familiar with the popular restaurant in Baguio called, Oh My Gulay, Ili-likha is like its bigger version. Both were built with eco-friendly materials; columns made of tree trunks and branches, stairways bedecked with a mosaic of tiles, pieces of furniture with unique woodcraft design. Everywhere you turn there is something interesting to see.
Inside you will find some establishments, such as bars, restaurants, cafes, and novelty and art shops. And these businesses knew the assignment, with artsy interiors that perfectly complement the overall concept and design of the complex.
In my wanderings, I discovered a theater. I wanted to venture inside but then I noticed these two heads on top of the seats, probably lovers who were doing god knows what, so I retreated.
Heaven on Earth
To my fellow vegans/vegetarians, good news, there are restaurants inside Ili-likha that serve plant-based food. You’d be happy to know that Heaven on Earth, a vegetarian eatery inside Asano Square has a branch inside Ili-likha. Not only is the food cheap it’s delicious too. I was so happy with this plant-based meal that I ordered, comes with two viands, a cup of rice, and soup, all for 70 pesos only.
The Scout Burrows
My friends and I checked out two cafes and they happen to be sitting adjacent to one another. The first one is The Scout Burrows, a tiny, charming cafe. It’s so small I think it can only accommodate 4 people at the most. I didn’t try their coffee but I ordered a plate of siopot (P60), deep-fried vegetable dumplings served with chili oil.
The cafe is open from Tue to Sun: 11 am to 6 pm.
Next to The Scout Burrows is Kape Kullaaw, a cafe/art studio frequented by some artists. Curious, I asked the barista what Kullaaw means, they said that it’s an Ilocano word for owl.
We spotted an artist in one corner busy sketching an image. On the walls, you can see some artwork on display. I ordered a cup of Vietnamese drip coffee while my friends had iced mocha and butterfly pea tea. The butterfly pea tea was the most memorable because of its ritualistic preparation.
First, the barista steeped the butterfly pea leaves in hot water, which produces a dark blue liquid. It’s served with honey and a few slices of lemon. When you squeeze the lemon into the tea, the liquid turns into a deep shade of purple. And it was very delicious and this is coming from a person who doesn’t really like drinking tea unless it’s iced tea.
I really thought I’ve already seen all the touristy spots in Baguio, until I discovered Ili-likha. I don’t know how I missed it considering I’d been to Baguio so many times. Thus, I consider Ili-likha a beautiful surprise. And if you haven’t been there, consider this post as advice. Don’t miss it on your next trip to the City of Pines