About Me

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An occasionally belligerent mother of five and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Mang-Usyoso Sa Ili-Likha (Let's Get Curious At The Ili-Likha Artist Village)

Being a stranger in one’s own backyard may sound strange but certainly true as far as this Mediocre Wanderer is concerned. Especially when I saw listed in a popular blog, a place that I pass by a couple of times a week. I’m talking about Ili-Likha Artist Village.

Not wanting to miss out on a possible foodie’s dream, I trudged on up Assumption Road, to see what the hullabaloo’s all about.

Looking at Ili-Likha from across the street, you’d think that this place was the Mad Hatter’s version of a tree house. The “branches” of this tree house stick out here, there and everywhere, for maximum natural light, much like Mother Nature intended its natural counterparts to do so. 

In these “branches”, one may find a cozy nook, a kitschy corner or a plain scene of solitude, all allowing your imagination to go wild, as the inner child marvels at the possibilities, while the outer adult, worries about the structural integrity of the place.

The interior is much like its exterior – a hodgepodge of artistic influences and a non-traditional floor plan. Beautiful mosaics, wood carvings and metal sculptures offer a whimsical glimpse of the work done by Baguio’s artistic off springs. 

Nationalism, highland cultural depictions and just plain whimsies of every color and shape make you imagine that there is an inspired urban fairy and her posse of nationalistic elves responsible for all this.

It’s a beautiful madhouse made with love, care and positive thoughts.

By the way, Ili-likha is the brainchild and property of none other than Baguio’s own artist/eco warrior extraordinaire and the Father of Philippine Independent Cinema, Eric de Guia AKA Kidlat Tahimik. (all makes sense now huh?)

Food wise, you may find various establishments in this tree’s “trunk” that serve all natural, preservatives and MSG free cuisine. They don’t even serve soda in this place. Just handcrafted beverages – from fruit shakes, teas and coffees to health drinks made with chia seeds. It’s THAT kind of a place.

I also loved the free seating arrangements regardless where you order and the open kitchens that allow you to see how your food is coming along as you smell the wonderful aromas wafting in the air.
Narrowing my choices, I ended up ordering a bowl of the popular balbacua from, you guessed it, Balbacua. Owned by local artist (and former pre school classmate of my baby brother) Kabunian De Guia , the food kiosk offers what it’s named after, plus stuff from their other food franchise, Pao Tsin (formerly set up at SM, until THAT major tree cutting issue came about). 

My nice bowl of steaming, tender beef skin stew (stewed for 6 hours) was complemented by egg noodles as they had run out of my first preference, red rice. 

A tall glass of iced coffee jelly was my drink of choice, completing my own yin and yang combo. (Would've inserted food pics plus more shots of the art and mosaics in the place, but I had file issues and ended up deleting them accidentally. WILL POST NEW ONES SOON!)

Here’s a rundown of Ili-likha’s food offerings at their KKK (Kiwing na Kahoy Kommunity Food Hub): 
Overall, my meal, though not mind-blowing, was quite comforting. The biggest draw for me was Ili-likha’s ambiance. As a child, I would’ve traded my entire Sanrio collection for a tree house like this. 

Meet Anton. He's the Kulaz behind the lugaw and the creative mind behind the floral designs of Antonuiz

An artists’ haven and local media’s watering hole, come visit the remarkable Ili-likha , at #32 Assumption Road. It's opened from 8 am to 8 pm daily.

the  nook where I wrote this blog :)
From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ecstatic For Organic - THe Mountain Grown Natural Food Shop

There's this place I've been frequenting regularly at the top of Session Road. It houses a variety of organic produce, condiments, snacks and meat  that are both fresh and inexpensive.

assorted dried fish, shrimps and squid from Cagayan Valley plus snacks and noodles made from different vegetables

Run by nuns, the Mountain Grown Natural Food shop offers stuff from the region as well as other organic commodities from as far as the Cagayan Valley.

herbs, salad greens, Highland veggies, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and the likes,  that range from 20 pesos a pack to 200 pesos
they also offer salad dressings. Try the Iggy's House Strawberry Dressing. It's divine!
Prices range from 20 pesos to 200 pesos that it would now break the bank whenever you cook up a healthy and nutritious meal for your family.
assorted local wines
medicinal teas and Good Shepherd products

Some of my favorites include:

free range chicken, cara beef and other organic meat products that vary depending on the supply
alfalfa and even broccoli sprouts (60 pesos a pack) and locally made camote bread
assorted vinegar bottles
more than one variety of lettuce (normally 25 pesos a pack)
snacks cooked by the Baguio locals, and priced reasonably (try the sampalok balls!!)
organically grown fruits, root crops and exotic seeds and leaves for the health buffs out there
sweet potatoes, cucumbers and many more

cookies, banana chips, malunggay noodles and chichacorn, among others
Visit them all week, from as early as 7 in the the morning to 7 in the evening. They're right across the Baguio Cathedral.

they're right across the parking exit of the Baguio Cathedral

From TMW may all your wanderings be better than ours!

my daily habit - organic food shopping :)