In 2005, ten years after deciding to settle in the island, Minnie started to build structures in Olang to fulfill a dream. Most remarkable is building the Performing Arts Centre, a name suggested by Minnie's relatives based in the United States, where villagers find themselves entertained by their own children showing off what they learned from attending free summer workshops, conducted by the artist friends who came to visit the island. Even before the art facilities were built, Minnie initiated film showing and did acting workshops among the Olang kids since 2004 and realizing that these children have their own artistic potentials, she was greatly inspired to start making her dream a reality- to bring the arts to the island.
Minnie’s younger brother Eli who visited the place for the first time in 2007, has largely contributed towards the construction of “finishing touches” and other structures in the park. He was pleasantly surprised about how his sister Minnie has transformed the place and was present during its soft opening in July 2007, through a convention of artists organized by the Manila based Center for Arts Foundation through its Director Jerome Vinarao.
For me, the highlight of the said event is watching the Olang children singing the song(from the well loved musicale turned to film " Mamma Mia") " I Have A Dream" with Minnie joining towards the middle part of the song. For some reason, majority of the audience were so touched that they either cried while the song was sung, or perhaps tried hard to hold back their tears. During that moment, I was thrilled thinking that the performance by Olang kids, is a part of the realisation of Minnie's dreams for the Siquijor Island, for the town of Maria and for barangay Olang. That number is a fruit of numerous workshops and rehearsals by various artists . I even teased Minnie afterwards that she surprised me a lot by carrying the tune almost perfectly. Watching the exhibit of visual artworks all over the place by various artists has been a wonderful bonus, I reckon.
The idea of making the then “Centro Arte Olang” was formally conceived in December 2005 with the vision of making it a Sanctuary for Artists and the mission to provide a space for art, artists and artistic expressions. Accordingly, it has the three -fold objectives: 1) to provide a home for artists to meditate, be inspired / create, come together / collaborate, 2) a venue for artistic presentations, exhibits, live performances: readings/dance/theatre,film productions and 3) a place for education in the arts- through workshops, seminars / fora, conventions and festivals.
Minnie’s major concern and considers it her dream to share a love for the arts in various forms with today’s youth and the future generation initially from Olang, adjacent barangays, towns and eventually the whole island. She envisions that this centre will benefit the youth having the inclination for arts and are interested to learn through free summer workshops and seminars given by visiting artists.
The Cozy Mia is a place where you would love to linger, and can make yourself cozy. It was built to remember Minnie by, thus the name. Fondly called ”Mia” in her younger days, Minnie enjoys entertaining friends and associates by serving food and drinks, that she has joyfully prepared, being an excellent cook herself. Cozy Mia is a place meant to make Minnie’s close friends and associates to hang around. This is a place where one would be happy to dine, prepare his or her own food and drinks, and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while reading a book, having conversations with Minnie and her associates, or simply enjoying the scenery.
I however believe that with Yang and her mom around, a visitor can probably have a taste of the island’s native food and its products. I myself have tasted how the local “tablea”(a tablet made of cacao seeds that we bought from the public market) was turned into a hot chocolate which tasted heavenly. My friend Mirana has this idea of utilizing a part of the CoziMia Grounds as a display centre for native products, arts and crafts done by Olang and neighbouring barangay and towns. I agree, remembering the restaurant I had dinner in Puerto Princesa, Palawan in the 2008 Baragatan Festival, showcasing the island’s fashion accessories and other native products on a concession. This could provide an income-generation potential for the housewives who can use their creative skills after their household tasks are done.
The most loved entity in the park is a tree house. This is a fulfillment of a wish from Minnie’s film mentor and collaborator, Miranamedina. Having a built -in bed and a balcony, this was recently named BalayMir where one could find the joy of being alone and quiet. Mirana thinks that it is the best place to review Minnie’s films for editing. Viewing the park from the balcony should inspire Mirana to rediscover her talent as a visual artist. During the soft opening of the Olang Arts Park, this structure was the most popular among the visitors. I love the structure because of its simplicity yet giving the feeling of contentment. In the entire arts park, this is the place where I have greatly enjoyed communing with nature and where I will spend more time whenever I get the chance to go back.
Take a flight directly to Manila or the Cebu International Airport. Please refer to the succeeding instructions, either from Manila or Cebu.
From Luzon or Manila.
By air, take a domestic flight -Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific or Air Philippines via Manila to the neighbouring islands of Dumaguete or Cebu. (Those coming from abroad may take the direct flight to Cebu International Airport )
Another option is having a boat ride from Manila or taking the Roro or land travel to Cebu or Dumaguete. There are also regular inter-island vessels from both Dumaguete, Cebu and Bohol that could take you to Siquijor Island
Take an inter-island vessel from Cebu that travels directly to Siquijor port for around 8 hours.
Inter-island vessels travel to Siquijor Island via Larena( 2 hour trip) or Siquijor (one hour trip) ports
Take the Davao to Cebu flight via Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines and take the inter-island vessels from Cebu to Siquijor. Alternately, you may take the boat ride from Plaridel in Misamis Occidental to a six hour voyage to Larena port.
Siquijor to Olang
From the Larena port, a private vehicle can be used or you could hire a local PUJ(Multicab) that will take you to an uninterrupted less than thirty minute trip to Brgy. Olang, in Maria town. Alternately, there are public vehicles like the regular jeepneys for a thirty minute trip to the area.
It takes about forty five minutes slow paced drive from Siquijor port.
The Olang Art Park is right along the National Highway.
Cielo Lumacad, a native of Lazi, Siquijor is the Resident Artist. He is a musician by profession and has composed/arranged musical scores for various movies from the 70s to 80s era, played in various international cruise ships, upscale hotels and entertainment arenas in the country and abroad.
11232 Promesa Drive, San Diego, California
Email address: email@example.com
Or simply visit :
Olang Art Park
Barangay Olang, Maria,
6229 Siquijor Island, Philippines