It’s summer! Time to bring the family to Dumaguete, the Summer Workshop Capital of the Philippines!
While Mom and Dad will be in a romantic hop from one waterfalls to another, their talented young son is sitting down as a fellow at the oldest creative writing workshop in Asia – this legacy of National Artist Edith Lopez Tiempo and her late husband Doc Ed which is turning 50 years old this May. Or their daughter can be in Guy Hall taking piano lessons, or maybe at Aquacenter for swimming. And while the youngest daughter is learning the basics in ballet, Grandma can keep herself busy with her own painting lessons under an internationally recognized visual artist Kitty Taniguchi.
Come witness Philippine ethnomusicology pioneer and Asia’s first Certified McClosky Voice Technician Priscilla Magdamo Abraham together with prolific Music Education author Dr. Elizabeth Susan Dimaya Vista Suarez as they mount again pioneering programs in Voice and Choral Music Education.
Flash those DSLRs at the best Photography workshop under the busiest king of images Greg Morales as he leads you to iconic subjects to be captured and the beautiful landscapes all over will be the harvest in your every frame. Or go beyond multimedia workshop under the multi-talented Hersley-Ven Casero of Foundation University.
Write the green spirit in your child’s heart with lessons in biodiversity and garbage recycling within a butterfly garden in St. Paul University. Bring the entire local government force and get the green wisdom directly from Dr. Angel C. Alcala, the world’s father in Coastal Resources Management.
Before your trip abroad, hit the gentle Dumaguete road with driving lessons and other skills training doable in short term arrangements at Negros Oriental State University.
Meet Ate Ely, Kuya Jar with Ate Shawee, Ate Edna and the rest of the big brothers and big sisters at Oriental Hall who are the best facilitators in town for team building and other corporate human resource development programs. For an inner journey and peace of mind, there is always the listening power of Dr. Margret Helen Udarbe Alvarez, Dr. Betsy Joy B. Tan and Dr. Noel Yasi.
Then, back to Guy Hall for more of the amazing Visual Arts explorations with two of Dumaguete’s most prolific art educators Yvette Malahay Kim and Jutze Pamate. Art-talk with Jutze and be overwhelmed by his almost never-ending stories and go home a walking almanac of the journey to the golden age of Renaissance and beyond.
Take a break from your computer game and check out the College of Mass Communication and the College of Computer Studies of Silliman University now opening new windows for young talents to learn the basics in journalism, broadcasting and computer graphic design.
Theater world in Dumaguete is another rewarding workshop as the stage queen Dessa Quezada Palm makes it a tool to make young talents become fully aware of their potential as community builders. Anticipate the actor in you come out of the workshop with a sensitivity to the call of the times.
The list is endless with all the workshop weeks to conquer and the nature trips to keep the family and guardians busy in waiting games.
But then something seems not in sync with the knowledge revolution, and it pains me that Summer in Dumaguete will be capped with this mediocre production called Kabulakan. What with all of those celluloid blooms and paper roses in May compared to Baguio’s Panagbenga and Davao’s Kadayawan? No wonder we hear tourists getting frustrated of the promise of a “Mayflower” experience vaguely realized under the heat of a summer sun. I can’t blame them — Dumaguete’s Kabulakan’s historical dimension and cultural value are without strong foundations.
Don’t get me wrong, I have much respect for the organizers and am one with them in giving tribute to the late Manolit Teves, Dumaguete’s Renaissance man, whose ideas and presence were the moving force in this festival. But I believe that the best way to honor the man is to move on and make his idea a kind of point of departure. A workshop on festival management is a must to develop what really belongs to Dumaguete and this University Town is so rich with resource persons on history and creative production. I really think that Kabulakan will have a better version if mounted in Valencia, Oriental Negros, the capital of blooms. Dumaguete’s “dagit” origin can be explored and I am confident that the brainstorm will have a fruitful harvest that we all can celebrate.
As of now, let’s just join hands in letting the whole world know that this University Town is the Summer Workshop Capital of the country. Family tours will then be flooding and our business community will be in their own productive workshops of food, fun jams, fares and flares!