For our latest entry of ‘Meet the Staff’, we will be focussing on another long term fixture here at Siladen, Om John — our head grounds keeper, who is the reason why the grounds surrounding the villas and throughout the resort are so well kept.

Om John (full name John Wakari) originally hails from a small village named Kombi, close to Tondano — the capital of the Minahasa Regency, and home to the huge caldera lake, Lake Tondano.  He spent much of his life living around the Tondano area, until the year 2000 when he moved to Siladen to live with his wife — who comes from Siladen.

Upon arrival to the island, Om John immediately put his “green thumb” to use, and became a farmer. It might be difficult to imagine Siladen as farmable land, but before tourism came to Bunaken Marine Park, farming was one of the main occupations, alongside fishing. While Siladen’s topography certainly doesn’t owe itself to mass production of anything in particular, rice farming is possible in small amounts, and the climate at sea level is perfect for the cultivation of coconut,  banana, mango, and other fruit.

He joined the Siladen Resort & Spa team in 2002, so he is another staff member who has been with us since the very beginning. Although he has been in the Siladen gardens for many years, he has had other jobs throughout his Siladen career — including fours years as a pool attendant. It was his ability to make even the most barren patches of earth flourish that made him the head landscaper, and putting him in any other role would be simply wasting his talent.

Much of Om John’s work takes place behind the resort, where most guests never see. It is here that he is cultivating plants and nurturing seedlings. As a farmer, he loves to grow plants with a purpose besides looking pretty — for food, drinks, or  medicine etc. Hidden behind the fence is Om John’s (still young, but growing fast) pineapple plantation, and his self styled greenhouse is home to various fruit tree seedlings that will be given a permanent home in the resort grounds when they are strong enough to make it on their own. Near the pool is the herb garden, which may not sound like a difficult thing to cultivate, but on an island made almost exclusively of sand, growing anything as delicate as basil or coriander can be very challenging.

He lives with his wife on Siladen, and together they have a daughter and two grandchildren (who also all live on Siladen). During his time off work, he likes to either spend it relaxing with his family, or tending to his own plants at home. After all, a farmers work is never done.

Working in Siladen Resort is a pleasure for me. My hobbies are gardening and farming, and being able to do that for work, and so close to home, is great.

Om John Wakari