Friday, February 17, 2012

Casa San Miguel

How perfect is this place--- a music school run by Coke Bolipata, set amidst a mango orchard in a town nestled between the mountains and the sea?  Let me count the ways...

"The orchard was established in 1921 by Ramon L. Corpus and served as his family retreat-by-the-sea. It was the frequent site of many family picnics and musical gatherings. In 1993, his grandson, Coke Bolipata, designed an Art Center to replace the old house that burned.
Casa San Miguel was built on the belief that art, in its various forms, can extend beyond its boundaries to create a more aware and fuller human being for an enriched humanity. It further believes in an internal transformation to bring about communal, national, and global change with culture as the means to this end. The center is committed to the continued development and support of the Filipino artist, and to the development of new artists and audiences for the next generation."
- from

(Casa San Miguel is located in Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales. All photos by Nina M. Santamaria & Ivy Crisostomo)

The Backstage Cafe, the conducive practice halls, the ceiling panels from the original 1920's structure, the library holding books & literature from the 1930's.....with the sound of violins in the air and everywhere you look it's majestic mango trees peeking at every window.  Now don't you think that's ABSOLUTELY ENCHANTING?!?

On my 1st visit, I thought I was in some sort of music heaven.  As soon as we approached the school we could hear the students practicing.  They were either in the halls...

or walking around the garden churning out Vivaldis and Cansecos...

students from the local community rehearsing

(above: the free choral concert we watched last Feb. 4)

All 5 photos above by my friend Ivy Crisostomo.

From the kitchen with big open windows the smell of freshly baked bread & pizza wafted through the air.  I felt immediately seduced by the place (no kidding...good food + good music is a deadly combination and you know it)!   

hello?!?  Casa San Miguel is in a mango orchard.
 i can't begin to tell you how good the mango shake was. a must-try.

For me, the place was truly special.  The best part was knowing that it quietly but effectively "serviced" and benefitted the local community and enriched the lives of the people of San Antonio / San Miguel, without the owners having to "blast" their cause out and show it off to the public.  The family that runs this school seems to find sincere fulfillment and joy in what they are doing without having to be patted on the back all the time by anyone.  Truly inspiring.  

I hope that this institution will get the support & appreciation it so deserves so that it may continue to nurture its gifted students and their families. 

And so I end this post with my favorite images & details from this magical place:

a metallic peacock detail on one of the columns

aqua blue Batibot chairs

ceiling detail from the 1920's

a coral by the window basking in the afternoon sun

well...lots of stuff were basking in afternoon sun...

...including our vehicle with the red & white surfboard.
We came straight from surf when we first visited this place--- maybe that's why it felt extra perfect. :-)

I was with wonderful company, too.

JJ & Charlie

Ivy & James

Jay Bird
*no photo of Corey Wills but I sat next to him at the concert & he is the best seat mate ever.  He keeps quiet, doesn't squirm in his seat, doesn't cough, claps politely, and shares his program of songs with you. He doesn't even tease you when you cry over an a capella song!  :-) 

For more info about Casa San Miguel, try clicking on:
or you can check their Facebook page

a work of art:
a (metal) mango chandelier by the sea!

Enjoy your enchanting weekends, everyone. :-)

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