i love love places!
Casa San Miguel
San Antonio, Zambales
Since joining the FLOW retreat in 2009, I have been following the group's activities as they have infinite references on the many beautiful, artsy and calming places there are in the Philippines. And among the places which kept on haunting and nagging and tugging me until I finally visit is the breathtakingly beautiful Casa San Miguel. The two years of waiting did not disappoint. One Saturday in February, we finally spent a weekend for a post Valentine back to back with Alan's birthday celebration.
We were the only guests at that time but the place was bustling in energy and magic as most of the staff and the students of the virtuoso, Coke Bolipata, were busy preparing for a concert the next day. The Loboc Choir will be performing and it broke my heart that we cannot stay to witness their artistry as we had to leave early on Sunday. But just the same, the children playing with their violins serenaded us as we enjoyed our meals in an outdoor cafe with leaves falling gently unto us. Good thing there were umbrellas. Colorful Ones. Dainty Ones. I found myself bottling up the moment and keeping it safely in my heart only to open it up when my frustrations catch up on me. I found it useful just a week after when all I wanted to do was to stay in bed and cover myself up with my blanket all day, in tears. My weary heart took refuge from this beautiful memory and I couldn't be more grateful. Places like Casa San Miguel, a product of one's passion and love for his artistry, is a reminder that life is breathtakingly beautiful.
Adjacent to Casa San Miguel is the whimsical Pasilyo Bookstore. The place was closed at the time of our visit though we were allowed to take pictures. There were no books that Saturday but the colors and the intricate forms of objects found there more than made up for it. We were not aware that the house near the bookstore was off limits and is a private property, we have unknowingly trespassed it. I cannot believe that it is a fully functioning private home as it appeared to be a gallery of all things of splendor. How can one normally live in such a magical place? Imagine patches, tassels, sequins, the colors of Morocco, sea shells, chandeliers, teapots, drapes – things that do not really match but when put together create magic. It is pure Wonderland yet it is simply a home. I felt painfully average and inadequate with my plainness. Oh! I hope the owner does not mind if I post the pictures here. Promise, we did not touch more so took anything.
The Casa San Miguel Foundation was built on four pillars, Norman, our guide said: First is the music and the arts (they award scholarship to children in the community and provide artist residency). Second, the Museum. Third the Education (they run a Waldorf-inspired preschool). Lastly, the entrepreneurial side, the bed and breakfast and their outdoor cafe.
I end my post, with our favorite dessert offered by their cafe: the dark chocolate molten lava cake. My words are not inspired, I know, but I hope the pictures gave you a glimpse of how beautiful their place is.
All pictures are by Alan David (except for two: the picture where he's on it (obviously)
and the lava cake - which I took, haha!)