Music school provides healing space for aspiring artists in the Philippines

Deeply rooted in a fishing village on the coast of Zambales in the Philippines, Casa San Miguel was founded in 1993 by acclaimed Juilliard School-trained concert violinist Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata.

As an oasis for art, music, and Filipino culture, Casa San Miguel is the first of its kind. 

With a hybrid learning pedagogy consisting of learning and teaching, aspiring artists of all ages are able to develop their skills and form deep connections with one another.

Through a system of mentorship, 13-year-olds like Zildjian are encouraged to pass on their love for music to younger children. 

At San Miguel, everyone is welcome, “it is a therapeutic place for kids. It is also a healing space for artists.”

For Zildjian, half a lifetime at Casa San Miguel has cemented her love for playing the violin and teaching music.

“My day is incomplete without music. It is how I express my feelings and emotions”, she said.

Even as the school continues to train and prepare students for a spot at the top art and music institutions in the nation, Casa San Miguel’s primary mission is to help all children explore their passions and transform the arts into a medium of self-expression. 

After more than 2 decades, people continue to visit, teach, and reside at Casa San Miguel, making it a unique and important focal point for the intersections of art, education, music, and culture in the Philippines.

It is home to a vibrant hub of artists and music lovers of the next generation.