Casa San Miguel, Zambales
I love The Philippines where there are these pockets of awesome you find on a random road, an old community or behind a twelve foot gate. They are here, you just have to do a bit of digging. Lucky for us, some friends recommended dropping by Casa San Miguel since we were staying in San Antonio Zambales already. In short Casa San Miguel was started by the Corpus family to provide an art based education center to the local community. Filipinos never cease to amaze me. "What we are trying to achieve at CASA San Miguel is to establish a mode of art education and art production that is community-based, decentralize the urban areas as centers of art production, democratize art by providing a voice for the other Filipino, the common man who often, by geography, has no access to cultural programs." Casa San Miguel
Julian's Dream is most well known for it's polvoron and it is to die for! For 40php per piece it is worth it. If I remember correctly, the polvoron's represent a cloud that was part of Julian's dream.
We weren't able to eat at Backstage Cafe as it wasn't open yet but it has high reviews and a great looking menu. If you are planning to eat here you need to make sure you visit when it is open. The schedules are very specific and not open every day. It is outside seating and no air-conditioning but the ambiance cannot be beat. *They do offer gluten free options and gluen free bread depending on the day.
Pasilyo is a new section of Casa San Miguel created in the last three years. Pasilyo is this cool section with art pieces, restaurant and book stores. Definitely save time to spend here. This used to be the living space of Bolipata-Borlongans and displays many of their artworks.
The first photo I saw of Casa San Miguel was the VW tea and book room. It was this space that had me desiring to visit.
Because it is an art center there are many rooms for visual, musical and theater arts and performances. The museum and practice rooms are essentially in a large tree house. The tree makes its way up the building and from the practice rooms you are essentially sitting on large branches. Magic I tell ya!
The balcony is close to heaven if you ask me. Just a few degrees too hot but almost perfect.
Things To know:
The hours of operation were very erratic. I would absolutely call ahead and make sure it is open. Also, even just to enter the grounds you have to pay 100php. That bugged us a little because we didn't know and I wasn't going to pay 500php to enter and then eat at Julian's Dream. Seemed silly to pay a fee just to get to the restaurant. HOWEVER, if I had known ahead of time I would have been more prepared.
Casa San Miguel would be great for a meal and exploring for 1-2 hours.
There are overnight options for the bed and breakfast Casa San Miguel. Prices are from 5000-6000php.
You can read more about our stay in Zambales here.