We could come home to it again and again and it would welcome us with open arms despite anything that’s happened in the past. That is home. That is Casa. Casa San Miguel of my dreams and now, yours.
This time around, it’s twelve kids without their parents. Only one Mom came and she graciously helped us record everything in photos and videos so that parents back in China can be assured of how well their children are cared for, and more than that, how they are having a rollicking, crazy good time frolicking in the beaches of Zambales, catching tadpoles in the pond, directing a surprise for their fellow camper, making puppets come alive, chilling out with Lego and the piano, riding the Pinoy tricycle, eating pizza, biko and suman, and going round Coke’s mental and physical labyrinth.
In my over 20 years of visiting Casa and its surroundings, I’ve never been to Anawangin Cove and this time, we took the guests there but it’s probably not the pretty, pristine cove it was way back then. We took the boat to Capones which still rule our hearts because we can own the island for the afternoon and pick shells and tiny bits of coral as much as we want. Even if we can’t swim or safely ride the waves like in Anawangin, it was enough to feel like ship wrecked adventurers on our very own island.
A 3-minute tricycle ride plus a good sand trek away from Casa, we also had an afternoon swimming in the river with it’s fresh, unsalted, calm waters in sharp contrast to the salty ocean with powerful waves just parallel it and with merely a sandy strip dividing the two bodies. Nature is a miracle worker.
Dingdong from SPIT Manila facilitated the process of drawing stories from the children which were then translated into shadow play through the guidance of Taj. Camile, Francis, Danise and Maebel joined the fray, gently coaxing the storylines out of the kids and even coming up with their own wacky presentation. It’s amazing to see how shadow play stamps out inhibitions and brings out confidence as you remain hidden behind a screen. After a day and a half of workshops, the kids jumped into performance which brought out enthusiastic voices. After garnering the applause and bowing on stage, the kids went behind the screen and continued weaving their own stories and dialogues like what they do in free play.
Read other articles about Casa San Miguel:
And you can watch this on Youtube: The Story of the Filipino: Coke Bolipata
Look at Casa through the lens of Hero’s Journey 2017 and 2018 and you see the big difference in the structure. Coke, ever the genius creator, added a bold, radical roof with green wall and hanging woven lamps, pushing boundaries all the time. I know there are people who miss the iconic silhouette but it always makes me wonder what Coke will cook up next.