June 19, 2018, 8:01 pm
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A talk with Coke Bolipata

Monday this week, the Erehwon Foundation group headed by Raffy Benitez motored to Casa San Miguel in the town of San Antonio, Zambales to learn from multi-awarded violinist, Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata on his experience in running and managing his “successful” foundation.

During our informal conversation, we surprisingly learned that Coke underwent many problems to keep his advocacy “alive”. The cost of maintaining Casa San Miguel, up to this date. is staggering. Because of   high prices   the number of potential benefactors has lessened.

Coke Bolipata looked into other avenues by which he could raise the money to keep Casa San Miguel going.  One source of income today is the Backstage Restaurant where guests can eat well prepared and tasty “health food” using recipes of no less than Coke himself.

In front of a fountain and surrounded by huge mango and duhat trees is a hotel.  For those who love traveling the “simple way”, one cannot ask for more…..it is extremely relaxing; the linens  are clean; and the flow of the water in the toilet and shower  guarantees a truly refreshing feeling. 

The room is equipped with a large television; beds   are truly comfortable; and  heavy curtains that allow longer sleeping hours.    

The “openness” of Casa San Miguel is what keeps the place secure. In the morning, one hears the chirping of a community of birds. During later hours in the morning until dusk, the sounds of violins, violas, and cellos fill the air.  This is what makes Casa San Miguel magical!

Like the view of the setting sun, the music produced by a large number of youngsters, individually perfecting their artistic craft is remarkable. 

Personally, I think Coke Bolipata is himself remarkable. He believes the Filipino is innately a talented musician; and not only has he brought the arts closer to his community, he has given his students and scholars a h-o-m-e.

Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata’s persistence to hone the young and the talented makes him a precious gem.  As he does things “for others”, Casa San Miguel  will live; and will always be blessed. 

I feel most privileged to have met such an inspiring gentleman from whom we had learned so much during our short stay in Zambales!!!

Mabuhay ka, Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata!


The youngish impresario, Martin Lopez, sent information about “Musica FEUropa, the annual choral festival and competition of Far Eastern University done in collaboration with the European Union in the Philippines, is set to make history with some of the best choirs in the country battling in the newly re-opened prestigious FEU Auditorium.

“On its 10th year, the celebration of Filipino and European music and culture returns to its original home, the FEU Auditorium. The country’s cultural center since the 1950s continues to feature local and international performances, including the seventeen choirs who will participate in this anticipated music festival.

“We envision a bigger and bolder 10th run of Musica FEUropa. We are happy to be hosting the competition back in the place where it all started,” says Musica FEUropa festival chairman Karl Angelo Tangco. “For the past two runs, we had to move to the FEU Chapel due to the renovation and retrofitting of the Auditorium. Now, with upgraded facilities, the venue will provide the participants and audience an exceptional musical experience.”

“All competing choirs will perform two songs, one from any EU composer and one from the Philippines. In the last nine years, the competition has featured a wide range of classical, contemporary and challenging melodies in different European and Filipino languages. 

“The internationally-recognized choral festival welcomes respected and renowned musicians as this year’s adjudicators. Joining the roster are Mark Anthony Carpio, choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, internationally-published composer and arranger Jude Bautista Roldan, University of the Philippines Singing Ambassadors founder and conductor Dr. Ed Lumbera Manguiat and two-time Choir of the World Grand Prize winner Prof. Fidel Calalang, Jr. of the University of Santo Tomas Singers among others.

“Musica FEUropa 10 competition dates are on May 26 to 27, 2018. Admission is free. The Grand Champion, first runner-up, and second runner-up will each receive a trophy and cash prize of P100,000, P30,000 and P20,000, respectively.

“For more information, please visit musicafeuropa.comand follow Musica FEUropa on Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram. You may also call (632) 849 4145 or (63) 9976043913”.
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