Shakeys Holds Manager’s Training at Casa San Pablo
Sykes Asia Goes Team-building at Casa San Pablo
Special Discounts on Conference Packages
Casa San Pablo Meeting Facilities
WEDDING INSPIRATIONS: Ryan and Christine's Wedding
Blue And White Wedding
Bountiful Wedding
Hacienda Wedding
Dining Hall Reception
Garden Reception
Pavilion Reception
Bed And Breakfast
Romantic Stay
Family & Balikbayan Escape

New Year Casa San Pablo Style


Master flutist Jay Gomez challenges my mom-in-law Vinya
Playing the classic "Ngayon at Kailan Man"
Rofel Brion read from framed copies of his poems

WE HAD AN IMPROMPTU New Year's Eve concert at Casa San Pablo. It was unplanned and unexpected and that made it even more beautiful. It seems that the creative energies we stirred up all through out 2012 attracted a pool of very talented guests on the last day of the year. Some were old friends, others we just met that day. Some were return guests wanting to spend the New Year with us again, others were there for the first time. But there was magic in the air, a creative vibration that could not be missed. So we rode with the wave and asked people to perform on the spot. The result was a enchanting evening of music, poetry, and song—the Casa San Pablo way.

It began with a challenge. Jay Gomez, resident artist at the Makiling High School for the Arts, master flutist, and a dear friend of ours, knocked on our front door and challenged my mother-in-law Vinya, our resident concert pianist, to a flute-piano play off. It had been a couple of years since they last jammed together, but they hit those notes together so wonderfully. The energy was infectious. 

Rofel Brion, a poet, 2012 winner of UMPIL's Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, also a very dear friend, was in the house as well. So I asked him if he could recite some of his poems. Because he had no copies of his poems with him,  he went to Casa San Pablo's Room 7, where his poems are permananently on display, took down the frames and read from them. His latest poem, he read off his FB page from an e-tablet. As always, his poems were heartwarming, bringing to life his reflections on the small joys of everyday life.

With Jay was his wife Rubylee Valente-Gomez, the principal of CCP's Ballet Philippines. Beautiful, charming, and incredibely talented, she had moved up from being principal dancer to head of the school. Her administrative responsibilities had forced her to set her dancing shoes aside for sometime, but with some prodding from fellow ballet teacher and dear friend, Carla Javier (who happened to be staying at Casa for the New Year as well), we were able to convince Rubylee to dance again. Carla and Rubylee performed an improvised dance that was so beautiful, several of us in the audience were moved to tears. Most touching was seeing Rubylee  break out of her comfort zone, drop any concerns about her weight, and give her all to the moment. They ended the dance in a tight embrace expressing their friendship, affirming the joy, and their love for ballet. Ruby Lee and Carla said dancing again, being on stage again, helped them get in touch with who they really are.

I had also learned that one of our guests, Helen Udasco, had once been part of a band that used to sing in popular music bar in Malate. I cajoled her into singing for us and borrowed a guitar for her. She was shy, at first, claiming she had retired—"kinakalawang na." But there was not much she could do as her  eight-year-old son, the darling Enzo, had already volunteered her. She sang,  Time After Time, so tenderly, we couldn't help sing along with her.

Most endearing were two lovely young girls. One of them, I overheard singing, as I was tidying up the dining hall. I thought I was hearing a recording, but realized it was one of our guests singing. I asked fourteen-year old Elaine to sing for us and she brought the house down. 

Ten-year-old Marianne was the biggest surprise of the night. Her mother had tipped me that she can sing and I am so glad she did. Marianne gave us an angelic rendition of "Think Of Me" from Phantom of the Opera. She had such poise, great stage presence, and a beautiful voice.

It was a beautiful way the end the year and to welcome the new one. Looking forward to more creative gatherings at Casa San Pablo in 2013.



Ruby Lee Gomez, Principal of Ballet Philippines, and Carla Javier, ballet teacher at Arts in the City, perform improv ballet
Our guest Helen Udesco wows us with her rendition of "Time After Time"
I read an excerpt from a book I am currently writing on Inay, the Azores-Gomez matriarch
Delightful Elaine. Our surprise discovery of the evening.
The lovely Marianne enthralls us
Jay accompanies Marianne