Students playing the Bubble Song 





The use of music therapy can help people who are crippled by various cognitive and bio-psychosocial problems. It can also help to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities of various kinds. To date, except in one or two private places, there is no such service being offered in special education schools in the Philippines.  This is due to lack of music therapists who are qualified to plan, design, and implement such program.


According to Sister Ma. Anunciata Sta. Ana, Dean of SPUM College of Music and the Performing Arts, in 2013, St. Paul University Manila College of Music and the Performing Arts (CMPA) ventured to pioneer in offering degree programs in Music Therapy—Bachelor of Music in Music Education, with concentration on Music Therapy for Children and Youth with Disabilities and Master of Arts in Music, Major in Music Therapy for Children and Youth with Disabilities.


St. Paul explored the idea how to serve differently challenged children at series of orientation seminars in 2011 with faculty, students and parents, looking at possibly offering a full program in music therapy.  In 2013, St. Paul received approval from the Commission on Higher Education.  Seminars were given to faculty, DOH, SPED institutions and parents and caregivers of challenged individuals – not only children.  Seminars were held in Manila and Cebu at SPUM as well as one at University of Santo Tomas and in a hospital setting. 


“The interest in music therapy is escalating. The requests for seminars indicate the awakening need for music therapy in the Philippines,” said Sister Annunciata.  “Our enrollment in the Master of Music mushroomed in 2013 from 22 to 36, and in 2014 from 36 to 46, with enrollment still ongoing.”


It is significant that the SPUM Music Therapy Program has given St. Paul a competitive edge in Southeast Asia.  In the recent meeting of SEADOM (South East Asia Directors of Music), St. Paul discovered that out of the 30 or so institutions from 10 countries that were represented, only Mahidol University of Thailand and St. Paul University Manila offered Music Therapy. Thailand offers only the Master program while St. Paul offers also the Bachelor program.  SPUM executed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mahidol University so that together, they can fully develop the music therapy program to its maximum, Sister Annunciata reported. 


In May 2015, SPUM held the First Music Therapy Conference (SOUND OF HEALING) in the Philippines. Endorsed by Dr. Patricia Licuanan, Chair of the Philippine Commission on Higher Education and former president of the Psychological Association of the Philippines, the conference was part of SPUM faculty development, which was extended to parents and professionals who are handling differently challenged people.   The speakers/facilitators of the conference were Annette Asuncion, Elizabeth Flordeliza, and Marisa Marin, Sr. Ma. Evangeline Anastacio, SPC, University President, gave the Welcome Remarks. Sr. Ma. Anunciata Sta. Ana, SPC, CMPA Dean, gave the certificates of appreciation to the facilitators.  At the conference, internationally trained experts gave lecture-demonstrations on how to use music to help differently challenged individuals.  Music Therapy is the practice of using music to develop skills in children and youth with disabilities that will allow them to relate with other people more effectively.
















Elizabeth Flordeliza, Marisa Marin and Annette Asunsion with Sister Anunciata.


Services the St. Paul Music Therapy Center provides includes individual music therapy sessions, group music therapy sessions and experiential and educational services, such as workshops, in-service trainings and presentations about music therapy.   Donations maintain sponsorships of one or more individual music therapy sessions for a year, provide for a PT music therapist and funds group music therapy sessions for financially deprived children and youth with disabilities. 


Among the resources to the music therapy program, Annette Asuncion, an alumna of SPUM College of Music, is a visiting professor. She is a Master in Music Therapy and a National Board Certified Music Therapist in the USA, where she has practiced therapeutic work for 23 years. She comes to the Philippines twice a year to give courses in Music Therapy. 


Annette received a Maria Mota Scholarship and SPCM Alumnae full scholarship for academic excellence when she was in college. These scholarships have given her numerous opportunities and possibilities. She said that it was her time to give back towards such generosity.

“When I was in college, I stumbled into an individual with disabilities locked inside his room because his family did not know how to address his needs. I remember saying to myself that, ‘No one should live this way. He should be receiving the same rights as I have...the right to an education, a life with dignity & honor’,” she explained, “Then I read about Music Therapy, I decided to use my music skills to help the differently challenged and took my graduate studies at New York University for MT.”





Your donation to the Fluer-de-Lis Fund of St. Paul Manila Alumnae USA for the Music Therapy Center will help St. Paul maintain and expand its music therapy program serving faculty, students and bring the sound of healing people with disabilities in need ranging from increased mobility, improved communications skills, reduced anxiety and exploring personal issues.  


To donate:  Please make your check out to:  St. Paul Manila Alumnae USA, Inc. , Memo:  Donation

Mail to:  St. Paul Manila Alumnae, Inc.,    4 Park Avenue, #16G, NY, NY 10016


Or send your donation online to via Quickpay to:


NOTE:  You can set up a monthly donations schedule through Quickpay.  You will have to sign up on Quickpay but you do not need a Chase bank account to use Quickpay.  However you will need to know your own bank’s routing code (listed on your check).

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St. Paul Alumnae USA 

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