Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Glimpse Of The Past At Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar

When I was still studying, one of my favourite subjects is History, specifically Philippine History.  What others find to be boring, I find to be exciting. Does this mean I am boring? Hahaha! Hopefully not.  

I remember having a blast in the streets of Vigan which is famous for their ancestral houses.  There was this certain eerie feeling I get when I look at old houses.  It's as if somebody is going to peek thru those closed windows and instead of being scared, I sort of hope that somebody would.  Weird, but maybe I was thinking that if ever I'd see ghosts, they would be in the likes of Maria Clara and Jose Rizal. 

I wanted to go back to Vigan and get to enjoy a bit of our history again but we just didn't have the time for the long travel. Good thing there's one place near my hometown (Balanga)  where you can also get the feeling of being transported back in time.  Where else but in Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a heritage park and an open-museum located in Bagac, Bataan which was opened to the public last 2010.  The park showcases a collection of 27 spanish colonial buildings and stone houses that were dismantled from its original locations in Manila and other places in the Philippines. These buildings were dismantled brick by brick, then transported to Bagac, and then reassembled and restored. 

We initially planned of just spending an afternoon for the heritage tour and then have dinner after but Mom decided to spend a night in Las Casas.  Since we came with a registered member, we got a 25% discount. Not bad, huh!?

Casa Binondo

Paseo de Escolta

Our room:

The "casa" we got is a 2-storey with one bedroom and a loft.  The first floor is a living room with a toilet and bath, and then the second floor has 3 beds in total.  One bed on the ground and two beds on the loft.  We were 5 plus a driver and the place was just so right for the 6 of us.  It also includes a breakfast for 6. But not a breakfast buffet though.

Our view from our windows

Our toilet and bath on the second floor

We arrived around 3PM were supposed to join the last batch of the Heritage Tour around 430PM, but we were so tired we napped until past 5.  Besides, my sister said that the tour is just so-so.  It was her 2nd time already and when they did the tour before, she said there was nothing really special.  So we decided to tour the place ourselves after our nap.

The Pool Area

In front of the pool area is a "bar" where guests can have their welcome drinks. I'm not sure if you can also order food and other beverages.
This reminds me of Lola Basyang

The famous replica of Hotel de Oriente (the original was built in Binondo in 1889) where APEC meetings were held last June. 

Not sure if Las Casas is going to come up with their version of the Gondola ride.

If you're Pinoy, you should definitely be familiar with this scenario above.

Houses at the beachfront

Las Casas have roaming Katipuneros too!

We finished our DIY tour around 7 and we were already famished, so we went directly to dinner.  We had dinner at Marivent Cafe which I think is their only restaurant at the moment.

Beef Salpicao, Beef Caldereta and Pinakbet

Food was good, but the Salpicao was the best!  My sister had it during her first visit and she loved it so much so she wanted us to try it as well.  Super sarap.  Best salpicao I've ever tried, I must say! 

The  prices are quite steep, I remember the salpicao costs around Php500-600.  If you are on a budget, you might want to think twice if you want to have dinner inside Las Casas.  

After having dinner, we went straight to the pool for a quick dip. We were quite hesitant at first, thinking that the water might be too cold but it isn't.  I'm not sure if it's a heated pool or something but the temperature is just so relaxing.  I felt like I could go straight to bed and have a good night rest.  Which of course I didn't, I needed to shower first! 

By 9PM, we were already back to our casa.  While Mom was taking a bath she realized that the water heater broke and so we called for maintenance. They did come and tried to repair it but ended up replacing it with a new one. I thought they will just send us to another room or worse, just say they are sorry but there's nothing they can do about it.  But yeah, kudos for the Las Casas' staff for making sure that everything is back in order.  

There were no TV nor radio in the casa, so if you are used to having them to lull you into sleep, then you might have a problem. It was no big deal to me though, as I am not a tv-person myself.  All I need is my cellphone and I'm good. 3G signal is not as strong inside our casa, but I didn't have problems getting connected online.  Thanks, Smart! (wink)

Overall, I enjoyed our stay in Las Casas. There are still a lot of construction on-going and maybe in a year or less than a year, the place will be fully operational. Too bad guests are not allowed to come inside the Hotel de Oriente. Maybe in time, they will allow the public there as well.  There's also a church being built, and honestly, I would love to have our church wedding there.  I don't know, I just feel like it will be so surreal.  

Hopefully when the place becomes fully operational, they will come up with activities at night.  Like zarzuela or something, to keep people entertained.  I mean, it can get pretty boring after you're done with the tour and dinner and you have nothing else to go but your room, right?  Though I'm also thinking that staying at Las Casas will be a great staycation for those who would want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  The place actually reminded me of The Hidden Valley in Quezon where you would have nothing else to do but sleep, eat and roam around.

I also wish that in time, they will come up with a studio where you could rent clothes and have your photos taken as souvenir. Wouldn't it be nice to see yourself looking like how our great, great, great grandparents looked like? It's my dream to dress ala-Maria Clara, you know.


Package 1 (Set Meal): Php1200/pax
Package 2 (Buffet Meal): Php1500/pax

NOTE: Guaranteed minimum of 30 persons required to avail for the buffet arrangement

Inclusions of the Day Tour Rates:
welcome drink, guided tour of the heritage houses, entrance free and use of beach area,
1 lunch, 1 afternoon snack, 2 tetra-pack juices and 2 bottles of mineral water, vicinity map


Option 1: Entrance Fee with snacks, Php850 per adult/ Php425 per child
Option 2: Entrance Fee only, Php685/adult and children 5yrs old and above (toddlers are free of charge)

For more information about Las Casas and their rates for the rooms and their other offerings, click  here.

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