Friday, March 15, 2013

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar - Out of the Ordinary Historical Trip

Why does one begin to write?  I was once asked.

Because she feels misunderstood, I guess.  Because it never comes out clearly enough when she tries to speak. 
Or maybe, because she wants to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently, so that everything is used and nothing is lost.
Because it's something to do to make every time worthwhile because she may never have the time anymore, until she is old to experience the things she writes about.
Much the same thing as why one travels, or why does one fall in love fell out of love and fall in love, all over again. 

I write not just to let everyone know how my life is spent, but more on how I am living my life and how anyone can live their own.  I began with my marriage almost found in ruins.

Like any marriages, mine shared a couple of bumps and bruises.   Attesting to the ever popular theory that time heals all.  It only takes the courage to move on and leave everything  behind except for those good memories that made you who you are.   In marriage, the words that goes 'it takes two to tango' is now passe. But the the good news is, it only takes one to love.  

The very same marital research has revealed negative escalation can be disrupted when just one partner chooses to do something different and new, this is according to Dr. Kelly Flanagan, a clinical psychologist.   According to him, it is up to each spouse, either partner can be the one to do the radically unexpected—to transform that hurt into a place of empathy.

Radically unexpected things may come in ways more magical than one can ever thought of.   One profound example is how my husband surprised me with a tour at an enchanting heritage resort, quite hidden yet from many Filipinos and one that needed to be discovered.
Let me take you to that tour.

The Tour to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

For four years in a row my husband never ceased to blow me away, with trips to celebrate our anniversary.  We decided that before we go out of the country we will first explore the Philippines in all its glory.  
On our 17th year of being married we went to Bagac, Bataan.  This time its only the two of us (no kids).

Casa Mexico (serves as the Reception area)
A long two-hour drive from Manila to San Fernando, Pampanga and another two more hours from Pampanga to Bagac, Bataan, isn't boring with  lots to talk about, will blog about  the majority of our talk  (about the death march and more on wars our country got involved in) soon, and much about the "Dambana ng Kagitingan" in Balanga, Bataan.

In a nutshell, this place has 27 heritage houses transported from different places in our country and rebuilt in this private property owned by Mr. Jerry Acuzar .  What used to be a private resort, with a vast collection of turn of the century buildings and ancestral houses known as "Ciudad de Acuzar", is now a showcase of what used to be true Filipino traditions and customs.   Situated along the shoreline of South China Sea which is partially separated from the beach with a river.
The 19th century experience was  a well-spent two day resort-hotel like weekend.  Will tell you more about our hotel in a different content.
Let me tell you how I marveled at all those artistically and tastefully done architecture, all from original blue prints and designs, which was uprooted and brought here plank by plank and rebuilt the same way as if it was preserved from its origin.
We began our adventure with a walking tour around the resort with a lady guide dressed in Filipiniana and spoke fluently in Tagalog.  She shared the specs, history and some endearing stories behind every houses.

The Casa Candaba, was used  in the 1970's epic movie,  Noli Me Tangere.  Still under construction with 10 rooms, is said to be transformed into a movie house at the ground floor.

The Casa Bizantina house is a 'bahay na  bato' (stone house) at the corner of Madrid and Penarubia streets in  San Nicolas, Binondo, built in 1890, and was created by Don Lorenzo del  Rosario which was a native principalia.   What used to be Instituto de Manila turned as a home for informal settler till it was demolished and bought in 2009.
The only house which has full butler service, with toiletries (soaps and shampoos that is) from Hermes.

Casa San Miguel The biggest house to be rented, 6 rooms below and two rooms above
Casa Jaen Dos
Paseo De Escolta.  A reconstructed  turn-of-the century colonnaded shop building with hotel suites on the second and third floors, offer a choice of Studio deluxe (5), Studio with Loft (8) and  (3) Executive suites/split-level apartment style of accommodation.  Apparently, the only new building, but was made to resemble old Escolta Colonial building, circa 1900.

Casa Cagayan from Cagayan province are houses near the shoreline.
Casa Luna, from Luna, La Union.  It  became the headquarters of United States Armed Forces in the Philippines, Northern Luzon (USAF-NL) where they planned the operations for the capture of General Yamashita.
Inside and on the second floor are some of the antiques collected by the owners.
Plazas and pocket gardens also dominate the whole territory with a lot of brass and stone artworks.
The La Piscina (Batis-inspired swimming pool)
Walking toward's Casa Lubao's facade.  Another typical bahay na bato, with wide capiz window.  This is also the venue for registering for the "Aliwan at Mga Laro ng Lahi."
The veranda of Casa Lubao
Even the ceilings were defined with very artistic in-lays.
The house was found at the heart of Lubao, Pampanga and may be linked to ex-President Gloria Arroyo's family.
Casa Binondo 2, is just one of the houses saved from Binondo...
Casa Meycuayan.  As the name suggests, like the others, came fro Meycuayan, Bulacan.
 Casa Baliuag 1, once served as the municipal hall of Baliuag in the 1950’s.

 A project is undergoing situated across a river, said to be like a Mangyan-type house.
The Casa Hidalgo also named as Enriquez Mansion.   The first campus of the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts with the owner, Rafael Enriquez as its first director from 1909 to 1926, before his death in 1927. It was also the first school of Architecture in the Philippines.

Young artists in the 1870’s used to train in the entrezuelo (mezzanine) of the house, notable among them were JUAN LUNA and FELIX HIDALGO. Later, outstanding artists who were products of the school included FERNANDO AMORSOLO, GUILLERMO TOLENTINO , EMILIO ALVERO, CARLOS FRANCISCO and TOMAS MAPUA.
 A tribute to the fiesta game "Palo Cebo."   The Casa Binondo 1 is behind it.
 Casa Tondo
 Casa Meycuayan

 The ornate stair of  Casa Mexico.
Please do follow the next blog ...After Sunset at Las Casas.
More photos...


The above photos show current constructions for more accommodation and facilities.


  1. waahh i've been meaning to go to bataan for this!!! i bet it would take me a full day or more to explore this place. the amount of effort put into building this is super admirable =) any other places in bataan to add to this as a sidetrip? syempre sayang nandun na e haha. di enough ang weekend? hehe

    1. You can also go to the highest point of Bataan, in Dambana ng Kagitingan, also I haven't mention in the blog that Las Casas can actually accommodate tours outside, like the ones in Dambana ng Kagitingan and visits to interesting places like the Nuclear Power Plant, Pawikan Conservatory Center and many more...check my ohter Bataan post...

  2. Wow! Blast from the past! I want to go to Bataan too!

    :) Erika

  3. There are many beautiful heritage houses in Bataan. It reminds me of my travel in Taal, Batangas and Pila, Laguna. Nice pictures and documentation =)

  4. Bataan is really a historic place, and it's full of heritage structures. Beautiful! :)

  5. Wow! Those look like enchanting historical places we can boast about to foreigners and tourists! :D

  6. I sometimes feel like I'm connected with the past whenever I visit historical landmarks such as those! Haha I better mark my planner now and set foot on one of those places! :)

  7. What a spectacular blog! I hope to have a house like one of those someday.

  8. Wow! I absolutely love this place! I visited this last year and I want to go back. Your photos are beautiful and made the houses look so clean and shiny! :)


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