Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar welcome at Casa Mexico
When In Manila, go on an out of town trip to some place nice but close-by like Bataan! Receiving an extended invitation for a trip to Bataan, I was thrilled for I have been stuck for a month in the Metro. New San Jose Builders Inc., a company known for their affordable condominiums, invited bloggers over to their company’s very own resort component, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan. I have heard of Las Casas Filipinas before but to actually be there is a privilege. Together with my perpetual “partners-in-crime”, co-writers Jo and Mark Tan, we headed for close to three-hour trip to this side of Luzon.
Marivent Restaurant at Casa Unisan of Las Casas Filipinas
After a tiring trip through Bulacan, Pampanga and finally, Bataan, we arrived just in time for lunch at Marivent Restaurant inside the historic Casa Unisan at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. After a simple lunch, we had sorbetes flavored with gabi mash and coconut milk for dessert. Impeachment Trial was about to end that day so we were immediately assigned rooms to rest and given time to watch. I was assigned a ground floor room in the Casa San Miguel, a six-bedroom ancestral house.
Las Casas Filipinas’ Casa San Miguel Receiving Area
Casa San Miguel is an ancestral house from San Miguel, Bulacan. The Las Casas Filipinas‘ developers did a great deal of restoration. The heritage house is spacious with a 12-seat dining table, 60′ flat screen TV, billiards table and believe it or not, two mahjong tables. Mahjong is actually a popular Chinese game during the Spanish era. The sillion de fraile is a furniture common to most Spanish-era houses which was handy for those who to recline their foot in a lazy afternoon.
Casa San Miguel Main Rooms at Las Casas Filipinas
Las Casas Filipinas management retained the old rooms in Casa San Miguel their former glory. Main rooms in the second floor have an old world feel but complete with hotel amenities like a safety deposit box, water heater and refrigerator. The bathroom meanwhile is modern complete with a hot and cold shower. Original stables and maids quarters were hollowed out and redesigned to have four rooms more. Unlike the main rooms, they have a relatively modern look and more spacious.
View of Las Casas Filipinas houses from Casa San Miguel
Casa San Miguel had the best view of all the houses since from the window, you can see the view of entire Las Casas Filipinas. In front was the iconic Casa Mexico, the clubhouse and the front desk area for the resort. Thunderbird Resorts, the same one running the resort in La Union, is the one running Las Casas Filipinas operations and management. Skipping the TV bum for the last day of the Impeachment Trial, I toured the whole areas instead and found my way to the beach area of the resort.
The beach at Las Casas Filipinas was facing the West Philippine Sea so it was windy with tall waves. First thought was surfing since waves were tall enough for amateur surf. Black sand may not be attractive to beach goers but a haven for shell collectors since the beach is littered with shells of different colors and sizes. I do not recommend walking barefoot on sand though since sand is very hot with it being rich in silicon, a heat conductor. I recommend standing against the waves, it is fun.
When In Manila co-writers Jo and Mark Tan at Las Casas Filipinas
Las Casas Filipinas statue collection of Philippine Mythical Creatures
The beach front is littered with head carvings which carved from the volcanic boulders. Las Casas Filipinas owners found commissioned these works of art as they found plain boulders passé. Philippine folklore comes alive as statues of mythical creatures like the tikbalang (Philippine centaurs), engkanto (nymphs and ghouls), shokoy (mermen) and other kinds of nightmare creatures adorn the bridge to the beachfront. Who among us would not be afraid of them in our childhood?
Las Casas Filipinas tribute to Lola Basyang near Casa Lubao
Statues of Traditional Filipino Games at Las Casas Filipinas
If you have heard stories of Philippine folklore and mythical creatures, most likely you may have heard of Lola Basyang. Las Casas Filipinas commissioned a bronze statue of Lola Basyang with the children as a tribute, along with the statues by the bridge. For those who do still believe in aswang, tikbalang and shokoy, do not worry for there have been no sightings of these creatures. Pleasant statues of children playing traditional Filipino games litter near Plaza Belmonte for your appreciation.
Las Casas Filipinas Tour Guide with the statues near Casa Bizantina
Casa Binondo III, nicknamed Casa Bizantina at Las Casas Filipinas
Las Casas Filipinas tour is a must but since the Impeachment Trial ended very late, everyone decided to just take a tour of Casa Binondo III, nicknamed Casa Bizantina. It was named Casa Binondo III since it was the third heritage building relocated from Binondo, Manila while it was nicknamed Casa Bizantina because of its Byzantine-inspired murals. Tallest and most ornate among the heritage buildings, it houses Las Casas Filipinas luxury rooms with a full butler service for guests.
Las Casas Filipinas Byzantine-Inspired Murals at Casa Bizantina
Don Lorenzo Room at Casa Bizantina in Las Casas Filipinas
Ornate murals line the walls and the ceiling of the ground floor with gold leaves decorating the pillars. For those renting the whole house, cocktails and dance balls are usually done in this floor. When we went inside, a restoration work is under way for another mural. Don Lorenzo del Rosario Room is situated in this floor. Don Lorenzo is a luxury room with a canopy bed and a spacious bathroom. The room is dimly-lighted, good for couples on honeymoon, if you know what I mean here.
Mid-floor Hallway of Casa Bizantina at Las Casas Filipinas
Las Casas Filipinas Binondo Room of Casa Bizantina
Casa Bizantina‘s second floor houses the cheaper but not less glamorous of the luxury rooms. The hallway is an immense space deliberately lacking in furniture with only a centerpiece galleon in the middle. To the left of the hallway are two rooms while on the right is another room and a stairwell to the third floor rooms. Vice-President Binay reportedly stayed there for a private time with his family while President Aquino also stayed as well but they did not reveal which rooms were used by them.
Las Casas Filipinas room tribute to Esteban de Penarubia
Antoni Gaudi Room at Casa Bizantina in Las Casas Filipinas
Binondo Room in itself is a showpiece of luxury but best rooms in that floor are Esteban de Penarubia Room and Antoni Gaudi Room. If you are wondering who Esteban de Penarubia is, he was a Spanish military officer who laid out the urban plan for San Nicolas, Binondo where Casa Bizantina was from. Who would not know Spanish-Catalan Antoni Gaudi? All fitting that Las Casas Filipinas named it after the Father of Catalan Modernism and Sagrada Familia‘s architect.
Casa Bizantina’s best: Joan Josep Jose Hervas y Arizmendi Room
Joan Josep Jose Hervas y Arizmendi Room’s Hermes Toiletries
Perhaps the most luxurious room in Casa Bizantina and even in the whole Las Casas Filipinas for that matter is the Joan Josep Hervás y Arizmendi Room. Señor Hervas is a contemporary of fellow Barcelon-Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi who actually stayed in Manila until the end of Spanish rule. The room is also the biggest which boasts of a 21sq.m. bathroom with two tubs. Inside the bathroom, all the toiletries are not only elegant but also complete with Hermes brand toiletries as well!
Las Casas Filipinas night lights of Paseo de Ecolta and Plaza Belmonte
Las Casas Filipinas Welcome Dinner near the statue of Lola Basyang
If Las Casas Filipinas and the twenty-seven heritage houses are already beautiful in the day, wait until night time. Plaza Belmonte, the main square of the resort, is an array of lights from the various houses surrounding especially Paseo de Escolta, the hotel building. As a tribute to the media, the resort arranged a welcome dinner for us by the bridge, the same bridge adorned with statues of mythical creatures from Philippine folklore which are lighted at night, creepy and beautiful at the same time.
Las Casas Filipinas singing duo: Kundiman Si Lolo, Si Lola
When In Manila writers enjoying the night at Las Casas Filipinas
While eating a heavy dinner of traditional Filipino cuisine, in-house singing duo, Kundiman Si Lolo, Si Lola, performed OPM songs. With everyone munching on that big piece of crispy pata or sipping a bowl of tinola, Roel Roma and Hazel Corpus, the singers, serenedad us with old songs that made the oldies among us reminisce their days. Walang Kapalit and the other OPM classics were sung once more with some guests singing. It was the best way to cap the day at Las Casas Filipinas.
When In Manila, escape the Metro hustle and rediscover Filipino heritage just three hours away at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan. In the second installment of this feature, join us in the heritage tour of replanted ancestral houses as we enter each one by one and know about their history from the majestic Casa Biñan to the simple Casa Cagayan.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Bo. Pag-asa, Bagac, Province of Bataan
Manila Reservation Office:
Mezzanine Floor, New San Jose Builders
Timog Ave., Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. Nos.: (+63 2) 332.5338/ 355.3032
Fax No.: (+63 2) 332.5286
WhenInManila photos by JoTan23 with República Negrense.
Link: Las Casas Filipinas – Day Two