My best friend and I both wanted to do something different from our usual catch-ups, which mostly involve eating out in a restaurant within the city. We wanted a weekend getaway not too far from Manila and one that offers activities that we haven’t done together yet. While considering these, we had thought of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar almost instantly. It ticked all the boxes on our mental checklist. I’ve also seen how beautiful it is in the photos of my social media friends so I wanted to see the place for myself and learn more about its history. So we started planning our trip to the famous site.
Our Best Option
Now this said planning actually meant looking for a travel agency that could accommodate us for a budget-friendly price and on the dates that we’re available. After days of checking, we found Wander World Travel and Tours on Facebook and liked their offer as well as their itinerary for the trip.
P2,600/person = 6 persons in a room
- Round trip van transfers (Manila-Bataan-Manila)
- Diesel, toll fees and parking fees
- Driver’s fee and meals
- Overnight accommodation (Large Superior Deluxe – Beach Area)
- Guided tour of the Heritage Houses
- Entrance fee and use of the beach area
- Vicinity Map
- All taxes and service charge
7:30 AM – Pick-up at SM North (near Jollibee)
8:00 AM – ETD to Bagac, Bataan
11:00 AM – ETA Las Casas de Acuzar
Lunch (own expense)
2:00 PM – check-in, enjoy the beach, pool and view
7:00 PM – Dinner (own expense)
7:00 AM – Breakfast
8:30 AM – Guided Heritage Tour
9:30 AM – Free time ‘til check-out
12:00 NN – Check-out; ETD to Manila
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
The day came and we traveled to Bagac, Bataan. After less than 3 hours, we reached the place. As our van approached the entrance, I saw from a distance the beautiful Spanish-Filipino houses or casas. I suddenly got excited!
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a 400-hectare land – 26 hectares of which are developed – and is owned by Jose “Jerry” Acuzar. Jerry Acuzar is an architect who collected Spanish-Filipino houses with rich histories. He and his team carefully dismantled the houses from their original locations and restored them in what is now called Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. As of this writing, there are 55 houses in the area. 34 of them are original while the rest are replicas of the houses in Binondo, Manila. These beautiful casas, with their elegant style and structure reminiscent of the Spanish colonial era and with stories to tell, make up a great tourist attraction.
The first casa that we set foot on was Casa Manila. It’s a large 2-story house for receiving guests. The reception and breakfast buffet area are on the first floor. Check-in time was at 2 PM and we were there at around 11:30 AM so my best friend, Joms, and I first deposited our bags at the baggage area and went to the house’s back porch to take in the view and took some pictures.
We then joined our group on the second floor to have our lunch. On the second floor is Café Marivent which offers Filipino food. There are 6 cafés and restaurants in the area but Café Marivent is the nearest from the entrance; other restaurants are a jeepney ride away. The food in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is actually pricey. The cost of one meal per person is around P400-P600. I read on our room key card holder that bringing of food is prohibited and a corkage fee of P500 per person applies. On their website, it says you may only bring chips and bottled water.
Our House for 2 Days
After we finished our lunch, we headed to our hotel. There are free jeepney rides to get visitors to and fro the area. We hopped on one and after a short ride, were dropped off along La Puesta Del Sol. We then walked to Accesoria 12 where our room was located. Accesoria 12 is a large house with a design that’s both classical and Filipino. The room that our agency availed was large superior deluxe. It has two queen-sized beds plus two extra beds and a huge full granite bathroom. Once in the room, we decided with our roommates who gets which bed and settled our belongings. It was almost 2 PM that time and the next hours were allotted for exploration so after fixing our things, Joms and I headed out to have a tour of our own.
The place is beautiful. The houses, landscape, sculptures – they’re all visually appealing and charming. Walking through the area, I was amazed at the intricate details on every structure. The houses have attractive interiors that evidently depict a certain era or style. There were also brick bridges and plenty of paths covered with cobblestones. All these details and architecture make the whole place picturesque. I enjoyed taking photos of the houses and structures as well as the goings-on in the area. We also took advantage of the fact that the place is really Instagram-worthy. 😀
We explored the place the whole afternoon. The weather was cloudy at that time so we were able to have a nice, long walk. We checked out the beach, gazed at houses, watched parades and ate taro ice cream which was super delicious.
By 6:30 PM, we were at Hotel de Oriente to watch a cultural show wherein performers showcased some traditional Filipino dances like Tinikling, Singkil and Sayaw sa Bangko. Among all the dances, the Singkil was my personal favorite. 🙂 When the show was over, we headed to La Bella Teodora to have our dinner. The restaurant was already filled with guests when we arrived. The place was so busy that it took a while for a waiter to take our order and for our food to be served. So if you’re visiting on a weekend or at a time when there are plenty of tourists, I suggest that you decide in advance which restaurant to try and go there early to avoid the rush of people.
Heritage Walking Tour
The next day, after having our breakfast buffet at Casa Manila, we proceeded to take the Heritage Tour. It’s the activity that I looked forward to the most. Visitors get to go inside some houses (you must remove your footwear before entering a house) while a tour guide explains their history.
One of my favorites is the history of Casa Lubao. The house was built in Lubao, Pampanga in the early 1900s and was owned by Valentin Arrastia and Francisca Salgado. Once, a Japanese applied to become a driver for the family. Years later, when World War II broke, Japanese soldiers invaded the house and used it as a garrison. They were planning to burn the house down but was stopped by a Japanese colonel. This colonel turned out to be the driver whom Valentin and Francisca had been employing for 10 years. He was a Japanese soldier and a spy who pretended to be a driver. He spared the house from destruction because during his employment, the family showed him nothing but kindness.
As we went on with the tour, I learned some old Filipino customs and terms that I haven’t read about in books. The tour guide also told interesting stories that made me reflect on the kind of life people had during the previous eras.
Back to the Present
After almost 2 hours, the tour ended at Casa Biñan. It was time for us to go back to our hotel and pack our belongings as check-out time was in 30 minutes.
By 1:00 PM, we were on the road back to Manila. We left Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar feeling nostalgic as we took with us learnings and nice memories. Aside from the highlight of our visit which was the Heritage Tour, I’m also glad that during our stay, Joms and I were able to have a relaxing stroll while getting updated on each other’s lives. Overall, I think Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a must-visit if you want to be transported back in time and be reminded of the rich history and culture our country has or if you just simply want to do some laid-back activities and enjoy the scenery.
Note: There are actually plenty of things to do in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. To know more about this, you may check out their website. 🙂