Last March 8-9, we went to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar Heritage Resort in Bagac, Bataan. Aside from the fact that my uncle works there, the vintage houses and the beach stimulated my need to tag along in this short journey to the past.
Day 1. March 8, Saturday
Mom and I left Laguna at around 6:20am. We arrived in Cubao (Genesis bus station) at around 8 to 8:30am and met with my titas and cousin. Unfortunately we took the wrong bus. We were supposed to take the bus going to Balanga, but we took the Mariveles (with a sub-sign ‘Balanga’) bus instead. Along the way, there was a stop-over (I think it was in Orani na) for those passengers who want to pee, or in our case, for passengers who need to transfer to another bus.
So we waited for a couple of minutes (hindi naman ganon katagal) for another Genesis bus going to Balanga. It turns out, that bus was also in Cubao but we were led to take the Mariveles bus maybe so that it can leave early. Anyway, we arrived in Balanga at around 12:30pm.
We took a tricycle going to the coffee shop that my uncle suggested: The Beanery. I ordered Bacon and Mushroom Fettuccini and Strawberry & Cream shake for lunch. The serving was bitin (or maybe I’m just too hungry since I didn’t eat breakfast), but I still managed to satisfy my hunger with the dessert.
We finished eating (and chatting! Lol) and left the Beanery at around 2pm. We took another tricycle and went back to the Terminal where we rented a mini-bus going directly to Las Casas. (Note: I suggest you take (don’t rent, lol) the mini-bus going to Balanga. It only costs Php 47 per head.) The trip was fun because of the nice view of landscape and the relaxing countryside-feeling.
Finally, we arrived in Las Casas at around 3pm. We first went to Casa Mexico where the Front Office is located, arranged our reservation, and met with my uncle. We went to room 201 [in Paseo de Escolta] after and rested while waiting for the tour at 4:30pm.
Culture, arts, and history are the main concoction of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. The resort is filled with vintage houses built in as early as 1800s. The houses, from different places in the Philippines, were dismantled brick by brick and were reconstructed in the resort.
Casa Vyzantina is the largest of the vintage houses that can be rented in the resort. With its huge 3-storey area, this casa was once a home for 500 squatter families in Binondo before it was transferred in the resort.
Even though we only saw the ground floor, this is my second favorite of all the houses in the resort [second to Casa Binan]. It caught my attention because of its rich interior design and the chandeliers. It is also designed with mosaics on the walls and ceilings, making it the most colorful house in the resort. So even if it was originally built in 1890, it was the only house where I felt alive. Maybe the colors and the fact that it sheltered hundreds of families made this house less creepy than the other houses.
Paseo de Escolta serves as the hotel that caters the tourists and visitors of the resort. It also has stores and antique shops on the ground floor. This is where we stayed during our visit.
Casa Luna is one of the houses that serve as a museum. What caught my attention was the volada. It was a part of the house where the aliping sagigilid used to pass through to attend to their masters’ needs. I learned that they were not allowed to ‘interact’ with their masters directly, and it was the aliping namamahay that intercedes between the two.
There are a lot of items inside that describe the way of living of the early Filipinos. Examples are the early flat iron, tobacco holder, the tampipi [Chichay lang ang peg haha], etc. Sorry I wasn’t able to take much pictures, as I am too immersed with the explanation of each item. Lol~
Casa Cagayan is an example of a typical house of early Filipinos. If I’m not mistaken, these houses were usually found near lakes. The area underneath the actual house serves as the pahingahan (resting place) or as a livestock pen.
The next house that we visited is a very familiar house, Casa Lubao. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve seen this house in GMA7’s Zorro [I think this is Lolita’s home]. Anyway, the house has a very relaxing ambience thanks to its panoramic seascape and cooling ventilation sources.
I suddenly remembered our bahay kubo in Bulacan. It’s not as big as this house, but it also has the same calming effect coming from the ventanillas~~~~~~
The next abode that we entered was the ‘Hogwarts-lang-ang-peg’, Casa Quiapo. If I remember it correctly [senior moments, sareeh], this establishment was the first building of Fine Arts in University of the Philippines Manila. There is an off-limits part of the building which is said to be used as a place for abortion. Creepy, huh?
The building is also famous for it is where some of the scenes from Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story was filmed. My favorite element of Casa Quiapo is the original pillars of the building. I like the feeling of touching those pillars, for it seems to be taking me back in history.
The last house that we were able to enter was Casa Binan. This is my favorite of all the vintage houses in the resort. Why? Aside from the Italian restaurant located here, Casa Binan is from my home province: Laguna. It is the residence of our National Hero’s mother: Teodora Alonzo.
Casa Binan, according to our tour guide, is the most controversial house in the resort. First, is the issues concerning the house being a National Heritage and should not be taken from Binan. Thus, the original house remained there and only 1% [not so sure about this info, senior moments ulit] of the house was moved. Anyway, Casa Binan in Las Casas was constructed exactly the same as the original one.
The second issue involves an event that took place inside the residence. The story cannot be found in history books and is quite long to elaborate, so I suggest that you come here and discover it yourself. Haha. Too lazy to type~
The house is really really huge, another evidence that Jose Rizal is from a well-off family. As of now, I think Casa Binan will be opened as a museum anytime soon.
We finished the tour at around 5:30pm, 30 minutes before the cultural show. Usually, the cultural show takes place in front of Paseo de Escolta. But since there was a wedding [ang ganda nung wedding, promise. Naka kalesa pa yung bride hihihi. OM.], the cultural show took place in the Lola Basyang area near the bridge.
The dancers performed a variety of traditional Filipino dances, but my favorite is the singkil. I specifically love the way the dancers performed. They were all smiling and dancing vigorously and gracefully. My heart also raced during the sayaw sa bangko performance. Parang napapalukso din ako sa bangkong kinauupuan ko habang nanonood.
After the performance of the Las Casas dance troupe, Kundiman si Lolo, si Lola followed. The duet showcased old Filipino songs [Kundiman]. Too old, maybe, that I can’t even remember the titles. Haha!
After the cultural show, we indulged at Marivent Cafe, located at Casa Unisan. They serve authentic Filipino cuisine that will definitely satisfy your tumblin’ tummies. I was too hungry to document what we ate, but all I can say is… yum, yum, yum!
I’m a carnivore, so I’m not really fond of eating veggies, but I still managed to eat their pinakbet. Ganon sya kasarap, guys. One serving is good for sharing, so it’s really sulit. The menu is quite expensive but it’s worth it.
The best part of the dinner is the fusion of delicious Filipino food and music. Lolo and Lola serenaded us with their heartwarming music. The best thing about their performance, this time, is that you can request for any song. O diba. Define sulit.
After the heavenly delicious meal [and the chikas for dessert], we went back to our room and ended our day with fulfilled hearts and tummies.
Please click here for Part 2. Thank yoouuu~