Las Casas Filipinas: Cast into the 18th Century

by - 13:14

Merry Merry Christmas to you all!! :D Just recently, in celebration of my parents' 29th anniversary, my family and I took an overnight trip to Bataan, specifically to a resort named Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. The resort, still in the process of completion, is a fantastic collection of 18th century Spanish-style houses, true replicas of structures found scattered across the archipelago. 

The place is about four to five hours away from Manila; we left the morning of the 18th and arrived at the resort in time for lunch. The journey itself was incredible; the Philippines has such a beautiful countryside, it's amazing to think that such greenery exists when you've only known city lights. 

The lahars of Mt. Pinatubo; my first time to ever see volcanic lava!
Mt. Samat and the Memorial Cross, built to commemorate the soldiers of the Battle of Bataan

Bataan is one of the Philippines' more memorable provinces; it holds itself as the site of the Death March, an event that took place after the Battle in 1942 involving thousands of American and FIlipino prisoners marching 60 miles (97 km), during which many died of starvation, exhaustion, and physical abuse by Japanese forces. Going along the grassy roads of Bataan, this did not occur to me until I saw signs indicating memorials. It was like stepping through time altogether, for Bataan is a simple province characterized by rice fields, stray chickens (one actually attempted to cross the road but retreated when it saw our incoming car), and one-storey houses (and the occasional McDonald's).

Approaching the gates of Las Casas completed the time travel; we were met with security guards decked in traditional outfits, and scurrying female employees draped in mestizo costumes. We checked in as soon as we arrived at the resort's quaint office, and then, after a heavy lunch and a few hours' rest, proceeded with a guided tour of the place:

The 'concierge' office
The calesa that took us from the restaurant to our house
View of the square; spot the security guard!
Our tour guide

The resort is named after the architect Reuben Acuzar, whose journey to find precisely such antiquated houses has inspired him to bring some of the more notable ones into one location in Bataan romantically situated by the sea. Most of the houses boast actual materials from their original structures, like creaky wooden staircases and old capiz windows; funny though, amidst the antique furniture you'll suddenly see a flat-screen TV or a split-type AC... it's literally like living in the past with the benefits of the future, haha!

The 2nd-floor living room (our family occupied an entire house)

More pictures of various parts of the place:

A miniature sculpture my dad and I spotted in front of the office

Modeled after one of the school buildings of the University of the Philippines

The panorama feature of my camera was perfect for the occasion; this looks like a pretty
 banner or bookmark actually!

The bridge connecting the resort to the beach; it has carved on one side sculptures 
of manananggal and tikbalang (two Philippine mythological creatures); soo creepy!
View from the bridge overlooking the artificial river, a house where someone or the other was murdered,
and the edge of the swimming pool (to the right)

After the tour we took a hearty Filipino dinner, and then we were off to bed - which I was a bit hesitant for, because of the mirror of the gigantic aparador in front of my bed; I just draped my mom's shawl over it so I wouldn't have to wake up and see something other than my reflection, haha! :P

On the morning before we headed back out to Manila, while the rest of the family went to scout the beach, I took the chance to sketch one of the houses:

And then we were on the road again, back through the greenery and into the noisy hurly-burly of Metro Manila.

It was an incredible experience all in all; if you get the chance, do visit Las Casas. For more information, visit their website here. :)

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  1. Why am I only seeing this now, late commenting right hurr. ANYHOO omg Bataan looks awesome! I don't know why, but I had this assumption/image in my head that it's just a mountain and a very grassy area. :| #forshame And of course you had to mention the house where someone was murdered. :)) Were you the only ones in the area? I also love seeing those kinds of houses. I know there's a lot in Vigan. :D Anyway, glad you enjoyed your trip! It's such a nice break from all the traffic, noise, and roads surrounded with billboards of Metro Manila, yeah? :D

  2. Hahaha, it's actually a lot of mountains, and a lot of grassy areas :)) And nope, there were other people staying at the resort too, but like just two or three families, and a couple :D That house where someone was murdered was the only thing that retained in my head during the tour, everything else I couldn't understand because our tour guide was speaking in rapid Tagalog =))

    And omgg yes, it was soo refreshing!! In the future we should all take a trip to these kinds of places! :D