When you travel to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, be prepared to go back to a halcyon time made more real by authentic heritage structures.
About three hours from Manila, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan takes you on a nostalgic adventure to a bygone, albeit spectacular era, thanks to the transplanted edifices transplanted from their original settings, and meticulously reassembled in the resort’s 400-hectare grounds.
But guests particularly love the modern-day comforts and amenities that go with the the old world experience. There’s a pool with views of Bataan’s beachside, a game room, a small gallery that houses works of Filipino contemporary artists, and lots of romantic pathways where one can stroll leisurely in the early morning, or late afternoons.
Later, guests can relax in air-conditioned comfort at the various Filipino-themed rooms and enjoy Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s bucolic pace.
The resort’s staff are dressed in costumes reminiscent of our Filipino-Hispanic past, such as the guards dressed as “guwardiya sibil” while patrolling the property’s beachside strip.
Some of the houses are available for those who prefer more private lodging or special dinners and luncheons. The Hagonoy house, for example, can be booked for private dinners, and accommodate stay-in guests.
The Hagonoy house faces a winding river and the church, which still under construction.
Food for the soul
One won’t go hungry in the resort: Cafe Marivent serves Filipino-Spanish cuisine, La Bella Teodora is known for its Italian food (their brick-oven pizza is a must try), and Cafe del Rio is for those who prefer international contemporary cuisine. Grilled meats and fish, and standard favorites can be had in this charming restaurant by the river.
The Hotel de Oriente Convention Center is a reproduction of one of Manila’s most elegant hotels built in 1889 in Binondo. It was one of the first buildings to have a telephone.
Back then, people simply dialed 1 for Malacañang, and 2 for Hotel de Oriente.
Designed by then Manila Municipal Architect Juan Jose Hevas Y Arizmendi, the structure was destroyed during the war. The hotel’s modern-day reincarnation functions as a public space for banquets and private receptions and was the site for an APEC convention in 2015.
Casa Maranao actually refers to these two unique wooden structures that are typical of a datu’s home and are the only two structures from Mindanao. These well-preserved houses are from the 1800s, uprooted from Tawi-Tawi before finding their current address near Bataan’s rugged mountainscape.
Sculptures galore, quaint “boladas”
Folk-themed sculptures abound in the resort. This particular grouping of Filipino women going about their chores is by one of National Artist Botong Francisco’s apprentices, Mang Demar. Two of the figures—a mother and daughter—were inspired by owner Gerry Acuzar’s wife, Tess, and one of their daughters, Juvy.
Casa Mexico serves as the front office and receiving area. Bits and pieces of this house were found in a junk shop. The entire structure was reconstructed based on old photographs that still existed.
Casa Luna once stood in La Union and was owned by Don Primitivo Novicio, uncle of the artist Juan Luna, and his brother General Antonio Luna. Like the other houses in the resort, it features a quaint passageway called “bolada” that runs around the house’s sides for the “aliping sanggigilid.” Two types of servants served La Union’s wealthy households: The “aliping namamahay” were allowed inside the houses and came face-to-face with their masters, while the “aliping sanggigilid” were only allowed to walk along the “boladas.”
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar was developed by New San Jose Builders (NSJB) Incorporated. Aside from building high-rise towers in Metro Manila, NSJB specializes in condominium projects in Quezon City, Taguig, Manila and Valenzuela.
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