Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar Day Tour – Thoughts and Tips
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a unique Philippine-Spanish heritage site located in the town of Bagac, Bataan. The site features 22 antique mansions built during the Spanish colonial period, from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
Some of these mansions are replicas, but most are originals collected from various provinces of the Philippines. These “casas,” the Spanish word for “houses,” were carefully dismantled to preserve their antiquity. Then, following a meticulous process, each brick, tile, plank, door, and window made the long journey to Bagac, Bataan, where they were reassembled to create what is now known as Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar.
The site was conceptualized by Mr. Jerry Acuzar, a businessman and developer whose passion for historical architecture had prompted him to build a site to preserve and celebrate Philippine-Spanish heritage. Many of the houses originated from Pampanga province. Others came from various places like Nueva Ecija, Meycauyan, Tuguegarao, and old Manila.
Most of the casas were named after the provinces or towns they originated from such as, Casa Baliuag, Casa Binan, Casa Escolta, and Casa Binondo. Translated in English Las Casas Filipinas means “Philippine houses.”
Because of the delicate work required on such a project, it took several years to construct. Initial work began in the year 2003 but the site was only opened to the public in 2010. It is a work in progress and to this day, additional villas and mansions are still being relocated. Also, developments are underway on a few beach-front hotels and the Sanctuario de San Jose or Church of Saint Joseph, a venerated Christian saint.
To fully appreciate the old mansions it’s essential to join at least one walking tour. There are several tours scheduled throughout the day starting at 8:30 a.m. The tours run for 1.5 hours. They are led by guides who can tell the story of each casa by heart.
During the tour, visitors are allowed to enter some casas which normally are not open to the public. These include Casa Binan and Casa Baliuag. The guides share valuable insights about the origin, forgotten history, and often shocking controversies surrounding each casa. The tours are conducted in both Tagalog and English.
Casa Binan was the historical home of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. Casa Binan is one of the major attractions at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. There were efforts to relocate the original house in Binan, Laguna. However, local protesters intervened. As a result the project was cancelled. Unfortunately, in 2009 Casa Binan was destroyed by Typhoon Ondoy. Now, only its replica which is composed of only 1% of the original house survives.
Where to Eat
There are three restaurants in the vicinity that serve a variety of Philippine and international food. However, they are quite expensive. Unfortunately, there are no cheaper alternatives since the site is located on a peninsula at the far end of a small village. Set meals cost around ₱350 to ₱380, while ala carte dishes range from ₱400 to ₱700.
Moreover, during non-peak hours menu options are limited. It can take between 30-45 minutes for meals to be served. Placing an advance order prior to exploring the site is advisable.
Suggested food budget per person for a day tour — ₱800 to ₱1,000
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is not just a treat for culture vultures, it’s also perfect for sun seekers. Fronting Bagac Bay, guests can enjoy some beach time after exploring the mansions. If you arrive at the site early, you can do the walking tour in the morning, then lounge by the beach in the afternoon.
The regular day tour costs ₱1,500 per person. This includes admission to the site, guided tours, and refreshments. Visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar for updated rates. You can also contact their Manila office at these numbers, 63 (02) 877-4501 to 02 or 0917-872-9361. Occasionally, the site also offers day tour promos on metrodeal.com.
A free shuttle goes around the site which is very convenient since it gets quite hot by midday. The jeepney makes its rounds continuously and the waiting time is between 5 to 10 minutes.
Touring Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar takes you back to 18th century Philippines. A period both fascinating and complicated, marked by extreme class systems, distorted religious ideologies, and a social awakening that led to the birth of a new and independent nation, the Philippines. If Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is your next stop, remember the tips above to make the most of your historical adventure.
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