Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar Day Tour – Thoughts and Tips
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a unique Spanish-Philippine heritage site located in the town of Bagac, Bataan. Its main attractions are 22 mansions built from the 17th through the 19th century Spanish colonial period. Some of them are replicas but most are originals collected from various parts of the Philippines. These “casas” which is the Spanish word for house, were carefully dismantled to preserve their antiquity. 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. But others came from various places like Nueva Ecija, Meycauyan, Tuguegarao and old Manila.
Most of the casas were named after the provinces or towns where they came 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, – named after 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 AM. The tours run for one and a half hours. They are led by experts 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 will 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 – A replica of the historical home of Dr. Jose Rizal’s family is one of the major attractions at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Efforts to relocate the original casa in Binan, Laguna were made, 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 1% of the original house survives.
Where to Eat
There are three restaurants inside the resort, however they are quite pricey. Unfortunately, there are no cheaper alternatives since the site is located on a peninsula at the far end of a small village. An average single serve, rice meal would cost around 350.00 PHP. An ala carte dish good for two would range from 350.00 PHP to 700.00 PHP.
Moreover, during non peak hours the menu options are limited and it can take awhile for your order to be served. If you can place an advance order prior to exploring the site it may save you time.
Suggested food budget per person for a day tour: 800.00 PHP to 1,000.00 PHP
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is the perfect get-away for culture vultures and sun seekers since it’s conveniently located along Bagac Bay. If you arrive at the site early, you can do the walking tour in the morning, explore the casas near the beach which are not covered by the guided tour, then reserve the latter part of the day for some beach time.
The regular day tour costs 1,500.00 PHP. This includes admission to the site, a guided tour and refreshments. For the resort’s latest offers check out this link. You can also contact the resort at their Manila office at these numbers, 63 (02) 877-4501 to 02 or 0917-872-9361.
Occasionally, the site management offers Metrodeal day tour promos. So you may want to check on metrodeal.com once in awhile for updates.
A free shuttle picks-up and drops-off passengers around the site which is very convenient since an hour or two of walking under the sun can be very tiring. The jeepney makes its rounds continuously and intervals can be anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
On a day tour you’ll have enough time to appreciate the historical architecture and beautiful countryside views in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Do take these tips with you to make the most of your time at the resort.
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