Traveled : November 2015
They said that the Philippines is the ‘Pearl of the Orient seas’ and the ‘Venice of the East’ before the World War II. I find it hard to believe in. With all the pollutions and buildings in our country. It’s seems not true. But travelling in the past might probably possible.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar helps me imagine what was Philippines especially Manila almost hundred years ago.
November is my birth month and I want this month to be wonderful. And I can by going to places I never went before like Las Casas.
Also I think this is the right time for me to realize what happened to my life? Visiting the past will help me kinder all the failures, challenges and success I’ve been through . Thus, I was looking for a place to visit and remember one blog I saw last year about certain heritage park in Bataan where you can dress up like it was 100 years ago. Literally “The Past”. The name of this heritage park is Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
Las Casas is located at Bagac, Bataan . It is own by Gerry Acuzar also the owner of New San Jose Builders (One of the biggest construction company in the Philippines) . He bought this property to build a family house vacation for his family but his deep passion of restoring old houses and antiques later redirect him to start rebuilding spanish houses not just houses, ‘Mansion’.
Mang Gerry bought old houses from Quiapo, Tondo, Binondo, Pampanga, Bulacan and even Cagayan. They dismantled each houses brick by brick and reassembled and restored in the same order, you can imagine how detailed and the hours spent plus the financial investment needed. But I guess the financial is not the main concerned by Mr. Acuzar, I think his wealth is enough to support his project but his passion to restore every old houses and convert the place into Heritage Park is certainly amazing and inspiring.
We arrived in Las Casas around 3:00 pm after our quick trip to Dambana ng Kagitingan (See the details on the link) and welcomed by this Kawal and Kalesa .
I want to tell you guys a bit a secret during our check in, I’ve tried to cancel and refund couple of rooms I’ve booked because I’ve paid 3 rooms on which suppose to be for 12 persons but for certain valid reasons 9 of us can’t make it. They rejected my cancellation of which I think is valid one because of the terms to cancel was already lapsed, As Justin Bieber said on his song; it’s too late to say sorry. So, we just let it go and take some pictures in their office instead. And aside the 9 people will still need to pay me 🙂 . After taking some pictures and settled on our rooms, I realized I am wearing different slippers hahaha. Probably that is the reason why they didn’t allow us to do refund haha (kidding).
We have 3 rooms for 3 person haha . Each room is good for 4 to 6 persons with 2 Queen size beds with loft, sofa and spacious bathroom with bathtub. Plus free breakfast buffet, welcome drinks, cold towel and tour. Total freebies for us is 12 vouchers for all; meaning 12 buffet breakfast, cold towel and welcome drinks.Haha
Each of us had our own room. Mang boy who drives us also had his separate room. And it is Amazing ?!
After resting for couple of hours, we decided to have our late Lunch.
In this picture, we were walking on the way to the restaurant near the lake. If I’m not mistaken they called the restaurant ‘La Parilla’ .
We were really mesmerized on how Mang Gerry put all together this park from just a family vacation house to a Heritage theme park. They were still building a railways of course for a train and some portion of the park during the time we visited, I wonder now how this will look like. They also have ‘Balsa’ a typical boat as gondola in Venice. Now, I think I can say I truly believe that the Philippines or Manila in specific was the ‘Venice of the East’ 100 years ago.
By the way they have a Church . So if you want to have a wedding with earlier days concept plus glamor, why not have your fantasy wedding here. The price is bit expensive for me though but if you have a budget why not ? Right!
Dinner is serve ! Thanks for serenading us and singing a birthday song plus plus birthday cake 🙂
The price of the food is bit pricey with a budget of P350 per head or more. But I guess you are also buying the feeling of eating in a first class restaurant during 100 years ago.
Before we end the day, we went to their river like pool for a quick deep. Here are some of pictures we have on our way to the pool:
I’ve failed to capture pictures of the river like pool that night. But here are some we shooted during day time.
Good morning sunshine!
Hello buffet breakfast!
After having our first batch of buffet breakfast, Yes first batch ! hahaha . Because we have 12 voucher. We decided to walk and bike around the park then later comeback for our second batch.
Aside the heritage tour, accommodation and food you can enjoy other activities like biking, riding kalesa, boating,kite flying, old school games (sungka), billiards, dart, swimming and even dressing up like 100 years ago which is available for specific days mostly weekend , We failed to do this. Also at Saturday, you can enjoy their cultural show at night.
With still full stomach, we decided to give our remaining vouchers to the waiters in the restaurant. At 12 noon we checked out. Stayed for I think additional 4 hours for lunch, to view what’s the inside of Hotel de Oriente (replica) and joined one of the Heritage tour.
Hotel de Oriente
Mr. Gerry recreated a replica of Hotel de Oriente. The original Hotel de Oriente was built in 1889 by Don Manuel Perez Marqueti, the father of Luis Perez Samanillo, owner of the Perez Samanillo building in Escolta. It was a first class hotel and indeed, at one time was the only one in the entire archipelago. Don Perez Marqueti selected the site in Binondo at the Plaza Calderon de la Barca (now Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz). It was totally destroyed during world war II.
For more information on the history of Hotel de Oriente please click this Link .
They carved a replica of Juan Luna’s Spolarium. Even though its height is not as high in the national museum, still definitely it is huge with lot of effort to complete.
The staircase, I mean ‘STAIRCASE’ . I felt like Rose in the Titanic movie looking for my Jack. 😉
And the ceiling OMGosh , look at the details. Filipino’s artistry is truly to be proud off!
Even the Doors !
Our late lunch, Kain po ?
Our last itinerary for the day, Heritage tour in Las Casas. Each houses and mansions has it own story to tell. Our tour guy help us capture the story. He vividly described and told stories with humor that really entertaining for us. One story he said is about why we Filipino called the toilet palikuran ‘#bonding time’ . There is one specific place the creeps me out its the one they have from Quiapo. You need to be there to see, feel and hear the story about this mansion.
Also you can rent a house for I guess P150,000 for just one night ! Or rent one room if I’m not mistake almost P50,000 per night with louis vuitton toilet as I recall if I’m not mistaken . Unfortunately, we were not able to see the place because someone renting the whole place! Such a rich person ?! Maybe on the next visit we can see it.
For a meantime good bye for this wonderful place!
This place is a must to visit to not only for foreign tourist but for Filipinos also to bring back the stories of our past that we must treasure.
If you’re wondering on how to reach Las Casas, budgets and tips please click on this LINK
Thank you po for reading . If you have any question, I promise to answer it as soon as possible. Hope you will enjoy Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar as much as we did.
Thank you Ched and Kat for celebrating my birthday with me !