I was never a history buff but I adore beautiful things. So when I visited Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan, I was fascinated on the aesthetic appeal of this huge outdoor living museum filled with heritage buildings and more. We had a guided tour but I yielded and went exploring on my own.
|Paseo de Escolta|
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is the brainchild of construction magnate Architect Jose Rizalino “Jerry” Acuzar. The heritage park features centuries-old houses from the country. Almost all of the structures here are the actual ones from the ceiling to the walls and the flooring. The arduous and passionate task to collect and rebuild started in 2003 and was opened to the public in 2010.
The main attractions are the 22 mansions (that are still growing) from the 17th to 19th century. They took down the mostly neglected houses in a very orderly manner and the meticulous process of rebuilding was done in precision to what its original state was. Each brick, tile, window and door was carefully sorted to finally reconstruct everything to its former glory thus, making this heritage park a one-of-its-kind in the Philippines.
Aside from it being a heritage park, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar also has accommodations (check rates), pool, beach, spa, restaurants, cultural show, heritage tour, conference and banquet facilities and more. A day will not be enough to tour around.
It was ten in the morning as we approached the entryway to the heritage city. Cobblestone paths welcomed us as we stepped into an old house cum front office of the resort. It was extremely hot but the cool sea breeze revived our souls.
We had the afternoon for the walking tours and as we gathered around the swimming pool area, the journey back in time started. The guide was very knowledgeable and answered to each and every question that guests throw at him. It was funny how some little secrets about history and stuff were revealed during the course of the tour (me not squealing it).
I got lost on how many houses we visited but the stubborn me went on the other direction in the middle of the tour and went around myself. Yes, you could do that.
A special tour on the newest Hotel de Oriente was done for the group. Originally in Binondo, this was a replica of the oldest hotel in the country that was destroyed during the war. Everyone was stunned as we stepped into the grand hotel/convention center.
Wood parquets, wood mosaics, wood panelings, wood carvings and more done in exquisite local craftsmanship. It was jaw-dropping. From the ceiling to the flooring and the walls, everything was done in precision. For this alone, seven local wood products were used; molave, kamagong, yakal, red narra, balayong, gamelina and bangkal.
And it was fascinating, reliving the past. I admire the passion and love of Sir Jerry for this wonderful gift to all Filipinos. This should be included in all field trips of the students. And I will be back. I will stay here for two to three days and explore each house.
My eyes were fixed on the Maranao’s torogan houses on an islet. It’s not part of the standard tours but seeing the real thing without going to Mindanao would be the icing on the cake for me. I know every detail of this unique house by heart, blame my research subject way back in college. If only they could let me stay there for the night…
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (book online)
Barrio Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan, Philippines
Contact Numbers: (+63) 2.546.9123 | (+63) 917.872.9371