I was watching Noli Me Tangere, and I was amazed at how they recreate the setting of a community way back in time. Napaka realistic kako. This is obviously not made inside a studio. Parang mga tunay na bahay eh. I did some research and I found out that the movie was shot in an actual place. It is not just a movie setting, it is real. And I am surprised to find out that I don’t need to go farther than my hometown, Bataan, to visit this wonderful heritage resort and museum by the sea, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Located in my historic and beautiful hometown, Bataan, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar takes you back in time without the use of a time machine. Las Casas Filipinas lets you experience 18th-century Philippines through reconstructed houses, mansions and architectural pieces from all over the country. Through this method, they were able to build a village that will make you feel like you’ve been sucked back in time. Once you enter the main entrance, I was amazed at how it really feels like I’m back in the 18th century. The backdrop of Bataan’s mountains, the river that connects to the sea in the horizon, plus the rice fields that surrounds the area really add up to the whole ambiance of the past.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is owned by New San Jose Builders’ Jose “Gerry” Acuzar. The whole concept started when Gerry Acuzar decided to rebuild houses of historical, cultural and/or architectural values in his land property in Bagac, Bataan. The old houses were reassembled in the exact order they were dismantled. If a part of the house is missing, they replicate it in a way that it resembles the original structure, you won’t even notice it. It is a long and meticulous task that lasted for 7 years before the now heritage park was opened for public in 2010.
Architectural pieces of a bygone era, from different parts of the country, were reconstructed brick by brick, plank by plank. The noble-class mansions, wooden stilt houses, and a grand main building made of stone stand proudly in a village of cobblestone streets. To add up to the ambience, a backdrop of majestic mountains, expansive rice fields, and a running river that flows to the sea, are found in the vast property. Truly a 4-star accommodation unlike any other, this resort in Bataan is a living museum of Philippine heritage.
The traditional houses as hotel accommodations are the centerpiece of this 400-hectare estate about 125 km northwest of Manila. Even so, this destination resort does not lack in providing avenues for entertainment, relaxation, and recreation. It has the Napiya Spa, a swimming pool, private beach, gaming center, 4 restaurants, conference and banquet facilities, cultural shows, and heritage tours. Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar takes pride in giving you a glimpse of the past, reliving the age-old yet distinctive Filipino traditions, while providing the luxuries and comforts of contemporary times. – Las Casas website
Commuting to Las Casas Filipinas
You can go to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar from Manila through land or if you’re coming from Cebu or different parts of the country, you can travel by air directly to Clark Airport.
Manila to Las Casas Filipinas:
Traveling from Manila to Las Casa Filipinas is very easy. You can just ride a bus going to Balanga, Bataan. You can go to Genesis and Bataan Transit terminals located in Pasay, Cubao and Doroteo Jose (just below the LRT station). Balanga is approximately 125 kms. from Manila. Travel time is around 2.5 hours and fare is Php 200.
All the buses will have their final stop in the Balanga Public Terminal. From there, you can ride a jeepney to Bagac. The fare is Php 47 per person and will be around 45 minutes drive. Just tell the driver that you’re going to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, just in case. Once you’re in Bagac, you can take a tricycle ride that will take you to Las Casas Filipinas. The 5 to 10-minute tricycle ride only costs Php 10.
Another point of interest. On your way to Bagac, you will pass by Mt. Samat in Pilar, Bataan or better known as the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valour). This is another beautiful historical place in Bataan you might also want to visit. By the way, my hometown is Pilar, so I highly recommend this. There’s waterfalls and zip line in the area as well.
Advice for the Budget Conscious
Accommodation in Las Casas Filipinas can be quite expensive. If you’re just a small group of friends who just want to experience a day tour, you may want to consider other accommodation options. When we went to Las Casas, we’re with someone who’s from Bagac. He suggested that we rent a cottage with a room, CR and aircon in Fajardo Beach Resort. The resort is located just beside Las Casas Filipinas… they even share the same beach! This is way affordable than staying in Las Casas. You can even have your usual inuman sessions here. You can ride a tricycle just outside the main entrance of the resort going to Las Casas and vice versa.
Experience the Past
Once you’re in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, please do not miss the heritage tour. It’s for me the highlight of my experience there. The tour guide will walk you through various heritage houses and explain its history. It feels nostalgic going inside these houses thinking that each house is once home to people like us. Some heritage houses give me the creeps, especially the one where a family was massacred at the basement. I think that house now serves as a restaurant. Our tour guide is quick to say that all heritage houses are blessed after they were rebuilt, so you should not worry about paranormal activities! (Though that would quite an attraction in itself for me)
I also love the recreational area where you can play traditional Filipino games, like sungka. There’s also table tennis, darts, billiards and chess games. This is all for free. You can also lounge around or use the comfort rooms. Kids will love this area.
The pool area is designed like a river. It’s not that big, though, and can get pretty crowded. The beach is quite a walk from the pool area. The beach is beautiful! You can play volleyball there, too.
Here are some picture I took while in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. This is only a day tour, but it’s worth it and we’re able to explore the whole heritage park. I hope you visit this place someday and help our local tourism.
Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar
Brgy. Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan
Contact numbers: +63 2 332 5338, +63 2 332 5286, +63 2 877 4501, +63 2 877 4502