There are some places in the Philippines that I consider special. It's rare to find these places, especially in a country where culture doesn't seem to be preserved as much as it deserves. But somewhere in the coastal town of historical Bagac in Bataan, just less than 3 hours away from Manila, a resort is trying to change the way we look at our heritage. This is what makes Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar special.
It is indeed one of the most unique resorts you'll ever set your foot on. I have traveled all across Asia, and I am proud to say that nothing gets close to the kind of experience Las Casas offers.
Imagine, staying at ancestral homes imported from various places in the Philippines. They were brought here and reconstructed to their original glory in the hopes of preserving their heritage.
Las Casas does transport you back in time, in a setting that is dramatic as its landscape. Stone bridges, grand fountains, rugged cobblestone streets and wide open spaces create an entire ancient town.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar offer houses (casas) that can be rented out nightly. You can also book individual rooms in these casas upon your request.
Our room was in Casa San Miguel. We actually got the entire Casa Jaen but needed more rooms, so we were given the ground floor rooms of Casa San Miguel.
The rooms were spacious in San Miguel and had the standard amenities. The bathroom was surprisingly modern, albeit a little uninspired and bare. But at least it was functioning well and sparklingly clean.
The grandest of the houses was Casa Bizantina, a houses previously located in Binondo. It had 7 bedrooms in three floors, and the most expensive of all casas (can be rented out entirely for more than P100,000.
The rooms had more luxurious amenities, and you will really feel that you are part of royalty as you also get 24 hour butler service. I loved the mosaic frescos by the foyer and even the dining table that can seat 20 people.
Casa Jaen had 5 rooms, 2 of which were located in the ground floor of the casa. They had separate entrances, which makes it possible to rent them out individually.
The second floor had three rooms converging into a living space. It's really like living in an old house and you cannot help but feel nostalgic.
Because of all the history that goes along with the casas, the resort offers free guided tours of the entire place. Our tour guide was well versed with Spanish-Filipino history. It was a long tour, but well worth it. It's a museum and a resort in one stunning location.
There were even function rooms, where you can hold events, and even corporate meetings (there were white boards around). I can imagine bringing my entire company here, but I was worried they would be distracted by the old world ambience.
The pool was patterned after the batis, which is Filipino for a stream. Because of this, the pool had a very shallow depth, which was quite a disappointment, because it wasn't as swimmable.
But who cares about the pool, when there is a beach in the resort. I wasn't able to take pictures of the beach, but we swam in its sandy gray shores. I was pleasantly surprised that the water was clear and very inviting. I would never have thought that Las Casas would also be a beach destination. I just hoped they put up parasols and sun lounges.
The resort has two restaurants, Cafe Marivent and Taberna del Senor Pepe, the main dining hall at the other Casa Jaen. All day dining is available at Cafe Marivent while Taberna is more popular for dinenrs with cultural shows.
As of this writing, I have been told that an Italian restaurant has just been opened, which makes the place a culinary destination as well. There is also a panaderia and sometimes, they offer street food along Plaza Belmonte.
Las Casas Filipinas can make photographer go crazy over shots, from the details of the casas, to the sprawling natural landscapes and even stunning sunsets. I was amazed at the sunset during my last visit to the resort, as it painted the sky in purple and orange hues.
There is also the Paseo de Escolta, where you can find hotel suites on the second and third floors. The lower floors make up a row of interesting shops. There are deluxe studios, loft type rooms and executive suites in this turn of the century colonnaded shop building that looks amazing at night.
I could go on and on about Las Casas Filipinas, as there are so much more to explore. You can do almost everything here, and the old town feel will make you stay longer. Nothing will ever compare to Las Casas. It is perhaps the most unique resort in Asia. It is indeed a showcase of Philippine culture, which the resort made me feel proud to be part of. I think nothing, even our museums, will ever make you feel as immersed in our heritage as this surreal and nostalgic experience in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan
+632 332 5338
+632 355 3032
Over-all Experience: 3.5
IE Score: 3.58 (Good)