Do you have the urge about our history and architecture? If so, then a place in Bagac, Bataan will surely be eye candy for you!
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is an open-air museum and collection of old or heritage houses in the city of Bagac in Bataan. It is owned by José “Gerry” Acuzar and his fascination with the old Spanish colonial era mansions inspired him to create the open-air museum that started in 2003. Years go by and his collection started to gain numbers and the heritage park was later then opened in 2010.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar currently houses about twenty-seven (27) Spanish colonial-era buildings. The houses in the collection were chosen based on its historical value.
Each house or mansion was carefully dismantled and then transplanted to and from all over the Philippines. Each part of the old house is numbered and transported to Bagac for reassembly and construction.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar Walking Heritage Day Tour
Together with the tourism officers of Bataan Tourism and fellow bloggers, we had an exciting day tour at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. We are quite ecstatic as this will be the first time we are visiting the place that we have been planning for quite some time but wasn’t happening until this opportunity came. We’ll also tell you the possible side trips you could go to before or after your day tour in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
Before Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar visit
We arrived a bit earlier than expected from Manila because there was no traffic at all during that time. We left at around 8:30 in the morning from McDonald’s in Mindanao Avenue and we were able to arrive at the tourism office of Bataan by 11am-ish.
We had our lunch at Ima’s Pamangan located in Pilar, one of the quite famous restaurants in Bataan known for native Kapampangan and other Filipino delicacies. After having our buffet lunch, the team decided to drive to the KM 0 (Kilometer Zero) Death March marker. Not too far away is also the Philippine-Japanese Friendship Tower that’s also located in Bagac.
After visiting these historical sites, we’re then headed to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
Walking Heritage Tour in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Sneaking from afar, we are all excited to see the famous Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in person. You can see how the place and the area are well maintained and in good form. There also are people working on construction for an additional building near their reception area.
Our official guide, Ms. Tina, went over to the reception area and asked for our passes while we, on the other hand, started taking pictures in and around the area. After a short while, we’re all asked to join our guide on touring the vicinity.
A jeepney will be picking you up from the reception to the designated house where the tour will start. This experience is quite exciting especially if you are a foreigner.
Guided Tour of the Heritage Houses
Once you have booked your tour, you will be provided with a guide that’s knowledgeable on the houses they are guiding you in. If you are full of questions, you have the authority to ask your thoughts.
We started with Casa Lubao, a heritage house from Pampanga.
“Owned by the Arrastia-Vitug family and built in 1920. The house sat directly in front of the Lubao municipal hall. Before the Second World War, a Japanese man came to work as a driver for the family. It turns out that the driver was one of the many Japanese soldiers who infiltrated Filipino communities years before the war.
When the war broke out, the Japanese seized the house and used it as a garrison. Although Philippine history is ridden with horrors of Japanese cruelty, the Arrastia-Vitug family was spared, thanks to their driver, who turned out to be a Japanese colonel. ” Source: Tales of love, lust, and murder at Las Casas Filipinas
Next house we went to is the Casa Quaipo.
“Casa Quiapo built in 1867 and owned by Don Rafael Enriquez, which was given to the University of the Philippines and became the first Fine Arts school from 1908 to 1926. This building is also known as Casa Hidalgo and if I heard it correctly from our tour guide, the house once cater to sex shows and abortion services.” Source: Houses In Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar That You Should Not Miss
The other house we went to was Casa Luna from La Union.
“A museum with plenty of great historical memoirs, Casa Luna is a big square house named after Juan and Antonio Luna. The house was built in 1850. The Luna house has several rooms, each of them with plenty of collectibles from the past. The windows are beautifully adorned by capiz shells. Circling the house is a hallway which, according to the tour guide, was the only part of the house where the traditional Filipino servants called “aliping sagigilid” were allowed access to.” Source: Travel Back in Time to the Best of Spanish Heritage Houses: Las Casas Filipinas
There even are old items dated from the 20th century that are on display at this house to which some are allowed to be touched and used upon like the old style of ironing the clothes using a coal iron and a wood panel.
The last house we were guided to was Casa Biñan from Laguna.
Casa Biñan was where the film Heneral Luna was shot. If you have seen and remembered the film, this is where General Luna was shot dead by the President’s Aguinaldo’s soldiers in the last scene of the movie. This house was where Doña Teodora Alonzo lived, the mother of our National Hero, Jose Rizal. It was also known previously as the Alberto House.
POTENTIAL SIDE TRIPS
1. Philippines-Japanese Friendship Tower – spend a few minutes in the tower and read the inscriptions in the bell and know about the history.
2. Kilometer Zero Death March Marker – This marks the first point where the death march has begun.
3. Ima’s Pamangan – An ideal place for food adventurers before heading back to Manila.
4. Mount Samat National Shrine (or Dambana ng Kagitingan) – a historical shrine located near the summit of Mt. Samat. The memorial shrine complex was built to honor and remember the gallantry of Filipino and American soldiers who fought during World War II.
Now, if you want to learn and know more about Filipino history, you definitely should visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Each home has stories to tell and the surroundings are a total class. They designed the pathways, the bridges, to restaurants, to be similar to the Spanish colonial-era which also makes you think that you’ve been brought back to the old age.
Kudos to our tour guide who was well knowledgeable about the houses and the history of each people behind the homes. She wears a Filipiniana dress that adds an appeal to the overall look of Las Casas.
Overall, if you are to spend a day, make sure that you bring umbrellas or are wearing comfortable clothes especially during noon as it could get very hot. They have welcome drinks upon arrival and after the tour. When the guided tour is over, you will be given a cold towel and a bottle of cold water to refresh.
You can still roam around by the day to take photos of the scenery and I’m sure, your eyes will be very delighted by the environment that Las Casas provides. Everything was visually appealing and satisfying and it makes you want to stay more.
Heritage Day Tour Rates
WEEKDAY HERITAGE TOUR – PHP1,850
WEEKEND HERITAGE TOUR – PHP2,500
For a full-on experience, the following perks are included:
· Use of raincoat during the rainy season
· Beach access
· Bottled water or signature drink
· Cold towel and map
· Free kalesa ride and river cruise
Tours are conducted every hour starting 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM.
HOW TO GET TO LAS CASAS FILIPINAS DE ACUZAR
“1. If taking the bus, take Bataan Transit from Cubao in Quezon City or Avenida in Manila. The fare is about P200 and the trip may take 3 to 4 hours.
2. From the terminal of Bataan Transit, take a short walk to the Bataan Transport Terminal.
3. Take a jeepney to Bagac. The fare is about P50 and the trip takes about 45 to 60 minutes. Tell the driver to drop you off at Las Casas.
4. From the highway, take a tricycle to the site. The fare is P10, and the short trip takes less than 5 minutes. ”
Source: Choose Philippines
LAS CASAS FILIPINAS DE ACUZAR
Brgy. Ibaba, Bagac,
Bataan 2107, Philippines
Tel: (+632) 866-8500 | (+632) 332-5286
Room Reservations Direct Lines:
332.5338 / 332.5286 / 355.3032
Mobile No.: 0917.872.9361