BATAAN – A Day Trip to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar: Bring Back the Old Times

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a 400 hectare open-air museum and heritage park in Bagac, Bataan where neglected architectural pieces were restored by its owner, José “Gerry” Acuzar. The park provides restaurants, a beach, a swimming pool, calesa rides, tours, workshops, event bookings, and 27 Spanish casas (houses) that also serve as hotel accommodations.

Visiting Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar reminded me of Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur as well as Intramuros in Manila because they capture the idea of being transported back to the Spanish colonial era. One of the effects of this 300-year colonial period in the Philippines was the influence of Spanish architecture. Filipino houses in particular evolved from nipa huts to stone houses (translated as “bahay na bato” in Filipino). A nipa hut is made from natural materials while a stone house is made from wood and, well, stone.

José Acuzar who is also the owner of New San Jose Builders, Inc. (developer of The Philippine Arena) transferred abandoned historical stone houses from Manila, Quezon City, Bulacan, Pampanga, La Union, Ilocos, and Cagayan to Bataan by rebuilding them to his heritage park now known as Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

Edwin and I were looking for a resort near Manila to welcome the summer season, and we eventually chose Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar over the other nearby ones. It does not only exhibit Philippine history, culture, and workmanship but it also offers packages that include a welcome drink, guided heritage walking tour, entrance fee and use of beach area, vicinity map, and cold towel.

How to get there: (Credits to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar‘s official website!)

“By Land:
Bataan is accessible via the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX). There are buses running direct to Balanga town proper. Balanga Town proper is about 125 kms. northwest from Manila. From Olongapo City, you may take the Victory Liner Buses. Tricycles and jeepneys are the primary modes of transport around Bataan.

By Air:
You may go through the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga or through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminals in Manila and make the necessary land transfers.

Las Casas Filipinas is located 20 kilometers away from the Mt. Samat Shrine. From the Japanese Friendship Tower in Bagac, turn left and the resort is 2 kilometers away.

Public transportation information from Cubao, Quezon City to Bagac, Bataan:

  • Genesis Bus bound to Balanga, Bataan – PHP 200.00/per person (2 hours drive)
  • From Balanga Terminal to Bagac Proper – PHP 47.00/per person (Please advise driver that you are going to Las Casas Filipinas Resort) 45 minutes drive
  • Bagac Proper (corner of Las Casas), Tricycle – PHP 10.00/per person (5-10 minutes)”

Follow the same procedures in reverse when going back. Make sure to leave Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar before 6:00 PM if you are going back to Balanga via public transportation. Based on experience, it is inadvisable to catch a bus back to Balanga after 6:00 PM.

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Traditional tramvia

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La Ribera

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Casa Ladrillo was my favorite casa, appearance-wise.

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Casa Hagonoy

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Hotel de Oriente (Convention Centre)

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Sanctuario de San Jose (Angle 1)

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Sanctuario de San Jose (Angle 2)

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Sanctuario de San Jose (Angle 3)

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Casa Luna was originally owned by Novicio family of Namacpacan, La Union. Namacpacan is now named as Luna in honor of General Antonio Luna and Painter Juan Luna.

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Paseo de Escolta is a replica of Escolta buildings in Manila.

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It has 17 rooms that serve as accommodations for guests. The rooms were designed by Jose Acuzar’s wife, Tess Acuzar, who is an interior designer.

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Fotografia de la Escolta

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Casa Binan (Alberto House) is a replica of the inherited house of Jose Rizal’s mother, Teodora Alonzo. It was originally built by her grandfather, Gregorio Alonzo, in the 16th Century.

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It was also the filming location of the movie “Heneral Luna” where Heneral Luna was killed.

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La Bella Teodora (Italian Restaurant) where we had our lunch is located at Casa Binan. Its grandiose and colonial interior creates a relaxed ambiance.

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I suggest bringing your own food if you do not want to shell out extra cash but I highly recommend this restaurant, regardless. The food is worth the price because of the scrumptious taste and the ample serving size. They even offer a complimentary bread basket!

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The carbonara (P320) was creamy and the taste met my expectations.

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Do not miss out their delectable 12-inch thin crust pizzas served straight from the brick oven.

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Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is close to the beach. You may use the beach area when you purchase the Day Tour Package. Note that the batis/ swimming pool is for hotel guests only.

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You may change into swimsuits at the restrooms near the reception area. Use the public outdoor shower by the beach to rinse after swimming.

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Tents and benches are provided where you can lounge and leave your belongings.

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Bask in the orange sunset.

The Verdict

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is one of a kind and I believe it is its edge. The resort is aesthetically pleasing and our visit was meaningful due to its cultural aspects. I would gladly come back for the beach and the casas of course are icing on the cake! The beach was enjoyable mostly because it was clean and uncrowded. The tour was excruciating though due to the scorching summer weather and on top of that, shaded areas are limited unless you enter the casas. The welcome drink which is sago’t gulaman served in a disposable plastic cup was also disappointing because I feel like they could do so much better given the price. I suggest applying sunblock, wearing lightweight clothes and a hat or a cap, and bringing umbrella, food and water for a more pleasant tour.

Rating

  • Ambiance: 4/5
  • Cleanliness: 5/5
  • Location: 3/5
  • Service: 3/5
  • Food: 3/5
  • Facilities: 4/5
  • Price: 2/5
  1. Location: Brgy. Ibaba, Bagac, Bataan, 2107, Philippines
  2. Contact: +63 2 332 5338, +63 2 332 5286, +63 2 877 4501, +63 2 877 4502, +63 917 872 9361, reserve@lascasasfilipinas.com or marketing@lascasasfilipinas.com
  3. Operating Hours: 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM
  4. Rates:
    • Package 1 (Set Meal) – PHP 1,699 per person
      • Welcome drink
      • 30 minutes to 1 hour guided Heritage walking tour
      • Entrance fee and use of beach area
      • 1 lunch, afternoon snack, 2 tetra-pack juices, 2 bottles of mineral water
      • Vicinity map
      • Cold towel
      • All taxes and service charge
    • Package 2 (Buffet meal) – PHP 1,899 per person
      • Same as Package 1 but guaranteed minimum of 30 persons are required to avail of buffet arrangement.
    • Package 3 – PHP 999 per person
      • Same as Package 1 but without the set meal.
  5. Visit their website here.

BONUS! Where to stay in Bataan:

The Plaza Hotel in Balanga, Bataan

If you are planning to stay the night in Bataan, I recommend The Plaza Hotel in Balanga. The hotel also takes you back to the bygone period as seen on the Spanish-style facade. It is conveniently located at the Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga, adjacent to the City Hall and Galeria Victoria, and across the Balanga Cathedral.

How to get there:

From Balanga Terminal, you may either walk or ride a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to The Plaza Hotel or simply the plaza in case they are not familiar with the hotel. – PHP 10.00 (5-10 minutes)

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The classy facade of The Plaza Hotel

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Light fountain show at night

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Executive Room

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The hotel has 34 furnished rooms with free WiFi, LCD TV with HD cable, in-room safe, in-room coffee facility, mini fridge, hair dryer

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The room has a contemporary design.

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The stunning night scene of Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga can be viewed from the roof deck.

The Verdict

We had a good night’s sleep at this hotel after a long day at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. The room was clean, the bed was cozy, the service was exemplary, and the hotel employees were friendly and accommodating. Transportation was accessible because it is strategically located in the heart of Bataan’s capital, and is within walking distance from the mall, church, and terminal.

Rating

  • Cleanliness: 4/5
  • Location: 4/5
  • Service: 5/5
  • Facilities: 2/5
  • Room: 4/5
  • Price: 3/5
  1. Location: Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga, Balanga City, Bataan
  2. Contact: (047) 237 1037, 0917 310 5083, 0998 5411741, info@theplazahotelbalanga.com
  3. Rooms and Rates – complimentary breakfast, single/ double occupancy, hot and cold shower:
    • Executive (24 sqm., queen or twin bed) – PHP 3,200
    • Deluxe (27 sqm., queen or twin bed) – PHP 3,520
    • Premier Deluxe (32 sqm., twin bed) – PHP 3,680
    • Plaza View Deluxe (24 sqm., queen or twin bed, view of the Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga) – PHP 4,000
    • Plaza View Junior Suite (34 sqm., twin bed, view of the Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga) – PHP 4,320
    • Maria Clara Suite (34 sqm., queen bed, bathtub, view of the Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga) – PHP 4,960
    • Ibarra Suite (34 sqm., king bed, bathtub, view of the Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga) – PHP 5,120
    • Presidential Suite (69 sqm., king bed, bathtub, view of the Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga, fully furnished living area) – PHP 16,640
  4. Visit their website here.

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • 6:00 AM – Bataan Transit Terminal in Cubao
  • 7:00 AM – Off to Balanga in Bataan
  • 9:00 AM – Arrival at Balanga Bus Terminal
  • 9:30 AM – Breakfast at Jollibee at the City Plaza in Balanga
  • 10:00 AM – Leave luggage at the luggage storage of The Plaza Hotel in Balanga
  • 10:30 AM – Off to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac
  • 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM – Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar tour
  • 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM – Beach
  • 6:00 PM – Depart from Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (I advise you to leave earlier because there are more available public transportations before 6:00 PM.)
  • 7:00 PM – Off to the hotel
  • 8:00 PM – Back at the hotel

Day 2

  • 9:00 AM – Check-out
  • 9:30 AM – Galeria Victoria
  • 11:00 AM – Brunch at Espada Grill on Calero Street in Balanga (Highly recommended!)
  • 1:00 PM – Balanga Bus Terminal (Off to Cubao)

3 thoughts on “BATAAN – A Day Trip to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar: Bring Back the Old Times

  1. Hi. Itatanong ko lang po sana kung magkano po yung nagastos nyo for 1 day escapade sa las casas filipinas? yung tipong uwian lang po? salamat 😊

    Like

  2. Hello admin, i must say you have hi quality articles here.
    Your website can go viral. You need initial traffic boost only.

    How to get it? Search for; Mertiso’s tips go viral

    Like

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