Backpacking in Time: Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

There are certain destinations in the Philippines that make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. Places like Vigan in Ilocos Sur, Corregidor in Cavite and Intramuros in Manila offer that old-world charm that makes you appreciate history more. Our adventure trip in Bataan had us not just visiting destinations, but jumping from different time periods. From the cobbled streets and Spanish Colonial Houses of 18th Century Philippines to the elaborate control room of a nuclear power plant built in the 1980s, we literally went back (packing) in time.

osprey bataan las casas de acuzar travelup bag door window

One of the main highlights of the our trip to Bataan was the visit to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar near the shores of Bagac town. This open air museum and heritage park complex owned by José “Gerry” Acuzar reconstructs ancestral houses from different parts of the country in order to preserve them.

osprey bataan las casas de acuzar group shot

Outfitted with travel gear from Osprey, we visited Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar during the first leg of Osprey Out and About. Osprey, is a Colorado (USA) based company that makes backpacks and travel gear designed for outdoor, biking and travel pursuits, which is exclusively distributed by the Primer Group of Companies, the group behind R.O.X. or Recreation Outdoor Exchange in the Philippines.

READ MORE: Gear Review: Osprey Radial 26 Cycling Pack

las casas de acuzar bataan chapel huts

 

las casas de acuzar bataan brick houseLas Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a unique heritage resort by the sea that has become one of Bataan’s most popular destinations.

osprey bataan las casas de acuzar map casa binan

There are currently 27 heritage houses, each with an interesting backstory. One of the grandest is Casa Bizantina, a floral Bahay na Bato built in 1890 at the corner of Madrid and Penarubia streets in  San Nicolas, Binondo. The ground story is built of  stone and bricks while the upper story is made of various Philippine hardwood.

osprey bataan las casas de acuzar guide

Ideally, the houses should be preserved in their original location for historical purposes. But sadly, not all owners have the means to preserve them. According to our tour guide Unad, many of the houses were being neglected and falling into disrepair, with architectural details getting lost and stolen. Beautiful ancestral houses from Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, La Union, Quiapo and Binondo were in danger of being demolished or developed into modern structures.

osprey bataan las casas de acuzar church mountains

Each house in Las Casas is dismantled brick by brick, numbered, transported to the property, reassembled, and restored in order to recreate the ambiance of a colonial village. Walking through the village full of historic houses really felt like stepping back in time. Even if you’re not into museums or are a history buff, I think you can appreciate the intricate details that goes into recreating the houses. With tour guides dressed in old costumes walking about, the whole place feels like a theme park for old houses or a film set for historic films. osprey bataan las casas de acuzar inside house

Casa Lubao, one of the newest additions to the village, is a beautiful ancestral home of the Arastia/Vitug Family from Lubao, Pampanga built back in 1920.

There are two restaurants inside Las Casas – Cafe Marivent in Casa Unisan and La Bella Teodoro in Casa Binan, which serve Spanish and Filipino food. The food is a bit expensive, but most tourists don’t have a choice except to eat here because there’s no other restaurant or eatery nearby.

las casas de acuzar bataan restaurant las casas de acuzar bataan buffet lunch

The Paseo de Escolta is a strip of supposedly commercial structures which are replicas of the typical Escolta buildings in Manila during the early 1900’s. The Casa Escolta, which contains 17 rooms, serves as a hotel for the resort.

osprey bataan las casas de acuzar building

Casa Quiapo (also known as Casa Hidalgo) originally from Hidalgo St., in Quiapo Manila was constructed in 1867. It was used as a campus of the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts. Doesn’t this hallway look almost Hogwarts-like?osprey bataan las casas de acuzar hallway chandelier

Casa Biñan, a two-story stone house originally built by Gregorio Alonzo in the 16th century in Binan, Laguna was once the home of Jose Rizal’s mother, Teodora Alonzo. The courtyard which was built during the expansion in the 18th century had a garage for caruajes.

osprey bataan las casas de acuzar bag window

Las Casas de Acuzar is perfect for pre-nup pictorials, fashion shoots, themed celebrations, weddings and as a filming location for historic TV shows and period movies that require Spanish era architecture. In fact, some parts of the popular 2015 Filipino historical biopic film Heneral Luna were filmed here. Recognize this location below?

las casas de acuzar bataan stairs plaza general luna death scene

osprey bataan las casas de acuzar travelup bag stairs
osprey bataan las casas de acuzar walking

While our first day in Bataan was an step back into Spanish Colonial times, the next day we would find ourselves transported to an 80’s Science Fiction flick when we visited the defunct Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

osprey bataan backpack bicycle doors las casas de acuzar

Vintage bicycles are available for rent inside Las Casas for P150 per hour (transferable to people in a group). It would be cool if Bambike could offer tours here. 

RATES: (updated April 2016)

Rates apply to guests 13 years old and above, 5 to 12 years old 50% off, below 5 years old free of charge. Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Package 1 (set meal): P1,699 nett 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): P1,899 nett per person*

  • Welcome drink
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour guided heritage walking tour
  • Entrance fee and use of beach area
  • Buffet lunch, afternoon snack, 2 tetra pack juices, 2 bottles of mineral water
  • Vicinity map
  • Cold towel
  • All taxes and service charge
  • *Guaranteed minimum of 30 persons required to avail of buffet arrangements

Package 3 (entrance only): P999 nett per person

  • Welcome drink
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour guided heritage walking tour
  • Entrance fee and use of beach area
  • Vicinity map
  • Cold towel
  • All taxes and service charge

Express Deal: Heritage Day tour with Shuttle Service Package: P1,999 per person

  • Roundtrip shuttle service from designated pick-up points in New World Makati and Astoria Plaza, Pasig City
  • One bottle of mineral water per way
  • Heritage Tour
  • Welcome Drink
  • Cold Towel
  • Vicinity Map
  • The shuttle service arrival and departure are subject to actual traffic conditions.

Some of the houses are available for rent for overnight stays. Check rates in their official website. A new addition is the Hotel de Oriente.

hotel de oriente las casas de acuzar bataanlakhambini shoes las casas de acuzar bataan selfeet

TRAVEL TIPS AND USEFUL INFO:

  • Wear comfortable and airy clothes. Jeans not recommended because it can get really hot while walking around.
  • Wear comfy shoes or flip flops. You will have to take off your shoes to enter all of the heritage houses.
  • Bring bottled water to keep yourself hydrated. It can get very hot in Bataan.
  • Wear a cap or a hat or bring your umbrella to avoid the summer heat. Sunblock recommended.
  • The place is great for pictorials, so ladies may want to wear dresses or bring Filipiniana props for their OOTDs.
  • The Heritage Day Tour gives you a glimpse of the rich history of the place with the help of experienced tour guides who narrate what makes each casa unique. You can avail of the Heritage Day Tour even if you’re not staying overnight.
  • Heritage Tour Schedules: Morning (8:30am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am) and Afternoon (3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm)
  • For those who don’t want to drive, Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar provides a shuttle service from two pick-up points in Manila so that you also have the option to experience the heritage resort for only an entire day.
  • Food is a bit expensive in the restaurant. Single serve rice meals average at P350. Ala carte meals (good for 2-3 pax) cost from P250-P700 per dish. Allot P700-P800 per person for the day tour if you plan to eat here. There are no other restaurants nearby.
  • Bringing of your own packed meals or food inside Las Casas is strictly prohibited. To save money, eat elsewhere before or after your visit. Or you could eat during in the van/bus ride while going there and back.
  • Las Casas sometimes offers discounted vouchers for day trips through Metrodeal.

las casas filipinas de acuzar bataan heritage houses

HOW TO GET TO LAS CASAS DE ACUZAR IN BATAAN:

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is located in Barangay Pag-Asa, Bagac, Bataan, Philippines. Bataan is accessible via the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX). There are buses that run directly to Balanga town proper, which is about 125 kms. northwest from Manila. From Olongapo City, you can take the Victory Liner Buses. Tricycles and jeepneys are the primary modes of transport around Bataan. Las Casas 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.

Shuttle Service:

Las Casas now has a roundtrip shuttle service from designated pick-up points in New World Makati and Astoria Plaza, Pasig City. Shuttle service is P750 per way per person.

  • ETD from New World – 7:00 am
  • ETD from Astoria Plaza – 7:35 am
  • ETA in Las Casas – 10:45 am
  • ETD from Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar – 3:50pm
  • ETA back at Astoria Plaza – 8:30 pm
  • ETA back at New World – 8:30 pm

By public transportation: (est. cost = P500+ round trip)

  • Take a bus from Cubao to Balanga, Bataan. Fare is about P200 per person. Travel time is 3 hours.
  • Walk to the Bataan Transport Terminal. Ride a jeep or bus going to Bagac. Fare is P47 Pesos/person. Travel Time is 45 minutes to one hour.
  • Ride the tricycle at Bagac, Bataan. Fare is 10 Pesos/person. Travel Time is less than 5 minutes.

NOTE: This trip was made possible by Osprey Packs Philippines and the Primer Group of Companies. 

las casas de acuzar bataan gazebo

For reservations/inquiries, contact Manila Reservation Office:

  • Tel: (02) 546-9123, (02) 332-5338, (02) 335-3032 and (02) 332-5286
  • Email reserve@lascasasfilipinas.com or marketing@lascasasfilipinas.com
  • Website: www.lascasasfilipinas.com

8 thoughts on “Backpacking in Time: Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

  1. Pingback: Inside the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant | Travel Up

  2. Pingback: Travel Guide: Bataan | Travel Up

  3. Pwede po magtanong kung sa tingin niyo, how many hours should I spend there to travel the whole place (las casas)?

    • Excluding travel time, you can spend 3-5 hours in Las Casas just going around. It depends if you want to take the guided day tour and visit all the houses, or just take a few photos. Photo ops yung pampatagal because the place is very photogenic 🙂

  4. The facade of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar edifice is such a stunner! It should be carefully preserved, now that it is becoming a very popular vacation getaway.

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