Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar: Reminiscing Old Filipino Charm
Bataan, although not as popular as Zambales and Batangas, remains to be a good choice when looking for beaches near Manila. It is easily-accessible even through public transportation, which made us decide to choose such as our destination for Madel’s birthday. Searching through Google, we found out about Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar and scored a good rate of only 4,050 pesos for an overnight stay last January 11-12.
A 4-hour trip from Manila to Bagac, Bataan is a grueling experience, but will be all repaid once you have set foot at Las Casas. It was already late in the afternoon when we boarded a bus heading to Bataan. We knew we would be late and were already disappointed with the fact that we will not be able to take advantage of our booking. We arrived at Las Casas just before 7 in the evening. We were informed by the receptionist that we were the last guests they were waiting for the day. They tried to explain all the things we can expect about the resort, including their facilities, but we did not have the energy to lend them an ear. We checked-in immediately and we were escorted to our room, which was located at Paseo De Escolta. Since it was already dark by the time we arrived, we did not have the time to appreciate the beauty of the place.
The room that we had was huge. It wasn’t like any room we had before, which was basically because of its theme, reminiscent of the old Filipino era, which is for sure not characterized by minimalism. From every corner you take a look, you can see intricate details indicative of craftsmanship and creativity. Our room had two verandas, which show how big it was. The veranda is a good place to have a glimpse of the whole resort, which will remind you very much of Vigan and Intramuros. The bathroom, which was concealed in a white door that looks like that of a cabinet, was also huge, with separate areas for shower cubicle and bathtub. The bed was nothing short of being comfortable and covered with white curtains, which was most probably part of being able to achieve that unique feel. The room had dark, wooden furniture and Capiz windows.
There were two restaurants inside the resort. One was Café Marivent, which specializes in Filipino and Spanish cuisine. This is where we had our dinner just shortly after checking-in. By the time we were there, it was not that packed since we were already quite late for dinner. We had Sinigang na Baboy and Fried Hito. With rice and drinks, we paid 1,200 pesos for dinner. I found nothing special about their food. The best part of dinner was being serenaded by their resident singers, who will sing you old Filipino songs that you most probably haven’t heard of before. Breakfast was also served at Café Marivent. It comes free with the room accommodation and you can choose from a limited set of meals. The meal wasn’t bad nor good, just the quality you’ll expect from a free breakfast given by hotels.
The other restaurant is La Bella Teodora, famed for its Italian cuisine. This is where we had our late lunch before heading back to Manila. We were the only ones dining at the restaurant that time. We ordered pizza, pasta, and chicken, all for 1,300 pesos. Personally, I found the food here better compared to Marivent. We were not able finish half of what we ordered and decided to have it taken out. We were quite full before eating here since we ate street foods from kiosks just near Café Marivent.
One of the best things about this trip was the day tour. If you are staying at the hotel, the tour is for free. If not, you have to pay an entrance fee of 650 pesos, 850 with snacks, 1,200 with set meal, and 1,500 with buffet meal. While you can roam freely around the resort to have a glimpse of the ancestral houses, having a guided tour is highly recommended so that you will know the history of each structure. This is sure to make your Las Casas experience a lot better. The tour lasts for about an hour. It was entertaining and informative, which will make you not notice how long it has been. It can be tiring to hop from one house to another, but such is one thing you will surely not mind given what you can see. Most of the structures were rebuilt and restored from their original locations. They have been transported in pieces and assembled to make it appear as close as possible to their original structure. One of the most interesting houses we visited was the Casa Byzantina, which also houses Las Casas high-end accommodations. The entire casa has seven bedrooms, which can be rented for 125,000, if I remembered it right. If you have the money to spare, you will surely not regret staying in this casa. Indeed, it is a place reserved for the VIPs who can afford to pay and enjoy things like 24-hour butler service, Hermes toiletries, complimentary cocktails, high-end interiors, and other things that are reserved for those who could afford them. If you plan to organize special events and private functions, Casa Quiapo has several function rooms that can be rented.
Aside from the houses, another good thing about the resort is their batis-inspired swimming pool, which offers the perfect way to unwind with a good view of the sea. Although they have a beach area, it is not that good, as proven by the lack of people swimming. They also have game rooms. On the night we arrived, there was a cultural show. If you want a massage, you can head to their spa. They also have a business center, which I guess is the only place where they have Wi-Fi.
Staying at Las Casas is indeed a good way to be transported back to the old Philippines. Walking along the cobblestone streets with a view of old houses will take you back to a bygone era characterized by culture and architecture defining Filipino heritage.