It was July 2015 when I first visited Las Casas. I was amazed at its beauty and so I told myself I will be back. Sure enough, I was back after 6 months.
From Cubao terminal, we rode a bus (Genesis bus) going to Balanga. Travel duration is 2-2.5 hrs and the fare was P200. Then we took another 45 minute bus ride from Balanga to Bagac which cost us P47.00. We told the driver where we were heading so he dropped us off to a place where we just have to ride a tricycle going to Las Casas. Trike fare was P10 per head.
Finally we were at Las Casas! We were greeted by a man dressed in gwardya sibil outfit. We showed our hotel reservation voucher and then we were directed to Casa Mexico (where guests of the resort are received). This is the reception for guests staying at Paseo de Escolta.
Paseo de Escolta (in the morning)
Paseo de Escolta (at night)
The Paseo de Escolta by the way is a replica of the Escolta hotel in Manila way back 1900’s where old and new materials were used to construct the building. The 2nd and 3rd flr consist of hotel suites and the ground floor consists of shops.
The Loft Room (view from the top)
Our room at Paseo de Escolta has a loft. It is very spacious and cozy. We paid P7650 (good for 4 people) which includes an overnight stay, heritage tour, the use of the pool, the use of the beach (which at that time we were not allowed to swim due to strong current) and with complimentary breakfast. This is also near the pool.
Room (1st floor)
Check in time is 2 in the afternoon. The schedule of heritage tour is every hour from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM. We decided to have our heritage guided tour around 4:30 pm so it won’t be that hot and humid anymore. With plenty of time before the tour, we strolled around the area first taking pictures.
Sweet Couple 🙂
The resort also has a pool. It is a batis-inspired pool. It looks natural (without the tiles) and is near Paseo de Escolta which is perfect for people staying at this place.
On my second visit (with a different group of friends), we were booked at the newly constructed Estero de Binondo. It has its own separate reception hall.
Reception Hall at Estero de Binondo (2nd visit)
Our room in Estero de Binondo is near the beach. If you’re the type of person who loves to swim at the beach, I recommend staying here.
Estero de Binondo (front view)
Personally, I prefer to stay at Estero de Binondo. It was more relaxing for me as it gives more privacy. There were chairs outside where you can just sit, relax and listen to the sounds of the beach waves. Although the Estero de Binondo is far from the main entrance, the resort has a shuttle in case you need it.
The Beach Girls
Gorgeous Grace, Our Bed Model
Flawless Tonie, Our Bathtub Model
Eloquent Ella, our Senti Model – peace! 🙂
The back view of our room at Estero de Binondo is beautiful at night. It looked similar to Venice Canal with the Romeo & Juliet balcony (the hopeless romantic in me is showing hahaha). I enjoyed staying at this balcony just looking outside and enjoying the serene view. Of course, I can’t let this moment pass by without taking a selfie 🙂
Selfie at Night @ Estero de Binondo (back view at night)
Around 4:00 o’clock in afternoon,we went to the meeting area for heritage tour. No need to sign up for time slots. In case more guests show up at the scheduled time, they will just divide it into manageable groups.
Tagalog-speaking Guide (1st visit)
English-speaking Guide (2nd visit)
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is named after its owner, Jose Gerry Acuzar. It is a heritage park featuring a Spanish style architecture. These houses were bought, dismantled “brick by brick,” transported to Bagac and rebuilt in Las Casas.
Our guide told us that the houses were named after the provinces or towns where they came from. To name a few, such houses are Casa Baliuag (from Baliuag, Bulacan), Casa Candaba (from Candaba, Pampanga), Casa Meycauyan (from Meycauan, Bulacan), Casa Luna (from Luna, La Union) and a lot more.
Not all houses are open to the public, but I doubt if we would be able to visit all of it anyway even if they allow it. Upon entering these houses, we were required to take off our shoes/slippers. To those planning to visit the resort in the near future and join the walking tour, better wear a shoe-wear that you can easily take off.
Casa Bizantina (1890)
Inside these casas, our guide would tell us unique stories of the house. It’s not ghost stories (lol) but rather the history of the house , it’s occupants and some intriguing facts during the Spanish era.
Casa Baliuag II
The wealthy homes during the Spanish era have these two types of servants: “aliping sagigilid” and “aliping namamahay.” (I can still recall in elementary days during history class about these servants). Whereas aliping namamahay can enter the main house and serve their masters directly, aliping sagigiid cannot do so and were only allowed to walk in the corner of the house as depicted in the picture below.
Aliping Sagigilid (hehe)
Our guide went on to tell us that in those days women were petite. Who would have thought that the the picture of the wood below was used for ironing clothes?!
Wooden Tool to Iron Clothes
Guide Demonstrating How to Iron Clothes
Our guide then proceeded to tell us why in those conservative days you won’t see photographs of people smiling. He said smiling is not allowed as it would mean seducing the photographer. The guide was perhaps just kidding but it certainly brought a smile to our lips 🙂
I have learned too that some of the houses we visited can be rented. Prices range from P20,000- P100,000++ per night. Good thing we went during off season so we were able to enter some of these beautiful expensive casas for rent.
Me in one of the expensive bedrooms
A painting on the ceiling
A painting on the wall
Casa Ladrillo (Published Rate – P75,000)
Hotel de Oriente (Convention Center)
Sanctuario de San Jose Church
It was past 5:30 PM when the tour ended. Thirsty as we were, we proceeded to claim our free sago drinks.
On weekends, the resort conduct cultural shows. The first time I was here, it was done inside one of the casas. On my next visit, it was done outside Plaza Escolta, which I believe, is better because it is cooler outside and spacious.
The cultural show features dances from different regions in the Philippines such as Itik-Itik, Pandanggo, Kuratsa, Binasuan, Tinikling, Sayaw sa Bangko and a lot more. It was my first time to see Sayaw sa Bangko and It certainly was amazing!
Sayaw sa Bangko
After the cultural show, we went to have dinner in one of the casas converted into a restaurant. The food was costly but the serving was good enough for 3-4 people. Take note, the service was slow so if you’re really hungry, you would be famished. We waited approximately 30 minutes for the food to be served. You won’t be bored though because the Kundiman singers goes from one table to another to sing two Filipino songs per table.
After dinner, we decided to just walk from the restaurant to our hotel room despite the distance. We’re glad that we did! The resort is beautiful at night with all those lights.
We explored some areas of the resort which we have not seen earlier. These houses seemed to be located at the back area of the resort but were all equally stunning.
To wrap it up, the trip to Las Casas was like a journey to the past. It was great to see these once abandoned houses restored. I am glad I went to this place. It was worth the trip. The resorts theme is indeed “Pride in the Past…Hope for the Future.”