A month after my first visit to Bataan, Cza invited me to come see the place again specifically for Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar because she knows a guy who knows a guy (actually, she has a friend whose aunt knows a guy). Who am I to say no?
I can’t remember the exact route of our tour because I didn’t take any notes and some of our companions got bored and started being obnoxious after the 5th house or so. Kathleen, our energetic guide is pictured below holding an ancient (?) flat iron.One HONY (yes, I’m an avid reader of the site) post pictured an old man who has been fixing watches for almost 60 years. He said that fixing required a lot more skill in the old days because he pretty much just replace batteries nowadays. That goes beyond repairing watches. Almost everything required a hella lot more effort back then. Now we just plug and turn a switch on. If necessity is the mother of invention, I guess laziness is the father.
I forgot what this part was called but it’s a passageway that runs throughout the premises of the house. This was for the “aliping saguiguilid”, lower of the two kinds of servants in Philippine History (the other one being “aliping namamahay”) because they aren’t allowed to set foot in the main areas of their master’s house. Aside from history, there are also intriguing century-old gossips.
The houses were named according to where they were originally located. Pictured below if I remember correctly is Casa Binondo. Others are called Casa Cagayan, Baliuag, Lubao, Meycauayan, Binan, etc. According to our guide, some of the houses were bought by the owner of the resort while others were donated. It’s nice to know that there is someone who initiated the restoration of our old houses as part of our heritage.
I am glad that we went during the off season. I can only imagine how many people visit during summer. As for me, I appreciate the emptiness of the place. Las Casas’ selling point is nostalgia. I’m not sure if Westerners and younger generations of Filipinos will appreciate the place but it appealed to me because it felt like seeing my grade school textbook come to life. I just have a penchant for the past and I can’t help it.
Our guide said that almost all the houses were moved plank by plank from their original location. Unfortunately, some have deteriorated beyond repair so they just had to make do with a replica. She even showed a picture of a particular Casa (I forgot which) before it was bought and brought in Las Casas and it reminded me of the old buildings I see throughout Manila that’s full of vandalism and has become a haven for informal settlers. How I wish we stop building generic-looking high rise concretes and start restoring and appreciating architecture from the past (hey Escolta, I’m thinking about you).
There are rooms for rent for small groups as well as whole houses for larger groups but they’re kind of pricey (last time I checked it was 100,000 pesos up which comes with a personal butler). Pictured below is the most expensive room in the resort with a price tag of 17,000 (or was it 20?) per night but you get to wash on a bath tub situated right in the middle of the huge bathroom as well as use Hermes toiletries.
Included in the tour is a cultural show. I’ve seen many people perform Philippine traditional dances but I’ve never seen anything like “Sayaw sa Bangko”. The dancers were high school and college students which made it even more awesome.
The next morning our feet brought us again to the beach. I realized that I actually like the sea during rainy season because I don’t go there to swim in the first place. I just want somewhere to while the hours away. Now if only I can see Franco by chance and force him to sing “For my dearly departed” (let your love caress me/like the tide embraces the sea/let our soul connection/bring me alive today) for me, my life will be complete.