Last week, our Finance department rode a bus to Las Casas for our highly anticipated 3-day Teambuilding. I didn't have much expectation for this Bataan heritage other than being spooked by some ghosts who inhabited these old houses, once a upon a time. So, after a complicated maneuver on a tiny road, our humongous bus finally arrived at the entrance gate of this cobbled sanctuary of rescued homes. I was mesmerized by my feelings the moment I stepped inside the first house, Casa Jaen. It's like being warped back to the Spanish colonial times or more animatedly, be in a Noli Me Tangere movie. It’s so easy to feel like an 18th century Filipina, dainty and demure, doing household business inside our rich-smelling narra wood/stone home. The weather was like a good accomplice doing mighty fine of bringing us back to that era; down cast skies and heavy rains poured constantly throughout our stay. The marriages of old architecture and modern facility was amazing, you don’t necessarily feel being ill-equipped with just a kerosene lamp because the rooms were complete with low lights, modern bathtubs, air-conditioning and flat screen TV. Because of the downpour, it was a discomfort going from one place to the other without being wet. But that just adds to the allure of being at Las Casas. I love Casa Vyzantina, Casa Mexico and that old UP home too. The Lola Basyang and the children statues are epic, we spent a great deal of jump shots and wacky poses in these places. We had a laugh at the “aliping sagigilid” term when we entered the museum… you’ll know why when you get there, won’t spoil that for you… Indeed, Las Casas was a really beautiful and historical place. Now for some opportunities for improvements; what did not sit well with me were the flies; they are everywhere, from the luncheon at Casa Unisan, to our Escolta rooms and even at dinner in Casa Jaen. The other thing would be the food. Like Mr. Beltran’s comments above, I think there should be more authentic Filipino food choices, those that can be bought while strolling down the streets like old street food. It would be fun to see more activities other than dances and Kundiman singers (they were very very nice, btw); maybe some painters who look like Juan Luna doing art work in one of those beautiful gazebos or gardens. Or some lovestruck binatilyo serenading a lovely dalagita at night. And some more horses instead of golf carts. Maybe some batis, or open-air bath areas. Or a real life Lola Basyang giving out stories at night… It’s worth a try, making it like a theme-park, they say. The tour we had was quite hurried, but still, I thank tour guide Joycell for the trivias and short anecdotes on each of the houses which gave them more personality. I enjoyed my stay at Las Casas, we had a fantastic teambuilding and I wish more success to this heritage resort. No ghosts, by the way, just memorable experiences.
Date of Posting: 17 June 2012
Posted By: Jan Paula Dela Victoria
Dear Sir/Madam, My family and I wish to thank the management of Las Casas for a very nostalgic night which you have provided us during our tour and dinner last Saturday, June 9, 2012. The price we paid was really worth it, or even much more. I would say that everything was set-up just perfect for the setting, the dance, the songs, etc. But what most attracted our admiration is your working staff, whom I believed were all from the vicinity of the place, from Bagac. After our tour at 4:00PM, we took our merienda at the restaurant near the Casa Mexico, I forgot the name. My daughter, after our really good merienda, washed her hands at the toilet and she inadvertently left her wedding ring (18k solid gold) at the lavatory. Since the dinner was still at 7PM, we returned to our hotel at the Nuclear Power Village (which incidentally was under my supervision along with the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant). My daughter has been turning everything ups and down to look for her ring and she really forgot where she could have placed it. When we returned to Las Casas, my daughter and her husband tried their luck at the restaurant to look for the ring but thinking that finding it there would be most nil. But alas! The ring was there, we were informed that a lady cleaner named “Marissa” found it and gave it to the restaurant counter. May we commend for her deed which is really uncommon nowadays. I often visit Bagac and would like to provide a little gift of appreciation for what Marissa has given us during that night. Again our sincerest thanks and more power to Las Casas, and God bless. Very truly yours, Mauro L. Marcelo, Jr. OIC VP Logistics, & Head Nuclear Energy Core Group National Power Corporation Diliman, Quezon City
Date of Posting: 10 June 2012
Posted By: MAURO MARCELO
Mabuhay! Kaaya-ayang bumalik dahil sa tanawin at preskong hangin! Thank you to Bel, our tour guide! Friendly, patient and had a great smile! Always! Good job!
Date of Posting: 28 May 2012
Posted By: Dit Sablan
I am in the travel & tourism business. Just about to open my own travel & tour company in Manila. I've heard so much about this place for the last two years now. I would love to visit the place during my two week vacation in July 2012. Please advise how to go about it and kindly provide costs of tour, accommodation etc. Looking forward to hearing from you. Kind regards, Joe Casela
Date of Posting: 26 May 2012
Posted By: Joe Casela
Dubai and Manila
The scenic view of the houses in Vigan, the tranquil sounds of the waves of Boracay, the inviting ambiance of the resorts in Antipolo, and the elegance of the historic walls of Intramuros, all captured in the casas, beach area, batis-inspired pool, and the cobblestones pavement of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
Date of Posting: 22 May 2012
Posted By: Mark Lorenze Torregoza
I very love everything in the place. And it is truly very memorable experience of the past. =)
Date of Posting: 21 May 2012
Posted By: Tricia Yoro
We went on a day tour May 19, 2012. The Good: 1. Place is fantastic. Beautiful houses with interesting histories. Nice beach and pool. Nice bridge too (with manananggal and tikbalang sculptures). 2. Our tour guide (Dexter) was engaging and funny. The Bad: 1. We were lumped together with a big (probably 25-30 member) group. Just too many people around to fully appreciate a guided tour (from house to house and from room to room). 2. We couldn't get inside some of the houses because they were being rented out. This seems an odd arrangement because a) we paid to tour all houses and b) renting out the very old houses would increase their wear and tear. 3. There was a Mindanao house (made of wood and straw) we were only showed from a distance. It would've been nice to have toured it. 4.The buffet lunch is not worth P750. And, unless you already had lunch, you have no choice but to get it because the ala carte items are expensive too. 5. We did not see, nor did the staff we asked seem to know about, the Panaderia de la Escolta advertised on the Facilities section. Would have loved to have tried the advertised "popular breads, cakes and pastries from long time ago are served fresh daily. Century old recipes passed on from generations are once more recreated and tested." 6. It was VERY hot! The tour package should have included the use of umbrellas or straw hats. Small concession for the P650 tour fee. In all, uniqueness of the place was still worth the 3 hour trip from QC.
Date of Posting: 19 May 2012
Posted By: Maria B
As a resident of Balanga, We have been hesitant going to this place since to us mostly familiar locals it first sounded very much over-rated, as it was a place of destination bragged by the noveau riche. But due to insistent offerings, we decided to go with one of our friends, who was a member there and we came in for free. I was very much surprised and actually very much overwhelmed with what I saw (+positively). It was such a grand place, and the houses were painted creatively, and carefully, I did not see any house with such and ugly color such as those weird light greens and pink, the tones were very earthy, it did reminisce of what the houses looked like back in the old days according to scholarly texts. The road was all cobblestone-like. The house's facade look as if they were new houses in a "very old forbes park", (if you get what I mean) it was a place for the old rich especially those who were able to see their ancestral homes and my family and I was very much prized by what we saw. We then talked about our old ancestral houses and what we can do with them. It was such an inspiration, for us; what mesmerized us more is the careful master-planning of the project in its entirety. It was just so beautiful, we cannot give anything negative towards this place. Aside from the fact that the place was brilliant, the people and the tour guides as well were very accommodating and seemed to have answered all of our questions. The lagoon was astounding as well as the interior of the homes as it had a very light and grandeur feeling. None can you see old houses here that look tormenting, all of them meticulously refurbished and restored to its old glory. The kalesas were a perfect match, and they had more houses to build as some were still ongoing construction. What made us fall in love with the place even more is the Lola Basyang bridge, it looked very authentic, even the houses from afar looked as if they were placed carefully, for example, The old UP Fine Arts Building was at its best. The old UP Sign was still there, the wood was just marvelous, not too much refurbished just enough to give that raw texture. I think we still have to wait for more, they're building a new church and some more houses. But as of now, it is astounding. The only comments i have which aren't negative at all but more of a suggestion is to add more stuff to the already-made homes. Place more furniture and paintings if possible. Don't make all houses into resort-houses, the beauty of the other homes would not be appreciated well. Create more museums, make a lights and sounds museum if you can or a lola basyang theater; about the story of the Philippines or whatever the company can come up with. Also, improve the music choices from instrumental to kundiman, get singers who can sing on the roads and place stalls by the escolta to give that escolta feel. Don't allow cars to get in, even the owner, if he loves his business, he must sacrifice, it kind of turns off the people who get in the place as it sheds off too much modernity. Make better kalesas for your guests. Make it theme-park-resort like. Add food carts for day visitors such as steamed corn, roasted chestnuts, filipino food that people can walk with. Make people in those old authentic filipiniana outfits roam around selling stuff or singing to people, also, make old news papers if you can, as a map for visitors if there are those who choose not to have tour guides. Sell games or organize filipino games. Have people paint others portraits, have more activities you can come up with and I assure you, in less than 10 years time, you'd be able to get more than your ROI and more than the profit your company expects. To Mr. Jerry Acuzar, if my great grandfather would be alive and I know you know him, he would have been very very very proud of you and your work.
Date of Posting: 13 May 2012
Posted By: Jonathan Zabala Beltran