Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar has been on my list of places to go to since I saw a promo on this on Deal Grocer. That list has been growing through the years with Las Casas never getting crossed off. It’s not that I never tried to make plans to go. I’ve asked friends to go. I’ve even researched the room rates there because Las Casas is in Bataan and it’s about four hours away from Manila one way. Super paguran yun and I’m not the willing type to subject myself to such kind of travel.
But finally! This year I finally got to go to Las Casas! Special thanks to the MOA Ferry that has cut travel time to Bataan from 4 hours to 50 minutes! One way fare is Php450 if you book online. You could walk in but that’s going to cost you double.
Meet my travel buddies – Dom and Ryan. I’m the forever third wheel in this scenario. Oh well. I’d have loved to go here with my own boyfriend too but the guy is currently not available. Still it was fun and I could not have picked better travel buddies for this trip because they both are great with the camera so photos galore!
The whole trip going there took us about two hours since the ferry stops at Orion Port and Las Casas is in Bagac. There was a shuttle waiting for us at the port which took us to the terminal where we could ride a jeep. The initial plan was to ride a jeep then a tricycle to get to our destination but the jeepney barker told us we didn’t have to do so anymore as the jeep could take us – we just needed to pay a fare of Php80 each. Good thing too because that was an additional 1 hour. I think if we went with our original plan, we might not been as comfortable while traveling.
Entrance fee to Las Casas is Php2000 which is inclusive of a heritage tour, river cruise, visit to the Hotel de Oriente, kalesa ride and Php500 consumable food. You can also swim at their man made pool and the beach. With all these things inclusive in the fee plus just looking at how beautiful the whole place is, so picture worthy, I think that rate is very worth it.
Being at Las Casas made me feel like I’ve traveled back in time – back to old Manila, specifically during the Spanish era. It was a hot summer day when we went here. Day tour during Labor Day holiday. Considering we live in a tropical country and the weather is unpredictable, you might want to bring things that will help you fight off the heat most especially like sun block, facial mist and umbrella. Also best to wear comfy shoes because the heritage tour involves a lot of walking though that’s just about an hour and then the rest of the tour you’re free to roam around and do what you please.
The heritage tour is where you get to explore various Spanish-Filipino heritage houses (some are replicas and some actually transported to Las Casas!) and each house has a story to tell. I enjoyed that tour because I love learning and re-learning about history. There’s just so much to know! And some you wouldn’t find out from history books.
For instance, at Casa Binan, the replicated house of Teodora Alonzo (our national hero, Jose Rizal’s mother), our tour guide told us about the scandalous history of Teodora Formosa, the wife of Rizal’s mom’s brother. Teodora Alonzo’s sister-in-law was locked in a room in the house by her father-in-law because she was believed to be having an affair with the captain of the civil guards. Later on, Formosa had Rizal’s mom in jail because she accused the latter of poisoning her. A couple of years later, when Teodora Alonzo forgot to use her Spanish surnmae Realonzo, she was again punished by the Spanish by making her walk fifty miles. That incident served as Rizal’s inspiration for Sisa, one of the characters in his revolutionary novel, Noli Me Tangere.
At Casa Baliwag Uno, I found out that back in the day, when guests come knocking at the door, the people living in the house would first peep in a hole on the floor at the top of their house to see who it was. If the guest is welcome, a string is pulled to open the door to let the visitor in but if it turns out to be someone unwelcome, they’d pour water or more disgusting, urine is poured over the head of the guest from above.
I was too busy listening to our guide and taking in the surroundings in each heritage house that I didn’t get to take photos. Ryan and Dom stayed behind after going to a couple of heritage houses since they were not much fans of walking in the heat or going up and down heritage houses and oh Ryan also got a foot blister so…
Anyway after the heritage tour, we went around to explore the area. Naturally, with a place as beautiful and scenic as Las Casas, we had to take lots of photos!
We took the river cruise after lunch. Lunch while good was I have to say expensive. But anyway we had a total of Php1,500 to consume so we didn’t spend much for food. Only about Php200 extra if I remember correctly since the food is also good for sharing. It’s a short river cruise and yes the heat of the sun was pretty cruel but no matter. We were determined to enjoy and savor our trip to Las Casas.
There was a foreigner couple who took the river cruise with us but we didn’t let that stop us from posing for the camera. It’s for the ‘gram you know.
Every nook and cranny of Las Casas I have to say is picture worthy. Even when it’s just an alleyway.
Hotel de Oriente was the last stop of our Las Casas tour. In 1889, it was considered to be one of the most luxurious hotels to be found in Binondo, Manila. Why was it considered luxurious? It had a phone and electricity – both rare things back then. Now both comes easy to us because now we don’t only have a phone, we have smartphones! And almost everywhere you go now in the Philippines, there’s electricity (I know there are still some far flung places in the country that Meralco has yet to install electricity at) and when brownouts occur, we’re beside ourselves how to pass the time.
The hotel is as picturesque as the rest of the place.