Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Trippin': Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar and Mount Samat [Travel Tuesday]

Note: It's Travel Tuesday! All Travel Tuesday posts are of course in the Travel Tuesday tag.

A trip back to the past

My first Travel Tuesday post was all about my trip to Japan. This time around, I thought I'd post about a local travel destination that has gained popularity in recent years -- Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan -- plus a side trip to Mount Samat, which has always been a must-see Bataan landmark. I went on the trip with my then-fiance, now-husband and his family back in late 2012. Somehow I just never got around to posting this anywhere. 

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a heritage park that aims to preserve historical Filipino houses and buildings. We stayed overnight there and then made a day trip to Mount Samat on the way back to Manila. At first, I was apprehensive because I'm not really into old, antique things and historical places. I'm more into urban adventures or chillin-at-the-beach type of vacations. To be honest, historical stuff just scares me because I feel like there are ghosts lurking in every corner! 

That is why I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this trip immensely. It was great seeing houses and buildings from the past and hearing about the history behind them. The place was gorgeous too, and though some parts of it were a little creepy when it got dark, the hotel area was new and only modeled after an old building so I wasn't that worried about ghosts, heh. 

I had fun on the trip we made to Mount Samat as well, because it was another historical place. We visited the Dambana ng Kagitingan National Shrine, which is dedicated to the fallen Filipinos and Americans during World War II. 

Without further ado, here are the photos. [Note: I did not include a lot of photos of our family. These are just the ones of me, the husband, and the scenery.]

On the road to Bataan

The Dambana ng Kagitingan cross on top of Mount Samat in the distance

We've arrived! Hello, old old old mailbox.

The lobby - old painting, old wooden beams, old chandelier, old capiz windows

Spanish times

It felt like we simply stepped right back into the 1800s. Las Casas takes old houses and buildings from all over the country and moves them brick by brick to the resort to preserve them. The place is a museum of sorts.  

It's a Philippine town -- from centuries ago. One might argue that they are not exactly preserving history by uprooting these buildings from the actual sites where history took place, but they would have fallen to ruin or sold to become malls and convenience stores otherwise.

Me, looking way too modern for the place


Loved these figures. Check out the one on the left!

The hotel building, where we stayed. It's new -- just made to look like all the other old buildings.

The pool. It was designed to look like a batis (brook).

Peanut Butter and Jelly!

While we were waiting for our quarters, we checked out the house beside the lobby building.

We had to take our shoes off to enter most of the houses, so as not to damage the floors. Check out how intricate the details are in this house.

The resort staff moves these figures around from time to time -- or do they? 

Just hanging out in an old house

The loft that we shared with hubby's cousin and his wife.

We couldn't believe the amount of detail that this place had. They even took pains to make the "new" hotel area seem authentic. Even the door numbers looked straight out of Noli Me Tangere.

The rest of the family's three-floor accommodations next door. This was the ground floor living area.

Our door

My scaredy-cat self didn't want to look into any old mirrors but I couldn't resist mirror pics.

Evidence that the hotel building is new: the bathrooms were modern and sparkling clean. Thank goodness! I was worried I would have to get into clawed-feet bathtubs and such.

We had airconditioning, TVs, and refrigerators in our rooms too.

Our loft had a chic breakfast nook on the first floor.

The entrance to our abode.

A and I stayed in the loft.

Looking out the window

View of the town from our balcony.

We took the tour, of course. While the elder members of the family rode in a hired tram, us younger ones walked. This lady took us on a trip back to the past. (The staff are all in Filipino costumes -- baro't sayas, camisa de chinos, and the like.)

A palo-sebo pole

Nice day for history

Pineapple ceiling!

Gorgeous place

We had to wear hats because although it was November, it was hot!

The first University of the Philippines building

Having a moment

That light!

Incredible room

Enormous mirror

So genteel

Snippets of life back then

Wide shot of the mirror

The bell, bow.

And the tour continues...

Walking on cobbletones (Hello UST UAAP Havaianas!)

Man, the place was gorgeous.

Bahay kubo (nipa hut)

This was the house of our national hero Jose Rizal's mother, Teodora Alonzo.



On the green

Tipping my hat

Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang

Again, that light!

Another house

Us and the view

Such intricate ceilings. People must have looked up a lot in those days.

It was a trip for the Medinas indeed.

The fountains and statues were as lovely as the houses.

Tree-lined street

Casa Luna

Where the poor people lived in those times - wooden houses with a silong

Tita Wynny on the steps

Me as an aliping sagigilid. In those days, the servants were only allowed to walk in special areas around the rooms. They weren't supposed to be seen by visitors.

A peek inside the main room

A very old toilet

The dining room

Old stuff all around

Tired after the tour

They moved.

Merienda time - kikiam and fish balls!


So serene


Day to night


Back to the hotel

So quiet

Dinner time

Now this is a Filipino restaurant

The courtyard

A + J

Me, him, and the blue door

Calling it a night

Good Morning Las Casas!

They moved.

Tsokolate and orange juice


Alas, A and I had to work. Grown-up mode on. We went to the lobby - the only place with WiFi.

One last bit of sightseeing

The beach

More sightseeing

One last mansion. Bye Las Casas!

Off to Mount Samat!

There are markers like this all over Bataan, indicating the route of the Death March.

Roadside scenes

Heading up the mountain

The National Shrine aka Dambana ng Kagitingan

At the base of the cross

Going up there. Yes, there.

The view from the top

On the mountain

There was a museum there too but we didn't go in anymore.

Last pics

On the way back, our last stopover was Nathaniels in Pampanga! It was my first time there. They have amazing siomai and buko drinks. Their famous buko pandan was the creamiest and yummiest I ever tried. 

It was a wonderful and very educational trip. We really appreciated the history lesson while on vacation.


  1. Beautiful place! I love Nathaniel's too, they have siomai pala. :)

    1. I just saw the siomai and went for it. They have a lot of food there, daming snacks. Now I'm craving.

      I had no idea Las Casas was that beautiful. I didn't so my research before going there. I thought we were just going to some resort in Bataan haha.