Sunday, July 17, 2016

Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, Bagac, Bataan

Last November 22-23 2013, I had a chance to go to Bataan with 3 of my college friends. R, Louie and Roch (+ Zaldy our driver). It was supposed to be a thesis group plus partners kind of trip but then one thesis mate of ours got sent to a business trip. Anyway, it was our first time in Bataan and I think staying in Las Casas was definitely a luxurious way to do it. 

Just gorgeous
We got a executive suite from deal grocer, this is good for 6 people inclusive of breakfast + guided heritage tour + usage of pool. We paid P1000 per person for this, originally it was P7000+ a night. Thank you Deal Grocer. I coordinated with the resort via email to confirm our stay. They were really polite and efficient with their confirmation. They also provided maps and policies so that we were guided well. 
Dining room
From our executive suite
We used a private car to get to Las Casas, we followed signs and the map provided by the reservation manager. We initially got lost but managed to find our way in the end. The trip was roughly 3 hours from Manila. Good thing, we had a driver or else I'm sure our trip would be much longer. 

We arrived quarter to 10 AM, we were given welcome drinks and breakfast vouchers. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the staff wearing traditional filipino clothing. Standard check-in time is 2:00 PM; while check-out time is 12NN. Since we still had a little time before check in, we decided to do some walking around the area and join the 1 hour Guided Morning Tour at 10:30 PM. The Guided Heritage Tours is about 30 mins to 1 hour depending on the guide and participants. Schedule is at 8:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM. Also, its better if you wear socks since you have to remove your shoes and slippers before entering any houses (no exceptions like in Myanmar). I think its to keep the place clean and make sure the flooring will not break.  If ever you plan to leave the resort, make sure to get an exit pass from the guard or else they might not let you in. Also no outside food is allowed. They charge a corkage fee of P500 per person. That is why you really have to buy inside the resort even if its expensive.

Our guide was really friendly and chatty which made the guided tour interesting. We went through several old heritage houses that came from different parts of the Philippines. What made them interesting was some of them were dismantled, flown to the site, and was built piece by piece. It's really amazing once you see how detailed and beautiful these houses are. I remember one specific house that is the most expensive house to stay at, I stayed there longest. I walked through all allowable areas and tried to understand how these people lived before. It had real gold painted on its artistry. Each house was unique from another, from the stones to the design. There was also historical articles from the past, I especially enjoyed the segment on the rich man's dining table. I saw that there were small sections of the dining house which allowed the servants to move around, we also saw the kitchen and toilets from long ago. It was really neat and having a chatty smart guide made it even better.
With real props
with our guide
Afterwards, we were really hungry and ate at Cafe Marivent for lunch. They serve filipino/spanish food. We were surprised with the prices and the taste did not match the price. Sadly I do not recommend this restaurant, but given the limited choices in Las Casas... you really have make a choice. We ordered the Paella Valenciana, Pinakbet, and Kare-kare; our usual staple food in this kind of restaurant. 
Yey food!
After lunch, we walked around the area again and took more posed photos. We rented bikes (the pathway is really bumpy that it hurts!), played billiards, flew kites, and did a relay on the sand. They even have pools that you can swim at, but I did not want to swim so I cannot comment on its usability. They have a lot of activities you can do, especially now that the amphitheater is done. The common park was being setup for a wedding, I saw how they made up the tables and was really pretty. I think it will be grand to have a wedding at such a historical place. "Make history where history belongs." We took our afternoon siesta since the executive suite is just so beautiful. We had 3 floors to ourselves. The first floor was where Zaldy slept, it had a sofa + dining + TV + bathroom. The second floor was where Roch and I slept, it had a queen sized bed + air con + massive traditional bathroom. The third floor was were R and Louie slept, it had 2 queen sized beds with an air-con directly above. It was really huge and the details of the room takes you back to the old spanish days, I love the capis shell details and the old smell of wood. But the sheets are clean and fresh like they came from the washer, not from the spanish times. haha Thank God. The room was really old that they had metal keys, not the typical keycard nowadays. They charge PhP 3,500 for lost mechanical keys and Php 500 for lost Hotel Keys.

Everything looked like a movie set
Details count
construction going on.
a lot of catholic relics
sun + plants = LOVE
wished I have a house like this
massive windows
The Spaniards know their design
Fruit bearing trees
Bought snacks at the local "LA PANADERIA" after goofing around

I just love this house
cheesy shoot
different "casa's"

flying kites
goofing around
for the sake of a good shot haha
welcome to a person's house

can i have this dance?

annoying people
had a hard time going around
something was being fixed

love the ceiling!

As you can see from the photos above, Las Casas is a great place to take photos. It has such a very beautiful scenery that any area can be a photo op spot. You can even rent costumes so that you are in theme. 

By night time, it was time for dinner. I was too scared to walk around the grass since I heard frogs croaking. I remember running around fast and crazy to the restaurant and back to our suite. For dinner, we ate at La Bella Teodoro. Another costly experience but interesting since they had the traditional oven to cook their pizza. Everything was made fresh and by hand. It was interesting to watch them while waiting for the food. We mostly ordered tasteful food from the pizza, penne, and 2 risotto's of course. The serving was a bit small for the price. And the taste was not really spectacular. But it was a good meal with good friends.

even in the dark everything is pretty
Windows are a great photo-op place
Dim lights made the streets romantic
The next day, thank you deal grocer for the included breakfast. I really did not want to spend anymore on this trip. We went to Cafe Marivent for our breakfast. We had some Daing and Longganisa with rice. Anything with rice is a great way to start the day. We chilled a bit in our room before checking out. Official check out time is at 12NN.
excuse the face hahaha
Zaldy enjoying is breakfast view
Before we headed back to Manila, I urged R to drop by the nearby Pawikan Conservation Center. We got lost and nearly took us an hour to get to the center. The road was really small and not convenient that we had a hard time maneuvering through with a sedan sized car. The pawikan center was really small but the people volunteering there had big hearts. They really cared for their ecosystem and what happens to the turtles. They had nurseries and exhibits regarding the turtles. They even had festivals to give awareness to the locals and also they have regular releasing of the baby turtles to the wild. They rescue and save baby turtles and release them when its time. They have different kinds of turtles in the center, they are available for viewing and photo ops. It was a sad sight, but I was happy that they were in the center rather than dying in the wild.
Happy tripping!


Lone Facet said...

They helped us put together a great menu, from the consultation to the tasting to the actual event. At San Francisco wedding venues they had biscuits and gravy, cornbread muffins, fried catfish, jambalaya, enormous pieces of fried chicken