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The Block Issue 00

Las Casas Filipinas de

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar? text / Paolo Cuvin I f you’ve grown tired of beach and resort getaways but aren’t too eager on having staycations, then a trip to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan is the perfect center place to visit. Owner Jose Acuzar started to rebuild Spanish colonial era mansions in Bagac, Bataan in 2003 and in 2010 the heritage park was opened to public. Spreads over 400 hectares, the place features over 27 Spanish colonial era buildings and each houses were chosen based on their historical, cultural and architectural value. Some of these mansions are replicas, but ` most are originals collected from various provinces of the Philippines. The casas, the Spanish word for “houses” were often of the bahay na bato type, which is made of wood on the second floor and stone for its foundation. These houses were carefully dismantled on site brick by brick, numbered and transported to the site, where they reassembled and restored. Most of the casas were named after the provinces or towns they originated from such as, Casa Escolta, Casa Binondo, Casas Binan, etc. 12

The trip started around 4:00am means an early morning drive after a wellrested evening around the midterm week. Especially this is one of the events that the students wanted to participate as they see this trip to be a midterm break from their classes and also to be an educating one, after which the trip takes around 5 hours to reach Bagac, Bataan, once one is inside Las Casas the means of transport radically transforms, and the timeless experience is amplified on both feet and wheels. The replica of Balanga Cathedral is the first stop inside the park, the Cathedral is one of the churches in Bataan that adds a new addition to the spreading property of Las casas as the church is still currently on construction. Extensively after a hearing the God’s word, the students head up for their late lunch having their first taste of the unique and delicate Filipino cuisines also adding a rich heritage atmosphere on the place. some casas which normally are not open to the public. The guides share valuable insights about the origin, forgotten history and often shocking controversies surrounding each casa. Ceiling designs goes on throughout the houses and even the joints where the post and ceiling meet are not forgotten. Carved from wood are decorative brackets in the same Filipino Art Nouveau Style. But whether it’s over decorated or not, as it has been said that this houses are very unique to each other and this detail to design is not exclusive to the houses. To fully appreciate the old mansions it’s essential to join the walking tour, around 3pm the heritage tour starts and takes about 1.5 hours to 2 hours and led by guides who can tell the story of each casa by heart. During the tour, visitors are allowed to enter 13

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