When traveling, I book a 4- to 5-star hotel only if I need a staycation. Otherwise, I choose hostels or budget hotels because all I need is a decent place to sleep after spending most of the day outdoors. Thanks to the destination wedding of my friends Koke and Pam, I discovered the staycation resort, Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar—quite a mouthful for a hotel name, so let’s just call it Las Casas (the houses).
This massive property in Bagac, Bataan features heritage houses and buildings as hotel accommodations. To keep historical homes from further dilapidation and demolition, Las Casasinvestors came to the rescue. Each structure was painstakingly moved, brick by brick, from its original location and rebuilt in Las Casas. The traditional furniture and fixtures are also preserved, while the cobblestone roads bring together the rustic vibe of each structure, making the visitors feel like they’ve time-traveled to 18th century Philippines.
The nightly rates vary, depending on the building or house you choose. Each structure in Las Casas has a story—of love, murder, mystery, and arts, all of which I learned through the official tour guide. All checked-in guests are free to join the one-hour walking tour scheduled every hour from 8:30-11:30 a.m. daily.
The tour guide takes you inside the relocated and refurbished homes, gives you a background and history of each place, and shows you the preserved furniture our Filipino-Spanish ancestors used back in the day. It’s like a refresher on my history classes in grade school and high school, only this time I got to walk through the real thing.
The houses came from different parts of the Philippines. There’s Paseo de Escolta, a replica of the 1900s buildings in Escolta, Manila. There, you can visit the bakery and souvenir shops or check into one of the deluxe family rooms. There are stone houses like Casa Unisan, which was originally from Unisan, Quezon in the 1830s, and wooden stilt houses like Casa Cagayan.
I noticed that the information on their official website isn’t updated, and since there are many houses still under construction, it’s best to just call the hotline for questions and reservations.
For my fellow travelers planning to book a stay in Las Casas, here are tidbits I compiled from my experience.
Freebies for check-in guests:
1. Breakfast buffet
2. Welcome drinks before the walking tour
3. Walking tour
4. Cold towel after the tour
5. Regular jeepney shuttle to take you around the resort
6. Access to board games in the game room.
7. Resort guide map a la theme park. Yes, the place is that big!
Things to do:
1. Walk around the resort on your own to explore the structures and restaurants, and not to mention, take a million Instagram-worthy photos.
2. Swim at Bagac beach.
3. Book water sports or island-hopping tours.
4. Swim at the pool inspired by the batis, a natural stream of water where our ancestors went swimming and bathing.
5. Rent a bike, golf cart, or kalesa (horse carriage).
6. Visit the game room in Casa Lubao.
7. Get a spa service inspired by the Filipino hilot (massage).
8. Go on the free walking tour with the official guide, who speaks in both English and Tagalog. If you didn’t check in their resort, you may pay for the one-hour walking tour or all-day tour.
9. Go on a merienda (afternoon snack) food trip at the food stalls next to the reception area. You may buy Filipino delicacies such as cassava cake, kalamay ube, and puto bungbong.
10. Explore the tourist spots outside the resort. Click here for recommendations.
1. The place is pet-friendly, and each pet gets charged as an additional head per night.
2. It’s not PWD-friendly as there are no elevators or wheelchair ramps.
3. Many buildings are still under construction, so you may find a bunch of noisy bulldozers and builders throughout the day.
4. You will end up walking a lot, so make sure you bring your best flip-flops or comfy sneakers. There’s a free jeepney shuttle that goes around to pick up guests, but I found that it wasn’t frequent enough, so I walked throughout my stay.
5. The food is pricey, and there are only five restaurants to choose from around the resort. The fine print said that they are strict with implementing a corkage fee, so get ready to shell out for food.
6. Aside from the accommodations, the money is in the walking tour, so make sure you don’t miss that.
Overall, Las Casas reminds me of all-in-one resorts like Villa Escudero that give the visitors a crash course on Filipino culture while getting staycation services.