Las Casas Filipinas, Bagac—Bataan Chronicles 2023 (Part 2)

Our next stop in Bataan is the municipality of Bagac—site of the popular Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, and more! We only planned a peek but we ended up staying.

Rows of restored old houses at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar was the main reason we traveled to Bagac. We were only planning for a day tour, but it was already the middle of the afternoon when we arrived so we only had a few hours of sunlight to explore the huge property. After much deliberation, we decided to stay overnight instead so that we have more time to leisurely explore what the property has to offer.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar vicinity map.
Our home for the night.

I never really thought that we’d actually stay in one of these old houses. I thought that they were just there to look at, but they’re actually used to house guests, and depending on your budget and the size of your party, you may actually get to have an entire house to yourself! The thought was a bit discomforting knowing how some tourists can misbehave and the age of the houses, but I guess it’s a good way of making use of these old houses and having recurring income to help preserve them.

Hallway to the rooms.
It felt like being in a different era.
Our windowless room.
Our toilet with an “old-school” bidet that really works. We also had a bathtub that we weren’t able to use.
This is the view from our veranda.
Dewey Blvd. in front of our hotel separates the buildings from the beachside.

After settling in our room, we walked around the vicinity and we were able to catch a carabao race. It was one of the shows done in various locations in the property throughout the day for visitors. I admit, I only know about these huge creatures from books and while I’ve seen them a few times from afar, it’s my first time to see them “in action” outside the typical farm. It’s amazing to see them so accustomed around people.

I have never seen carabaos run!
A nice pocket park near our hotel.

We explored the sceneries around Las Casas and watched the sunset along the beach. There weren’t that many people around so we enjoyed the serenity as the sun slowly sets on the horizon. And we continued walking around afterwards, watched some cultural shows, and of course dined in one of their restaurants.

One of the more prominent structures in the property, Sanctuario De San Jose.
Sometime after the sunset.
The lagoon at the back of our hotel.
This was where we caught the cultural show. There’s also a film showing inside the house on the right, and there’s a restaurant near the area where we dined. The building at the back is where you can get snacks and souvenirs.
Sanctuario De San Jose at night.
Spoliarium replica made of pieces of wood in different shades, located within Hotel de Oriente.

The following morning, I took the opportunity to run along their gorgeous beach. I think it’s easily one of the most overlooked attractions of this property, overshadowed by the numerous old structures that the property is known for. Their beach is wide, clean, and long—perfect for doing a long run, but unfortunately, you’re discouraged from running outside the property (public beach side) as their security guards prevent non-guests from entering their beachfront and you may not have means to identify yourself as a guest on your way back. Anyways, there’s more than enough beachfront on the property to do kilometers worth of run. It also means that even if you don’t stay in Las Casas, you can still enjoy the beaches of Bagac as there’s a public area just beside it.

Morning at the beach.

A breakfast buffet is inclusive with our stay and the selection is quite nice with many local dishes to choose from. It is served in Hotel de Oriente and guests are free to use the jeepneys to shuttle them back and forth between their room and the breakfast area, or anywhere within the property within the jeepney’s route.

Another view of Sanctuario De San Jose.

Our last activity for the day before checking out was joining the free walking tour. It takes about an hour or so, depending on how fast the joiners can walk. The tour guide shared some background on Las Casas and it’s owner, Mr. Acuzar, as well as the history of some of the houses in the property as we entered them. Our guide made the tour very educational and entertaining that we didn’t really noticed the duration of the tour. Looking back, I think we would’ve appreciated the property more had we taken the tour earlier. Nonetheless, it’s one of the must-do activities here.

Inside one of the houses that we toured.
More of trip our to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in this video.
Other activities you can do here.
Bataan Nuclear Power Plant can be seen from the beach.

Bagac and the Bataan Death March

It was still the middle of the day and we still had some stops on our list of attractions in Bagac. Closest to Las Casas was a kilometer zero Bataan Death March marker. Until that day, I didn’t realize that there was more than one kilometer zero marker—meaning that the death march didn’t just start in one place. It’s a terrible piece of our history, but it’s also something we must not forget to honor the sacrifices of our forefathers that fought for our freedom during the Second World War.

Bagac kilometer zero Death March marker.
A memorial a few meters away from the marker.

Not too far from it was the Philippine-Japanese Friendship Tower. This monument was to symbolize the renewed friendship between Japan and the Philippines.

The Friendship Tower.

Getting There

From Balanga City, you can get a direct ride to Bagac via one of the mini buses in their transport terminal. Another option is to take a bus that passes through the area usually bound for Morong or Olongapo. The Friendship Tower would be your drop off point if you plan to go to Las Casas. There’s a tricycle terminal nearby where you can get a ride to the entrance. If you plan to stay long, ask if they can pick you when you go out as it is about two kilometers to the Friendship Tower and the road is mostly unpaved.

On the way back to Balanga City, there’s a transport terminal not too far away from the Friendship Tower (walkable distance).

But we’re not yet done for the day!

Bataan Chronicles 2023
Balanga City
Las Casas Filipinas, Bagac
Dambana ng Kagitingan

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