Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar: Worth visiting or not?

Introduction! (We’ll get there, I promise)

A pleasant day to you all! Now for a brief introduction on how I stumbled upon this place. I graduated in college a couple of weeks ago. That being said, my family automatically set up a trip to Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar in order to celebrate my WELL-EARNED accomplishment (italicized, in caps-lock and in bold for extra emphasis). My parents chose this place to visit because it’s relatively close to my school. They insisted that after the graduation ceremony, we spend the night in that very city and explore Las Casas the very next day.

You may be thinking: “Hey Carlo, how come you were not able to visit this place if it’s relatively close to where you were studying?” Well, I have 3 answers for that. ONE: I am studying in a semi-regimented type of school. We are strictly not allowed to go outside the school premises and are only given very few opportunities to go outside (only during semester breaks, Christmas breaks and holy week). TWO: I. am. broke. The admission here is a bit pricey and burning cash during my years of studying is out of the question. THREE: I AM BROKE. Phew! Congratulations on surviving that fully optional introduction. Now, on to what you came here for!

What exactly is the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar?

To put it simply, this place is a collection of old Filipino houses. These houses were meant to be kept only as a private collection by a rich business man named Jose “Gerry” Acuzar. He started collecting old Filipino houses way back year 2003 and it was only until seven years later that the park was finally opened to the public for viewing. The heritage park now spreads over 400 hectares wide and features a whopping TWENTY SEVEN Spanish colonial-era buildings. It also has its own restaurant, a beach, a man-made river, and a swimming pool. There are also stone houses and replicas of some of the famous structures found in the Philippines.

Things that I liked about the park (dislike part later):

1) Their parking area and registration process

The parking area is huge and well organized. There are security guards dressed in katipunan uniforms (yes, they are wearing old filipino uniforms- a plus for me) that will guide you if you are going for a day tour, or staying in for the night. The employees dressed in traditional Filipino outfit (again, a plus for me) will then welcome you at the registration area and ask about your preferred tour package. The registration process is fast and efficient- which is quite impressive considering the volume of tourists frequenting the park.

2) The employees and tour guides.

The employees really know what they are doing. They are well versed about their role inside the heritage park- it’s a small thing, yes, but knowing your job and doing it well sometimes makes all the difference specially in a place as huge as this one. Tour guides are competent to the point that they could crack a joke in English and still deliver the punch line well. Simply put: they are passionate in what they do.

3) The boat ride

Finally. Ever wanted to have a feel of the famous river cruise of Italy without breaking the bank? Then this place is for you. Enjoy your river ride as the boat man tells interesting stories about the heritage park. Ready your camera throughout the ride- I know you’ll also want to have that underneath-the-arc photo saved into your gallery. Hahahaha

4) The interesting stories of their Casas.

Okay, I don’t want to spoil you too much on this one. I’ll just say that the stories of the tour guides is something to look forward to if you plan on visiting here. Some of the houses here are transferred from their original locations and a number of it even played an important role in Philippine history. Some houses hold dark secrets, while some are even controversial! Yikes! Just make sure to stick with the group when entering the house where abortions are done back then. (Sorry not sorry)

5) The kalesa ride

I know some of you out there do not enjoy attractions that showcase animal labor. I’m putting this on my “like list” because the horses for the kalesa ride looked well-fed, healthy and strong. The kalesa ride gives the visitors a feel of what it is like to belong to the upper class society back then, which I think is something that a heritage park like this one would naturally offer to its guests. I have seen abused horses at the other parts of the Philippines and the ones kept here are far from that condition. You could always skip this attraction if you want- even if it is included in your tour package. Overall, I liked the fact that AT LEAST, they were able to keep their horses in good condition.

6) The food served in their restaurant is authentic and delicious.

Make sure to avail of the tour package with lunch because I tell you: you will not regret it. You could head to the restaurant after finishing the morning tour. There are exclusive dishes made each day, and from that you could customize your lunch set. We had chicken binakol and beef kare kare as main dish during our stay here; it was delicious! The other guests were also enjoying the food so I could bet that their food is really something.

8) Hotel de Oriente

I could simply not pass this review without emphasizing how much effort is made to construct the interior design of this truly, majestic replica of the first luxury hotel in Binondo during the Spanish colonial era. The floor, ceiling, staircase, and decors of the hotel are all made out of wood. Yes, even the statues that you will see at the succeeding photos. The best part about this is that numerous jobs were given to local wood carvers during its construction. This is truly a solid proof of Filipino craftsmanship.

7) Value for money

Yep, the entrance fee here is anything but cheap. That’s what I also thought of at first but then, everything changed after I explored the heritage park. Maintaining a place this huge could cost a fortune! And to think of how much money is needed  to move the houses from its original location into this place, I could say that our money is well spent. You would be treated like masters here, so I guess a master-like fee is only appropriate. Hahaha

 

Things that I did not like about the park:

1) Road going here is not cemented/ fixed.

This could be a problem specially when you’re traveling using a private vehicle. Make sure to check out the condition of those tires because going here will be one bumpy ride. I just hope that they plan to fix this problem soon because the park is getting more visitors each day.

2) Expensive souvenirs even for a heritage park

I get it. Souvenirs could be a little bit expensive at attractions like this one. But, the price here somehow even exceeded the “average park souvenir price rate”. Or maybe I’m just being stingy? I can’t tell. You’ll be the judge of that when you visit here.

 


Verdict:

I guess my verdict is pretty obvious by now. My answer is YES, it is worth visiting whether you’re a local or a foreigner. Personally, I am not fond of heritage parks but this one was able to add various activities and tours that made it stand out among the rest. The park is also continuously expanding, which means that there is something new to visit every after a few couple of years or so.


Planning to visit here?

Contact them through:

Manila Sales and Reservation Office
Room Reservations: Direct Lines: 332.5338 / 332.5286 / 355.3032
Mobile No.: 0917.872.9361
Email: reserve@lascasasfilipinas.com

Corporate Sales: 866.8500
Office Hours: 8:30AM – 5:30PM
Monday-Saturday
Office Address: Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar QC Casa Juico
#134 Roosevelt Avenue Barangay Paraiso, San Francisco Del Monte, QC
Resort Reception: 0917.872.9371 (Sundays and holidays)

Or go to their website for all the info you need to know about Las Casas (park fees, opening hours, how to go, activities offered, schedule of shows, and more):

https://www.lascasasfilipinas.com/

 

I hope you enjoyed my post! Happy traveling guys!

-Carlo, WHT

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