the house was already degrading, some rooms locked, holes on the wooden flooring and the sofa gone. this was the view of our ancestral house in the small village of Begang in the island of Basilan. left closed for almost five years now. the materials almost unrecoverable. a week ago, i had the chance to visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in the coastal town of Bagac Bataan. it holds a number of ancestral houses transferred from its original site, rebuilt to be part of a resort.walkways and main streets are made of cobblestones thus giving a nostalgic experience of the Philippines during the Spanish colonization. beautiful landscape of green and gray, fountains and lamp posts. out of the twenty plus houses, six of the houses has rooms open for overnight accommodations. among these houses, there are several stand-outs because of its unique architectural features and the historical value that it once had.
 Casa Escolta. the only structure built based on photos of the Old Escolta in Manila and not transferred from an original site. also the largest structure in the compound with 17 cozy rooms each with a balcony of its own.
 Casa Lubao. this among all the houses has a beautiful interior design with spacious living room and a nice balcony. two standing small figures welcomes the visitors. the ceilings used light colored paints as backdrops with some colorful fruits on some sides.
 Casa Luna. named after the Luna brothers General Antonio Luna and the artist Juan Luna. its ground floor is made up of red bricks and the rear stairs leads to a beautiful veranda. after one looks at the front and back side of the house, one would even think that these are two different houses. inside, it holds some of important items and the guide even revealed that there's a library in the building which is not open to the public yet. visitors are required to take off their foot wear when entering the rooms. Casa Vyzantina. like Casa Escolta, this has three floors and is still under construction. one of the few structures that survived World War II also has large stairways. the covered balconies in the third floor are impressive. the view from the top can make one feel like he owns a whole hacienda.
 Casa Hidalgo. considered as one of the most beautiful house during the Spanish era. it soon became the first campus of the University of the Philippines for Architecture and Fine Arts. famous Filipino artists like Fernando Amorsolo, Guillermo Tolentino and Tomas Mapua also finished their studies for arts here.from outside, this building looks small but as one enters its doors, it leads to lined arcs. a small portion of the ground floor now serves as a venue where the celebration of the mass is celebrated on Sundays. Casa Unisan. is a double house structure which has three dining areas and serves as the restaurant of the whole compound. with Cafe Miravent in the ground floor and special dining areas in the second floor. other houses includes Casa Baliuag I which has a beautiful lady pillar while Casa Baluiag II has its entire ground floor open. Casa Mexico which serves as the main lobby for the resort and Casa
the entire resort also has several fountains and statues representing typical Filipino games and symbolism. near the bay area is a swimming pool and on far North is a stone bridge leading to the beach side.
but in contrary, this reminded me of how valuable it would be to restore our own ancestral houses on its original site. it would be important for each province to hold and secure its own heritage houses, where it is still best to be visited and valued.
how to get there:
Take a bus from Manila to Bagac Bataan.
From town center, you can take a tricycle entering a small almost one way street to the resort. It will just be few minutes from the bus drop off point.
island: mainland Luzon
province: Bataan (Southwest)
14^ 35" 60' N
120^ 23" 13' E