Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar with kids
Two and a half hours away from Manila (in no traffic), this is a collection of old Spanish houses that have been transplanted from all parts of the Philippines or are replicas. They did a great job of landscaping and planning the site tastefully and artistically, it’s like walking into an 18 hectare-town of old Spanish houses.
We loved it with the kids. Reasons why:
1) The “town” is so fun to see, you feel transplanted into another era. All the staff are dressed as in Spanish times. Beautiful greenery, it’s by the water, and they’ve even made an inlet so there’s a section that has canals. Great outdoor museum/cultural experience for the kids. You can follow a guided tour (every hour, lasts 1.5 hours) and they tell you about approx. 20 of the houses, you even enter some.
2) Las Casas has three restaurants: one Filipino (pricier, PHP500 and up per dish, sometimes only offers buffet-style, PHP 650 per person), one Mexican-Filipino (around PHP250 and up per dish, they do actually have tacos) and one Italian (around PHP250 and up per dish). Food was great and not only that, the restaurants are in the old houses and have great settings/atmospheres. At Mexi-Filipino, we liked beef salpicao and the grilled prawns (and the homemade French fries). At Italian, the pizza and pasta were great (pizza made in brick oven) and the soups and salads we got were yummy too! The only disappointment of our whole time at Casas was the buffet breakfast. I think westerners will be disappointed because it is all rice and pinoy sides (scrambled eggs, corned beef, dried fish) and limited bread selection. Even as far as Filipino breakfasts go, I think variety is slim and quality not great (esp. compared to the other food we had at Las Casas).
3) Loved the touches of being able to do a kalesa ride through the town (15 minutes, 50 php per person age 4 and up), a stand that sold Filipino treats like puto bumbong, palitaw and pichi pichi. Also loved the in-house bakery!
4) Las Casas is located on a beach, it’s a beach resort! Kids were so happy to be able to play at the end of the day. And there’s a really fun pool too (looks like a watering hole, pretty local, loved it). It was a great atmosphere at the beach at dusk with so many families there enjoying themselves together.
5) Cultural show every week-end night at 6pm!
6) The hotel rooms! So fun to stay in an old Spanish style room- clean, comfortable and spacious! We got a superior deluxe room (good for 2 adults, 2 kids, and toddlers under 5 stay for free; was about PHP7200 including taxes). You can ask to see the rooms first- only important because some are half the size of others! And also, the first room we checked out smelled mildew-y whereas the room we ended up in did not. Be sure to use this website http://web.lascasasfilipinas-bataan.com/ to book because Las Casas has another website that doesn't show the rates for these rooms, but only the more expensive rooms. In fact, probably best to call them to get their rates because even on the website, they are higher than the walk-in rate that we paid. There are also deluxe rooms for around PHP 5800 (1 queen bed, good for 2 adults, toddlers stay for free).
7) Las Casas can be done as a day tour (they have a day tour rate). Or overnight with getting there for lunch at one of the restos, checking in at 2, doing the heritage tour of the houses in the afternoon, then pool and beach, then cultural show and dinner. Breakfast in the morning, more pool and beach before you have to check out. We just went for one night, felt like an escape and a great getaway. Culture and beach and fun restaurants.
8) And I almost forgot, the staff there are all so nice and sweet to the kids. And I loved all the people visiting Las Casas- everyone’s just happy to be discovering such a neat place. We went in January, there were so many happy balikbayans (Filipinos who live abroad but returning for vacatin) there who were all so friendly and proud to see this great site of Filipino heritage.