A Stroll down in memory lane…
Brgy. Pag-Asa, Bagac, Bataan, Philippines
Days before my 25th birthday, I was looking for places I want to go. Options would depend on price and proximity. I decided between the following: Tree Top Adventure in Subic, Taal Volcano in Batangas, and Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar. I chose the last one. Ever since I was an architecture student, and now that I am an architect,I always hear good things about this place. An effort of conserving 18th & 19th century houses around the Luzon areas, wherein such endeavor, perseverance, would somehow save and preserve the architectural heritage of the Philippines.
The travel from Manila to Bagac, Bataan was tremendously tiring and extensive, especially for us who managed only to commute, following instructions from fellow bloggers from the internet on how to get by the place. It took us 6 exhausting hours for the trip. The tropical weather wasn’t so helpful at all, since the sun shone so hard, with no hint of any clouds above the horizon.
We arrive of about 1 pm, and greeted by the security guard dressed up as “Guardia Sibil” by the fort. As soon as you stepped in to this spot, cobbled stone would soon be stepped into, leading your way to the various houses, plazas, and other features of an 18th century communities, not to mention the coast of Bagac, Bataan. It was peaceful, hot, and few people, manage to tour around this quite expensive heritage resort.
As soon as we paid for our package P1500 (inclusive of 1 hour tour with guide, entrance fee, welcome drink, lunch buffet, and snacks) we soon pig out for lunch! We were starving really bad, that we ate hard enough to feed our hungry and tired body. Mind you, you will not be disappointed with the food choices you will encounter on the buffet table. After eating as much as we can, we rest for a while, and then joined the 1 hour tour of heritage resort.
Bahay na Bato ( Stone Houses) and Wooden Stilts Houses, deluge this place. These include the majestic architectural details, as seen on the roof eaves, balcony grilles, furniture, ceilings, and various parts of the aged houses. These houses are from various parts of the Luzon Island in the Philippines, build from their original and decaying conditions and locations “brick by brick” and “plank by plank”. An effort to save and treasure these once magnificent architectural marvels of their own time and place, now stands firm and once again imposing beauty on the coastal town of Bagac, Bataan.
This served as the reception building of the Resort, antique ceilings, balcony grilles, detailed design of the roof eaves, and capiz windows beautifies this architectural masterpiece. Little information though was given on the house’s history, except that it was built basing only on the old photograph, and the materials salvaged from the junkshop.
Once was owned by one of the most prominent families in Pampanga- the Reyeses, It served as a residence of the Spanish Governor Heneral in visiting Pampanga and as a movie set for “Noli Me Tangere”.
Casa Hidalgo / Enriquez Mansion
Hidalgo St., Quiapo, Manila
Said to be designed by the first architect to practice in the Philippines – Felix Roxas during the Spanish regime, this house was said to be the well-designed during its own time. It was originally the mansion of the Enriquezes before it became the University of the Philippines’ Fine Arts Building. After such, it also serves many other purposes, resulting to poor maintenance of the structure.
Casa Baliuag / Taberna del Senor Pepe
This house from Bulacan was presently used as the resort house of the owner of the whole resort- Acuzar’s. It was constructed during the 1890s where once it served as a municipal hall.
Don Oco Bridge
This house was said to be inspired by the American Architecture, as seen in the horizontal sidings adjacent to the capiz windows. Inside this house, are beautiful interior design details and adorned furniture.
Plaza de Castro
Casa Jaen 1
Jaen, Nueva Ecija
This house is currently the one of the restaurants in the resort, where lunch buffets are being served. Historical accounts tell that this house served as the residence of the first mayor of Jaen.
Casa Luna / Santoromana
Luna, La Union
The house was named after the famous Luna Brothers who took great part in the Revolution during the Spanish Regime. This house was located fronting the plaza, church, and the seminary- typical location when families are quite prominent and rich during that era.
This early 19th century houses were referred to as the poor man’s house. Built on stilts, with wooden post, and huge open space on the ground area, which serves as a place for storage, livelihood activities, and relexation- now this houses serves a massage area for people wanting to relax, as it fronts the coastal bay of Bataan.
Casa Baliuag 2
Paseo de Escolta
This building is built from scratch, with commercial strips of the once glamorous Escolta Street in mind. Towering as high as 30 meters, planked with ionic columns, huge blue green doors, and windows that framed the vista of the ocean and mountain-this architectural replica is a beauty. Adorned with strong colors and white sculptures on top of the ionic columns, this structure serves as the hotel and accommodation of the heritage resort.
Casa Jaen 2
Reminiscent of the old commercial strips of Binondo, it’s like Bahay na Batao meets Art Noveau. Sturdy yet the floral motifs neutralize its height and expanse. It became a house to Instituto de Manila to Hold elementary and highschool classes and during this early 20th century, it became a dwelling place of 50 squatters before it was transferred to Bataan.
Casa San Miguel
Isn’t it amazing that one person’s passion for one thing can save and preserve architectural identity and treasure of the Philippines. Good thing that places like this, aside from Vigan and Intramuros showcases history, culture, and tradition. A place when one can cherish the architectural masterpiece of the houses of pour ancestors, and of course relax.
For places like this-it’s nostalgic, romantic, educational, and people would often say- it’s getting lost in memory lane, but for me, it’s not getting lost, it’s reuniting what we truly are and where we came from, a rich and diverse Filipino culture, tradition, and history as enhanced by the restored architectural buildings, adorned by the Filipino craftsmanship ,skill, and ingenuity.