Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 Sep: Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, Philippines

Travel Date: September 24, 2011
Destination: Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, Bo Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan, PhilippinesWebsite:

From a chartered van from Ortigas, Pasig City, it took us almost 3 hours to reach Bagac, Bataan. Along the road I had few realizations:

  • We have a very rich forestry
  • Roads are still not that fine (Roman Highway). There are areas under construction but you’ll see no people are working on it.
  • Getting there by commuting looks to be difficult as there are only few buses on the road especially on Bataan proper.
Our coordinator booked for Day Tour Package 1 (set meal) that costs Php 1200 per person. This includes:
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour guided tour of the Heritage Houses
  • entrance fee and use of beach area
  • 1 lunch, afternoon snack, bottled water
  • vicinity map
  • all taxes and service charge
As a background of the place, there is a man named Jerry Acuzar who is an antique collector. He extended his collection from simple antique bed, chandelier, paintings to old traditional houses. From its original location in the Metro and provinces, each house is being transferred ‘piece by piece’, ‘plank by plank’ to Bagac, Bataan.

Tour starts at Casa Mexico, which is being used as receiving area and information center. The name is based on its original location, Mexico, Pampangga.

Casa Meycauayan is from San Fernando Pampangga, Meycauayan Bulacan.
Casa Canadaba from Candaba Pampangga. Also used as a movie location of Noli Me Tangere, 1961.

Casa Tondo, from Tondo, Manila. This is a private casa which is a gift of the owner to his best friend.

Casa Quiapo is taken from its original location in Hidalgo St., Quiapo, Manila. The mansion was used as the first campus of the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts (1906-1926).

Below is Casa Luna from La Union [on the left] and Casa Jaen from Nueva Ecija [on the right]. In front is Plaza Belmonte with sculptures of playing children.

Paseo de Escolta is a replica from strip of commercial structures and transients at Escolta, Manila. Now, this place is the catered as the resort’s hotel for rooms that accommodate 1-4 persons. In front is Plaza Belmonte where gathering of guests happens during weekends for some entertainment shows.

Casa Unisan is from Unisan, Quezon. This is also the location Café Marivent where lunch, snacks and dinner is served.

This trip happened to have a collection of several chandelier and light photography.

These pieces come from very old houses of which some are abandoned, some were considered thrash, and others were taken from junk shops – but with these there is money and with concern there is beauty and respect for the culture of our country.

With the owner’s belief:

At Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, the legacy of our forefathers and the beautiful Filipino traditions live on. It is a step back into the past, reliving the age- old traditions and practices distinct to our culture, without leaving the luxury and comforts of the modern world.

A showcase of Filipino talent, ingenuity and craftsmanship, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar takes pride in the past... And keeps its hope for the future.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seoul, South Korea: Boots on the Ground

Location: Seoul, South Korea
Date: June 22 - 27, 2011

From summer season as we are aware, it was June 22 when it started raining all over Seoul. The temperature started to drop but what I can say? The fashion went UP! A lot of girls were wearing mini-skirts together with not just leather but also boots that are made of plastic – which in Manila are normally wore on floods, not in the streets or MRT stations.

22nd Philippine Travel Mart Expo

What: 22nd Philippine Travel Mart Expo Where: SMX Convention
When: September 2-4, 2011

Today is the last day of the 22nd Philippine Travel Mart Expo held at SMX Convention Center.

As a traveler, either you are buying or just choosing your next local destination – it is good to grab the opportunity on visiting this type of event for:

Familiarity on the Airlines – There were 4 major participants on this event:

  • Zest Air [] has the least visitors

  • Philippine Airlines [] - with their Palakbayan Program, they still have few buyers

  • AirPhil Express [] - has the cheapest price, I guess because I was not able to see the insurance fee on their fares

  • Cebu Pacific [] – claims to be the largest local airline that offers cheapest fares in most number of domestic destinations. Although, this is the airline of my choice, you travel addict should analyze what is the difference between buying in an Expo over online – actually there is none. Previously, they offer much cheaper fares during Expo, but now what you on sale over the net are the same price they use during the Expo period.

First hand experience of offers and promotional skills of the Hotels – I was eyeing for Pads in Palawan, they are offering 2,011php for 3D2N stay until end of this year. If I’m booking for January, they would price it at 2000php/night. But on their website it is only 1500php/night. You have to be resourceful, and know your factors as there are cases when it is better not to buy on the actual Expo site.

Package Tours – you’ll be able to learn the price range of different destinations. Cheapest all-in package to Batanes is on 22,000php for 3D2N stay.

Magazines – I was able to see Susan Calo Medina on the VIP Lounge, she is scheduled to sign her Travel Time magazine at 200php/pc. There were also Travel Magazines worth 50php on old copies. And, I was able to buy these 2 for 75php – 7101 Island Travel Magazine (

Cultural Show – There was a competition of Universities and Colleges showing cultural/folk dances of each Region.

My top 3 best exhibitors are:
1. Davao – very beautiful and resourceful. They used pineapple, banana and different types of flowers to spell out D-A-V-A-O.

2. Southern Tagalog Region – their booth is like an aquarium inside with floating fish (Nemo) while outside they have approachable men in Moriones/gladiator costumes.

3. Ilocos – very small area but caters their products

I must commend PHILTOA [] (Philippine Tour Operators Association) and DOT (Department of Tourism) for having this program of showcasing what our country can offer to the world. I hope that on the next World Expo, Philippines will be advertised on a higher level than what was shown in 2010 in Shanghai.