Resort Report: Las Casas
Yes, it’s a resort…but Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, or simply Las Casas, isn’t what you’d typically think of when you hear “resort.” It’s a blast from the past, with a mixed collection of buildings that are both genuinely antique and built-to-look-antique. The ancestral homes here are 40-60% of the original wood, and some of them are connected to recognizable historical names (like Jose Rizal). As a collection of old Filipino houses go, this is a pretty nice place to be.
Good as a day trip or overnight, Las Casas is a “Heritage Resort” – doubly exciting for those interested in being surrounded by old architecture, antiquities, and history. Many of the original houses that comprise the tour (and are sometimes used for events) were carefully dismantled from their original locations, transported in pieces, and lovingly reconstructed here. All the buildings have at least one interesting feature that will surprise you – whether it’s the history, construction, usage, the feeling you’ve stepped back in time, or simply that it looks like your great grandparents’ house.
Ready to go back in time (or at least pretend)? Get nostalgic with me.
Guess what: I’m told this is only Phase 1! Phase 2 is supposed to be a more modern sector of the resort. Open just four years, Las Casas has been ten years in the making, and it’s still under construction…with no targeted completion date. It seems to be perpetually expanding, so who knows how big a resort this will end up becoming. Let’s see if we can count at least half of the statues and sculptures in this developing locale.
Bummer it’s so cloudy out, but at least it’s not sweltering! It’s starting to drizzle though, so let’s take this indoors and zoom in on some interesting details.
Left: Look up. See the design in what looks like a wide, carved wooden runner along the ceiling? That’s not merely decorative – it’s actually old-school ventilation!
Right: This is an old-school peephole. It’s meant to blend in with the floor. Pick it up to see who’s knocking. Don’t like the person? Pour water down. Replace peephole tile. Repeat as desired.
With merienda (snack), you can freshen up with, not hot, but cold towels! You really don’t think to appreciate a frozen towel until you’re in hot climes. Catching your second wind? Let’s go peek into some closed doors.
That third door leads into the resort’s premier residence, complete with Hermès toiletries. (It’s unfortunately closed off to the tour today because it’s occupied.) Unassuming on the outside, gorgeous on the inside. Never judge a book by its cover. Or in this case, never judge comfort by its facade! See below.
If Vigan is too far a drive for you, this is a pretty good alternative. In fact, a friend who grew up near Vigan thought that my Las Casas photos were taken there. If you’re all about the photos, by the way, you can have some taken here with some great backgrounds – you can even wear traditional costume. I hear this is a popular place for engagement photos; if you don’t need air-conditioning, it’s good for weddings too. Care to do a photo shoot? Just for giggles?
After a 20-minute session, I get to take home a flash drive with a hundred-ish photos. (It’ll run you about ₱1,200 – not bad if you convert that to roughly $25.) So much fun! In hindsight, I wish I didn’t just roll off the street so casual. Then again, they didn’t really wear makeup back then, so it’s more authentic, right?