Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
…a New San Jose Builders project

A living museum of Philippine customs and traditions are re-born in a community typical of the 18th to early 20th century Philippines.    Historical Principalia  or noble class mansions, House of Stone  or Bahay na Bato and Wooden Stilt  houses that once, were  old and decaying architectural  pieces of a  bygone era  and slowly fading into the background of modern urban life are now,  restored  in a picturesque setting reminiscent of a Juan Luna or Amorsolo paintings.  These architectural treasures that have been carefully and painstakingly reconstructed from different parts of the country and rebuilt, “brick by brick” and  “plank by plank”  now ,  stand resplendent with pride  against a backdrop of majestic mountains, expansive rice fields and   a running river that flows to the sea.

Currently, there are twenty seven  heritage architectures, each full  with memories and history.

Walking along village cobblestone streets or riding one of the caruajes (horse-drawn carriages) commands a feeling of nostalgia and wonder, romance and appreciation  of simple living  at its best.

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.
[taken from]

My friend Dennis Morada told me about this place.

He works for the New San Jose Builders and he told me about the concept of this place. Demolishing and moving an old, “historical” structure from its original location to Las Casas located in Bagac, Bataan? My question is WHY?.

Doesn’t a structure lose its “historical” value when moved from its “original” location?

Confused, I have to search for enlightenment. I packed my backpack and headed to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan.

I have to admit it, I’m traveling on 4 wheels for now because the rain ain’t stopping.
It took us 3.5 hours from Marikina to Bagac with stop-overs.

Las Casas is a big place, 400 hectares big. With rice fields and lots of open spaces.

A photographer’s haven. Lot’s of subjects.

Horse-drawn carriage, check.

Old houses with giant stone-block walls, check.

Stone carvings and flower-design metal grills, check.

Oh, there is a pool and a beach. Cool!

Still,… the question is…Why?.

There is a guided walking tour every hour. It’s 1:30 PM. The rain stopped.

Blah, blah, blah, the tour guide told stuff about the houses, who owned it and where it is from.

I kept clicking my camera while still lingering on the  question “WHY?” in my head.

My friend and I headed to the pool and then, the beach which is just a short walk from the pool. Giant waves pounded on us. The sand is black but fine. You will be excited and afraid at the same time. Nice.

Night time. A person from the resto took our advance orders and informed us that there is a Filipino cultural show of songs and dances while we are having dinner. Cool.

The show was very informative as it showcased Filipino songs and dances from every region.
This is my first time to see and hear the songs and dances.

We stayed in Casa Binondo 1. There are 26 other Casas. Our Casa [or all] has the modern amenities like a modern bathroom, AC and lighting. It is like a hotel. Even the doors are card-activated.

WHY? WHY? WHY? [in my head…]

The next day, my buddy Dennis showed me a photo of Casa Vizantina or Byzantine Googled from the internet.
This is Casa Vizantina in its near-death stage. Neglected and abandoned.
[photo courtesy of]

This is Casa Byzantine now at its lovingly-restored state in Las Casas.

This photo comparison will surely summon a WOW!

Casa Byzantine is one of the biggest,luxurious and expensive casas you can rent here.

I searched for this article and followed it to another blog THE PINOY ADVENTURE BLOG [] – The entry was in 2008 before the Casa Byzantine was demolished.


“Probably one of the most beautiful houses in San Nicolas is the Casa Vizantina or the Byzantine House. Casa Vizantina is an embodiment of what we call Turn of the Century Grandeur.

The 3-storey house has floral motifs and arches which are common characteristics in Byzantine Architecture. This Manila’s jewel is definitely one of a kind. For one, there are only a few structures in the country that uses the Byzantine Architecture design. Most of the structures in the country has either Baroque, Gothic or Renaissance design.

I was so thankful to actually been to the Casa Vizantina. This house has already been condemned by the Manila City Hall. The house has been declared as a safety hazard and is scheduled to be demolished sooner that you can even say the word “Heritage Conservation.”

Well I cannot blame anybody here. The house is indeed in its near-death stage. It is just so sad to think that all these years the owner never even card to maintain this house…”

From there, I got my answer.

There is something good in what’s happening in Las Casas.

Visit the place. See for yourself and your adventure will be unique!

Their website is http://

This is PINOY ADVENTURE RIDER. Thanks for reading!

photo by Dennis Morada


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The La Mesa Watershed and Eco-Park consists of the La Mesa Dam and LA MESA Ecological NATURE RESERVE site in Quezon City commissioned in 1929 in the Philippines.

It is part of the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system, which supplies most of the water supply of  Metro Manila. The La Mesa Dam is an earth dam whose reservoir can hold up to 50.5 million cubic meters and occupying an area of 27 square kilometers.

The water collected in the reservoir is treated on-site by the Maynilad Water Services, and at the Balara Treatment Plant further south by the Manila Water. Both water companies are private concessionaires awarded by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, the government agency in charge of water supply. It is a vital link to the water requirements of 12 million residents of Metro Manila considering that 1.5 million liters of water pass through this reservoir everyday. It is also the last forest of its size in the metropolis.

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What does a Pinoy ADV Rider do to relax once he reaches his destination?

What else, fire up the grill!

Flame Grilling is a dry-heat cooking method that rely on heat being conducted through the air from an open flame. This type of cooking produces browning reactions on the surface of the food, thus encouraging the development of complex flavors and aromas.

Because air is a poor conductor of heat, grilling requires the food to be quite close to the open flame.
Just make sure only the flame touches the meat.

Thus the surface of the food cooks very quickly, making this type of cooking ideal for extremely tender cuts of meat, poultry or fish. In fact, because of the extremely hot and dry nature of this cooking method, it is customary to marinate items that will be grilled.

I marinate the meat with these.


Eating time!

Thanks for reading.

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Old records called the town Ibon. How it came to be known as Gapan is an interesting legend: When the place was still wilderness, Spanish soldiers came there on a mission when they saw natives crawling through the thick bushes. The soldier stopped them and, not knowing the local language, asked in Spanish for the name of the place. The natives knew nothing on the Spanish language and, thinking that the Spanish were asking what they were doing, answered in Tagalog, a local language “Gumagapang gapang kami“. The Spanish took it as a name and henceforth called The Pueblo Gapang. In time, the letter “g” was dropped and the name Gapan sticks to this day. Another legend stated the name came from the climbing and crawling plants that were so numerous in the locality.

My new MTB friend Manny invited us to ride to his hometown Gapan, Nueva Ecija. It’s his mom’s bday and there is a LITSON, a roasted pig, my favorite.

We took the NORZAGARAY, Bulacan shortcut from Marikina City. My Garmin tracked the route at 94 kilometers, 71 kms. if you take the very new San Leonardo route.

Well, we took the sissy 94 kilometer route. The ride was smooth and cool. We arrived at around 8AM.

We saw lots of ducks swimming at the irrigation canals. Gapan NE is a rice producing town. Lots of rice fields.

We chilled out for a while. At around lunch time, the giant LITSON arrived. It is big, huge.

We need to cut it to pieces. Luckily, rider Dodong on a Honda DASH works for a catering company [NITZ Catering] and is an expert in chopping dino-size pigs.

After putting on the apron, he immediately chopped the beast like a chicken.

More delicious food was served. Someone told me the cook is working for a luxury cruise liner and is just on vacation.

We are soooo full and munching on the roasted pig is not very healthy. Too much of it is somewhat….Dangerous.

[You don’t want this dude to have the last laugh, hihi.]
Before I ended up face down from too much food, I decided to ride back. I waved goodbye to Manny’s mom and friends.

Remember that San Leonardo route my GARMIN GPS is suggesting? We decided to give it a try. We left the National road and turned left as the GPS was suggesting. It took us to ordinary-looking streets. We just followed the noisy GPS. Left, right,left, right. We are too far to turn back now but at least our destination is getting nearer, according to GARMIN. No houses in sight but at least it is still day time. Finally, we emerged at Angat, Bulacan, a familiar place. The ride back totalled 71 kilometers in 2 hours compared to the morning ride of 94 kilometers in 3 hours.

Nice ride. Thanks for reading.

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It was a perfect night. I saw lots of stars[and planets] convincing me that there is a slim chance of rain.

My friend Rocky finally saved enough to assemble a mountain bike.
His bike is a flat-blacked frame with a glossy-white fork. It’s beautiful and ready for action.

This is his first night ride and we chose to ride to Quezon Memorial Circle.

As we were riding along the road, Rocky told us to pass by Riverbank Mall because his wifey Jho, kid Arren  and friend Malou are having a picnic.

And there they were on a perfect picnic area, blanket, basket and all.

There is FOOD! Lots of it. It is time to chow down. What a pleasant surprise as some of us haven’t had dinner.

After attacking like locusts at the picnic basket, we waved goodbye and headed for QC Circle to search and attack more picnic baskets!

Thanks for reading.

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