Saturday, March 11, 2017

Las Casas de Acuzar ~ Staying at Casa Jaen

Best way to get the most out of a visit to Las Casas is an overnight stay in one of its traditionally decorated rooms/houses.

I reserved 2 rooms for our recent trip to Las Casas de Acuzar accompanying my "balikbayan" brother and his wife.

I was surprised we were billed into a house instead of the hotel. 

We an entire mansion "Casa Jaen II" to ourselves.

Sorry no "horror stories" here...

It is a 2 storey house with 3 bedrooms each room with an ensuite bath.

The entrance to our "Casa".

At the ground floor is a seating and a toilet.

The stairs than leads to second floor living room and bedrooms. 

The second floor.

And a picture of me (hehehe)...

Our second floor living room.

Casa Jaen is perfect for huge families with plenty of seating and lounging areas.

We had a good night sleep on this comfortable bed.

Toiletries were from Tess the Farmer ~ very good and high quality. 

The bathroom is huge and literally fit a queen size bed inside.

There is a separate shower with hot and cold water.

It is the little details that get to me...
I just love this table lamp!

For reservation inquiries please visit their webpage at

Please see also my post on the our Las Casas Heritage tour by following the link below:

Las Casas de Acuzar Resort Review

"Pride in the past. Hope for the Future".

Let me start by apologizing ~ this post is picture heavy. 

I simply can't decide which pictures to choose.  Choosing just a few from hundreds (I am not joking) of pictures we've taken was just not possible.

So please bear with me...

It is a heritage and convention center developed by New San Jose Builders under Mr. Gerry Acuzar, located in  Bagac Bataan.

Las Casas is a living museum that showcases architectural pieces of a bygone era, from different parts of the country with the beautiful Bataan countryside as its backdrop.

One can re-live age-old Filipino traditions and way of living within the resort's walls with the luxuries and comforts of contemporary time.

Amenities include: the Napiya Spa, a swimming pool, private beach, gaming center, 3 restaurants, conference and banquet facilities, cultural shows, and heritage tours.

The first one was 4 years ago. Las Casas has improved much since our last visit.

Check here: Our visit to Las Casas in 2013.

We were back for our second time to accompany my "balikbayan" brother and his wife. 

We arrived at Las Casas at 2pm just in time for check-in, rested a bit and joined the last heritage tour of the day which starts at 430pm.  Timing was perfect as the sun was already setting and not as scorching.

Our Beautiful Tour Guide, Ms. Kesha. 

The tour started with a pocket performance of the history of one of the houses (Casa Unisan).
Story has it that Casa Unisan was raided by bandits, killing all of the members of the household except for the youngest child of the owner, who escaped. She was placed inside a laundry basket by one of the house helpers.

One of the four Casa Cagayan houses located along the shoreline of the resort.  These are often referred to a "Poor Man's House".  These house are currently occupied by the artists of Las Casas.

Paseo de Escolta is a replica of typical buildings in Escolta Manila. 
It is a strip of commercial establishments at the ground floor, housing Tess the Farmer, La Tiendecitas, La Panederia, Fotographia de la Escolta and Antiquedades.

Plaza Belmonte
Casa Luna (1850)
This mansion was originally owned by a prominent Novicio family of Namacpacan, La Union. It was renamed to Casa Luna in honor of the brothers Antonio and Juan Luna.

Casa Jaen I
This house was owned by the Esquivel Family and was used to house the first Mayor of Jaen, Nueva Ecija.

Casa Quiapo used to house the Escuela de Bellas Artes Filipinas.
The house's ground floor entrance felt like a medieval castle.

Casa Binan is a two (2) storey house built by Gregorio Alonzo (maternal uncle of Jose Rizal) in the 16th Century. This house has a dark story, folklore has it that Mr. Alonzo's wife had an affair here with one of the Guardia Civil. 

If you have seen movie Heneral Luna, this back drop is sure to ring a bell.

 Our group crossed this bridge called Tulay ni Lola Basyang.  According to tour guide this bridge was modelled after the Jone's Bridge located in Manila.

The iconic Lola Basyang

Casa Hagonoy
This is my favorite house of those we have visited due to its wonderful vista.
We ended the tour with a picture perfect Bataan sunset.

It was truly an enjoyable-educational day at Las Casas de Acuzar. 

See and experience its beauty and leave with a better appreciation of the Filipino culture and heritage.

Please check out our Las Casas Accommodation by following the link below:

Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar
Brgy. Ibaba, Bagac, Bataan
2107, Philippines

Landline: (+632) 332-5286 (+632) 877-4501 (+632) 332-5338 (+632) 355-3032
Mobile: 0917-872-9361
Front Desk Mobile: 0917-537-8418 (Sundays & Holidays only)

E-mail addresses:

Pampanga Office:
Landline: (045) 300-3265, (045) 300-3272
Mobile: 0927-843-5449 (Roanne C. Palad), 0956-506-8939 (Ezeel Maan Cruz)
Email addresses:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Honest Review: Golden Phoenix Hotel

I scored a free hotel stay from rewards earned using my Citibank Cash Back Credit Card. I used the points to book a room at the Golden Phoenix Hotel (GPH).

My expectations were high since we've visited the hotel before (just last year, if I am not mistaken) when relatives stayed there for a halfway hotel for their early flights out of Manila. I remember it was still a new hotel and there were on going construction, but that was fine (understandable).

Golden Phoenix Location is perfect , if you want to save yourself worrying time, whether you'll make it to your flight or not, as it is near the Manila airports.

I reserved a deluxe twin room, thinking
there will be 2 twin beds (as shown in the hotel website), 

Deluxe Twin Room from GPH website.
There is obviously no way (a family of 4) would fit in a twin bed,
There was really no other options but to upgrade and pay an additional P1500. 

I was really surprised at check-in that we are having just one (1) twin bed. My fault for not checking bed configuration

Our room after the upgrade

Our room is really small - quite far from the website photos. There was hardly enough room to move (much more take a photo of the entire room).

Even the bathroom is small.

I initially can't find the toiletries.
I found them  under the bathroom sink.

The room size was forgivable, however, the linens and  towels were not.
They were old and needing replacement.

I didn't like the bathroom and didn't use it much, so I can't comment if its clean. 

Pool needed major cleaning too. 
The fountain was not working when we got there and a section or two of tiles were broken. Really unattractive.

Definitely, NO swimming for this staycation!

  • Check-in was just fine.  We were the only ones checking-in at the time so that should be expected.
  • Management should do something about the hotel upkeep.  It smells like cement in there.  The carpet running through the hotel corridors also filthy. 
  • Not much to do as it is a long walk from SM MOA. In the website it says they offer free shuttle service to nearby attractions. However, we were not informed at check-in and didn't see any during our stay either.

  • Staff were quite nice and friendly though, but that's the only good thing I can think of right now.
  • Breakfast was fine, nice spread but nothing exceptional. 
  • We looked for the gym (the website says there is one), but can't find that one too.

Let us just say, I am not thinking of heading back anytime soon. 

-The End-

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Escaped to Puerto Princesa ~ One Manalo Place

For my baby brother's Philippine visit after 10 years living abroad, I have planned a Puerto Princesa getaway for our family of  eleven (2 seniors, 6 adults, a teenager and 2 kids).

Up in our accommodation checklist:
  • Good security
  • Location must be within the city 
  • It has to have pool
  • Must have hotel amenities with personalized service (we initially wanted a big hotel, but soon decided a more private set-up that feels like home)

Our checklist led us to One Manalo Place, a modern and elegantly designed hotel with a resort vibe.  It is just 2 minutes away from the airport and very accessible to restaurants and shopping areas.

Amenities includes an outdoor swimming pool and fitness center (which was a plus from our checklist).

 My son had the pool all to himself :P 

We got 4 bedrooms all situated at the ground floor surrounding the pool area.  Each room has private bathroom , flat screen cable TV, air-condition and hot and cold shower.

WiFi connection is free, but was bit spotty in some areas of the hotel.

Dining options includes Aplaya Seafood Restaurant. We were only able to try this one for breakfast. 

My baby brother (left) with my hubby (right), gamely posing before saying our final goodbye (for now) to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. 

  • Airport pick-up and drop off was included in our package - very convenient.
  • Check-in was fast.  Though check-in time was at 12nn, we were allowed to check-in early (9am) in 2 of the 4 rooms we booked. 
  • Ms. Jean was very helpful in accommodating all our special requests.
  • One Manalo checked all our accommodation's checklist requirements, with a plus fitness center.  The Fitness Center is fully equipped with modern fitness equipment.
  • Buffet breakfast came free with our package. Spread was limited but good.
  • Staff were friendly and cordial. They know when to give you quiet private time.
  • Rooms are clean.  Housekeeping even cleaned it again and made up the beds and provided additional toiletries, clean towels and linen on our second day. However, I liked our 1st day towel better. The 2nd day towels were old and needing replacement.

  • One Manalo delivered!  We totally enjoyed our stay and will not hesitate booking it again when in Puerto Princesa.

    Brgy. BancaoBancao, Manalo St., Puerto Princesa City
    Landline (+63) 48 4341280; (+63) 917 512 5111

    Check also our chill time at the Mayad Café:

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