TRAVEL DIARY: Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

At the end of a dizzying month, I found myself in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

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LAS CASAS FILIPINAS DE ACUZAR. Hotel de Oriente’s charm is reminiscent of the Grand Budapest Hotel!
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PASEO DE ESCOLTA. The visionary man behind this heritage resort, Mr. Jerry Acuzar, transported and reassembled Spanish era mansions brick by brick.


Where did time go?

I don’t know about you, but my November flew by with a chaotic pace. However, getting the chance to travel “back in time” to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar for the Bataan International Triathlon made all the difference.

The Bataan International Triathlon is the ultimate eco-heritage triathlon festival. Celebrating Filipino culture and athleticism, it’s held in Las Casas every year. As a homegrown race, Bi3 combines the standards of an international race with Filipino hospitality to create a cultural triathlon experience locals can truly be proud of.

THE “VOLUNTEARS.” Kiko, Marco, Me, Diane, Lexy, and Leina.

Along with the Bi3 core committee, my officemates and I helped organize this year’s race. Long story short, we became part of the team because my boss Mr. Raymund Magdaluyo (who, apart from being a full-time restaurateur) is also the CEO of F&F International Events, the multi-sports company behind Bi3. 🙂

Organizing a race was a new challenge for many of us. But we definitely learned a lot from hosting international athletes, running event programs, and planning participants’ needs down to the last detail. It’s amazing how projects bring people together to do more than they thought they could achieve!

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F&F KIDS + MIRINDA CARFRAE. This year we were graced with the presence of 3x Ironman Champion, Ms. Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae!

This year, Bi3 was a success made possible through teamwork. Seeing how it came together from “90% heart” made it a learning experience to remember. And of course, the location being the picturesque Las Casas in Bagac, Bataan, made Bi3 10x more memorable for everyone.

We were busy running errands before and during the race, but luckily we found time to walk around the resort before leaving Bataan:

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PICTURESQUE ARCHITECTURE. Re-built by Mr. Acuzar’s New San Jose Builders, Las Casas houses of 27 Filipino-Spanish buildings (and counting).
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QUIANT STREETS. I’d love to come back to do the day tours which take you through the history of each Casa and colonial building.
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RACE THROUGH TIME. “Bahay na Bato” structures were carefully transported from places all over the country, including Tondo, Quiapo, Binondo, Quezon, and more.
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FOTOGRAFIA DE LA ESCOLTA. The resort also houses 3 restaurants, a swimming pool, and of course, access to the sandy shores of Bataan.
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MI CASA ES TU CASA. You can expect to stay in charming and delicately designed Filipino colonial homes when vacationing in Las Casas.
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GOLDEN HOUR. Houses and buildings in Las Casas were selected to be rebuilt based on historical and cultural value.
INTRICATELY RESTORED. The amount of detail placed into each building’s exterior and interior design is amazing.
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BAYAN O SARILI? The iconic scene from the recent “Heneral Luna” film was shot in Las Casas.
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AN AFFINITY FOR SYMMETRY. Bi3 was a weekend to remember for the 700+ participating athletes, spectators, and organizers.

It’s been a whirlwind, but I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. New friends, lessons learned, and being part of something greater than myself. Maybe that’s the magic with being brought back in time—it brings you sharply back to the present moment, and I couldn’t ask for more.

Here’s to the last month of 2015!


Check out the official website of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar here. Learn more about Bataan International Triathlon here. 



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