DoT chief cites Las Casas’ way of preserving local historical sites

Published January 31, 2021, 2:15 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Department of Tourism (DoT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat gave her explicit approval of the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s formula of preserving local historical sites, which some conservationists find upsetting.


Puyat, on an Instagram post Friday, touched upon the Bagac, Bataan resort’s controversial method, but seemed fine with and even thoroughly impressed by it.

“So much of our forgotten history is packed into this place. Though the houses have been uprooted from their provenance, their new home in Bataan imbues them with historical significance,” she wrote.

The controversy surrounding Las Casas mainly has to do with how heritage structures are physically taken from their original locations and transferred there. To call it a “transplant” would probably be accurate to critics.

The DoT boss goes into picturesque detail regarding her recent visit to the resort: “Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s collection of heritage architecture are meticulously reconstructed mansions from the colonial period, breathed new life with the exquisite craftsmanship of Bataan’s artisans.

Part resort, part open-air museum, the 400-hectare property in Bagac in an immersive trip back in time to Old Manila, complete with ‘kalesa’ rides and a ‘balsa’ (boat) ride through the waterway.”

Puyat’s IG post also included a clip of her in a balsa ride, which looks like the closest to a Venice gondola ride that the Philippines can offer.

She described Las Casas as “more than a movie set – although films have been shot here – but a portal to time when the Philippines was on the brink of revolution and liberation.”

‘Each casa, which owner Jerry Acuzar acquired from various locations around the country and rescued from neglect, is a witness to history and has its own rich tale of intrigue and survival,” she said, further signifying her approval of the preservation efforts there.

Created in 2003, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar covers a 400-hectare property and houses 128 guest rooms and 63 elite casas.