Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Mango Mix is a weekly column of Mango Tours in the Asian Journal. The column celebrates Filipino culture--from must-see travel destinations and advice, social events, culinary delights, arts, and everything interestingly mixing under the Philippine sun.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
After a smooth ride along the SCTEX and navigating the tortuous terrain of Bataan, an excitement builds up as you are welcomed by the security detail in guardia de civil garbs. The feeling that you are about to travel through time seeps in as you casually dig for images culled from movies and history books of that grand dame called Old Manila and her lovely friends. With the sun casting its rays to highlight the outlines of the magnificence around, you can say that you really are not in a normal place, for you are in a space that breathes and exhales heritage. From afar you feel that the houses, made in Antillean style, are looking at you with their capiz-lined windows (a Filipino architectural trademark) and welcoming you to this carefully reconstructed place where heritage resides; it’s called Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
The houses here articulate the glory of the past.
Leave the worries and physics of time travel to the scientists. For now, we can settle with good old travel. Right here, it is possible to step inside the past by visiting transplanted and reconstructed old houses of affluent Filipinos in the 18th and 19th century. There is attention to detail—from the outside with the tiled roofs getting grazed by the sunlight, to the inside with the personal effects of the owners and the squeaky yet intimate feel of waxed wooden floors partially reflecting back the images of visitors from the present. To further widen your understanding of the way things were, a guided tour should top your list. Aptly-handled by the resort’s traditionally-dressed staff, you’ll be able to know the personal histories of these structures that housed distinguished individuals of our country’s past.
A friendly tour guide leads the way.
Remember to leave your shoes behind before you enter.
And also, your taste buds are up for a trip down memory lane. Digging in to Filipino comfort food favorites will really make you feel right at home even though you are already facing the Luzon Sea. A must try at Café Marivent is the Chicken Binakol with the chicken’s savory notes blending with subtle tropical flavor of the coconut. And you can eat the coco strips too! You can feel that the place pays particular attention to the quality of their food. Simply put, symmetry can also be found, not just in architecture, but in good-tasting food bearing the ability to please the senses.
Sample the sumptuous Chicken Binakol (up front).
After a day of wandering, relax in your room fitted with modern amenities.
This place has the ability to send in a flood of nostalgia and vintage memories to visitors. Some of the details may have been recreated, but the desire to authentically present the past is there. It’s comforting to know that we can always avoid having historical Alzheimer’s because of places like this one.
What to try: Boating during sunset; Cultural Show on weekends; Guided Tours
What to eat: Crispy Pata and Binakol na Manok (Chicken Soup Dish in Coconut) at the Marivent Café; 4-Cheese Pizza and Canoli at Café Teodora.
Check out this video from Balitang America: