Sinagtala Farm & Resort: A Place to Visit

If you have been a tourist in the Philippines for a couple of times already and you believe that there is no longer a reason to be back in this tropical country, well, you must reconsider this country again.  Or if you think that you have limited time to spend here in the Philippines and think that getting to popular tourist destinations like Cebu, Palawan, Boracay and Bohol will entail too much of time and money, then you can simply consider going to Sinagtala Farm and Resort.

I and my colleague were just there a week ago.  Sinagtala is located in Orani, Bataan.  It is only two hours easy driving north of Manila.  Why am I recommending Sinagtala as a place to go?  It is because I simply had an awesome experience in this resort.

The food was unexpectedly delicious!  Don’t miss the native Pinakbet and the surprisingly delicious Taro Ice Cream for dessert.

pinakbet

The huge infinity swimming pool is cool!  I usually don’t dip in a public pool, but upon seeing how clean and inviting the pool was, I never had second though of splashing in it.

splash!

The green natural sights are just spectacular!  Fresh air, cool breeze, spectacular flora were something to behold.

nature!

The adventure rides were all so fun!  I love the zipline!!!

that’s jorge my sinagtala adventure ride buddy!

That’s me at the right and Jorge Buenaflor at the left side…

At only 750 pesos (US$15) you can try all their adventure rides and facilities – zipline, sky bike, hanging bridge and giant sky swing.  I am living in the Philippines, I have been to Sinagtala yet I consider coming back in this beautiful place.  I had so much fun in this place I was enthused to create a simple music video of me and colleagues enjoyment in Sinagtala.

Ang sarap! Ang saya!

 

Still Majestic & Magical in Bagac, Bataan

It’s been 5 long years after my return to Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar.  Five years ago the resort located at the edge of the Philippines radiates a feeling of how majestic and magical Filipino culture is.  And with my recent visit, five years later, the beautiful resort in Bagac Bataan has massively expanded offering more Filipino architectural wonders of the past.

In my second visit (this time with Beth, Wlillie and JB), I was again at awe on the richness and beauty of the Filipino culture and architecture.

beautiful

the building where we were billeted

my personal favorite… casa la drillo

the bagac gang selfie

still majestic… the former hotel where i and travel buddy karen was billeted 5 years ago

serene…

There has been some arguments on whether Filipinos are Pacific Islanders or South East Asians, but when one visits Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, one would realize that Philippines has a different character that is unique and of its own.  The architectural wonders along with the culture and customs linked to it as featured in Las Casas Filipinas are uniquely Filipino and could not be found anywhere in the Pacific Islands neither in the neighboring countries of south east Asia.

The best thing I like about Las Casas De Acuzar is that there is no ugly photo that we have shot.  One need not be a professional photographer to obtain an excellent photo.  Because of the beauty and stylishness of the place, every photo is Instagram worthy!

sunset… one of my instagram entries

a new thing near the lobby

strike a pose muna

magical! (with beth and willie)

will be back…

I don’t know if Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar is a popular foreign tourist destination.  I have yet to realize that because when we were there, all I could see are domestic tourists or Filipinos living abroad doing a short vacay in the Philippines.  This place has yet to be tapped by the foreigners.  And in case I would have a foreign visitor, Las Casas De Acuzar would be one awesome option for a destination!

Grabe! Ang ganda!

Stregato Gelateria: A Gem in Balanga Bataan

It is starting to become a habit that every time I and my colleagues got to spend an overnight weekend adventure out-of-town, we would first have to dine in a well-liked or budding restaurant or coffee shop. Part of the adventure is to scout and google the nicest food joint that our destination can brag about.  And when we have chosen one, we would agree that before proceeding to our final destination to check-in we would have a detour by having either a breakfast, a brunch or a lunch in our chosen eatery.

On our way to Las Casas De Filipinas De Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan for an overnight weekend, I and my colleagues stopped over the agricultural city of Balanga in Bataan.  We had lunch at Stregato Geleteria, a cute and charming Italian-inspired diner right in the middle of the city (right beside The Plaza Hotel and at the ground floor of Galeria Victoria Mall).

cute!

Stregato Gelateria was one surprising restaurant.  First timers like us easily fell in love with the interiors and ambiance of the place.  And surprisingly, the service was pretty quick and the food were superb!

I particularly ordered the Slow-Cooked Roasted Pork Belly.  And that was indeed a winner!

slow-cooked roast pork! yum!

All of us agree that another impressive thing about the food is that the serving-size were just perfect.  The portion was not too much neither too little for its reasonable price.  Their prices were actually not reasonable because it’s unreasonably low!  With an endearing ambiance and flavorful food, Stregato Gelateria is definitely comparable and in the level of pricey diners and coffee shops here in Manila.

And since our tummy were not too full nor felt shortchanged we decided to order two slices of cakes – the mindboggling Ferrero cake and the marvelous Mango Crème Brulee cake.  One Tagalog word for their desserts… sarap!

sarap!

cakes cakes cakes!

a reason to come back

mga batang bagac!

All of us further agreed that Stregato Gelateria is a gem of a restaurant in Balanga, Bataan.  If given the chance to be back in this beautiful old province, I will definitely not miss eating at Sregator Gelateria.

Sarap sa Ingles… dilisyus (parang ako)!  

Bonggang Bonggambilya

I have always appreciated and been amazed by the blooming of flowers.  This is especially true if I happen to be touring abroad on a spring time.  I never had the appreciation of blooming flowers in the Philippines.  Maybe because we don’t have a spring season (we only have dry and wet seasons) and because flowers seem to bloom here at any time of the year.

But with my recent trip to Bagac Bataan at Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, I was so amazed by the texture and richness of Boungainvillea (bonggambilya in Filipino), I could not resist myself from not having a photo with it!

bonggambilya ba kamo?

happy… pati tummy!

Bongga…

Possessed by Sisa and Don Tiburcio De Espadaña

In the novel Noli Me Tangere written by the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, two colorful yet secondary characters were Sisa and Don Tiburcio De Espadaña.  The former is a loving mother with sadomasochistic tendencies who turned nuts when her two accused of theft sacristan children, Crispin and Basilio, has vanished and were nowhere to be found.  The latter is an emotionally disturbed, toothless, poorly dressed limping Spaniard who stutters and is often maltreated by his social-climbing wife yet collects exorbitant fees out from his being a quack doctor.

Noli Me Tangere was written in the era when the now preserved mansions and houses now rebuilt in Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar heritage resort located in Bagac, Bataan flourished.  This is the magnificent resort that I and my travel-buddy Karen spent our weekend.

While exploring the marvelous resort, we found a studio that offers pictorial services in which clients will be photographed wearing traditional Filipino dresses during the 18th and 19th century.  We availed of the photo shoot package and were handed with our respective Filipiniana costumes.

Inside the dressing room it seems that we were possessed and controlled over by the spirits of Sisa and Don Tiburcio De Espadaña that resulted to the following bizarre and wacky images.

No we were not in some serious drugs!

Ano sa Tagalog ang “jumpshot”? 

Las Casas De Filipinas

It is so far the most magnificent and most historically significant “jigsaw puzzle” I have ever seen in my life!  Who on earth would have the idea of putting together parts of very old, decaying and abandoned heritage houses in one place and create a magnificently beautiful nostalgic paradise?  I guess it is in the person of Jerry Acuzar, a rare soul with lofty ambition, who owns Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar.

My Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar adventure, located in Bagac Bataan was like travelling through a time capsule bringing its visitors back to the glorious 18th and 19th century Philippines!!!

At the outset of our visit, I was a skeptic.  I did not believe on the resort’s claim that the buildings were the actual and authentic parts of Filipino Principalia Mansions.  Initially, the “illustrado” fragment of my soul was screaming “Cinverguenza! Punyatera! No way will Jerry Acuzar be able to transfer, rebuild and restore such old houses?!”

But when I and Karen went out of the resort to buy a pack of cigarette from a nearby construction workers’ carinderia (eatery and mini-store), we passed-by multiple decks of old stone bricks, voluminous timeworn planks of wood as well as various antiquated hard-wood house-posts lying on the ground.  Those materials were obviously salvaged from an old house somewhere in this country.  That was the moment I believed and confirmed that those massive mansions inside the resort were no-doubt authentic.

Let me then offer an honorable salute and a big standing ovation to Mr. Acuzar for such a rare feat, ingenuity and craftsmanship!

Kakaiba! Cinverguenza sa ganda!