Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013!
My family and I decided to spend the weekend of Christmas somewhere different… In a town where there are houses that have “birth”-dates as early as the 1600’s or that have legs… stilts. We went back in time when we spent our Christmas weekend in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, a surreal town of Philippine ancestral homes each home with its own unique story.
The homes here varied by their places of origin around the Philippines, the most identifiable ones being from Manila. But there were other houses that spoke of certain provinces such as Pampanga where their dining room’s ceilings were decorated with fruit baskets highlighting the townspeople’s festive love of food and the ancestral houses on stilts from Cagayan de Oro which waterproofs their homes for their seaside location. For the houses to be brought to life in that town, the founder, Don Acuzar, brought bits and pieces of those houses from their ruins and put them together with the same design. Some of these houses can be rented for a night or a couple of nights – our family opted to take the hotel themed kind of ancestral “home” which I don’t think had any or much traces of ruins of any 16th century house.
For the senior folk of our family, they greatly enjoyed the place. In fact, we hadn’t heard them so excited to share about their place and take on Philippine History until that day. Perhaps they saw themselves in those houses as sort of an axis point between the old and the new. They have certainly grown old as it manifests through their wrinkles and various physical ailments such as the outdated look of the homes but are constantly taking in everything that is new as the old ancestral homes took on their role in being a novelty piece for each visitor to take in. Pardon my analogy. I was impressed by the staff’s undeniably courteous manner with senior citizens. Our grandfather was sitting in the bench for a couple of minutes and I observed around 10 employees in their old Filipiniana attire which is also their uniform, cheerfully greet him: “Magandang umaga, po.” (Good morning, sir [po is an endearing pronoun for anyone who is a senior to yourself])
To be honest, ancestral houses freak me out. There is something about the fact that they’ve lived longer than the 10th generation of their first owner that makes me cringe. Nonetheless, I soaked in the beauty of surroundings those few days.
I have to say that these pictures were the only times taken when I was not stuck in bed and sleeping.