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Jerry Acuzar and heritage conservation

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For the heritage conservationist, San Nicolás in Manila is a well of opportunities to tap into one’s worth as a cultural worker. It is because this fabled district is filled with decaying centuries-old Filipino houses that are yet to be saved by the government and other concerned sectors. It is but unfortunate that there has been no move yet to salvage these historical treasures from the deathly claws of urbanization and civil apathy. Around three years ago, me and my friends Arnaldo Arnáiz and Will Tolosa visited the place and took pictures of almost all the antique houses. One that stood out from among the rest was the so-called Casa Vizantina.

BEFORE: A picture that I took of a decrepit-looking Casa Vizantina when it was still in the corner of Calles Madrid and Peñarubia, San Nicolás, Manila in 2008.

AFTER: Casa Vizantina restored to its former glory by Jerry Acuzar when we visited it last year in its new home in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataán.

I am very familiar with Casa Vizantina’s façade. Whenever we go to my mom’s home in Tondo, we often pass by San Nicolás, right in front of this house. Throughout my growing-up years of traveling to and from Tondo, I do notice this house’s gradual deterioration. Year after year, the house turns more uninhabitable although several squatter families still live inside it.

It is interesting to note that the popular Casa Manila in nearby Intramuros was modeled after Casa Vizantina. This San Nicolás gem was built in the late 1800s by a certain Don Lorenzo del Rosario. During the First World War, the house was leased out to the Instituto de Manila (former president Manuel Roxas once studied there! today, the school proper is in Sampáloc district and is now known as the University of Manila). When all of Manila was being burned and bombed by the Japanese Imperial Army and the US WASPs, almost all of San Nicolás was miraculously spared. But what the war did not do to this once majestic arrabal the neo-poor did. Casa Vizantina, for instance, was leased out to “various tenants”. Little by little, the house was apparently abandoned by its original owners. Sadly, this once-upon-a-time palace became a castle of various squatter families —a “legacy” of US WASP governance— from the Visayas and elsewhere. Many other old houses in San Nicolás were being toppled down almost every year. And this alarming travesty continues to this day. It is very disheartening to hear that in every regime change, promises of a booming economy are continuously thrown at our faces. But we never hear anything from them about conserving our past treasures such as these San Nicolás houses that could even rival those in Taal, Batangas. The San Nicolás houses have a very big potential to attract tourists especially our Spanish, Latin American, and even Southeast Asian friends (remember that the bahay na bató is a perfect blend of Oriental and Occidental). Since the dawn of the internet, blogging, and Facebook, we have been seeing so many self-appointed heritage advocates clamoring for the conservation of various heritage sites throughout the country. But the government paid attention to other duties. And hardly do we find any philanthropical action dedicated towards the conservation of our past architectural masterpieces.

Enter Jerry Acuzar in the picture.

This self-made millionaire from Quiapò, Manila has been collecting heritage houses (bahay na bató) from all over the Philippines for several years already. As a young boy, he used to pass by Calle Hidalgo on his way to school. In his growing-up years, he witnessed how the beautiful Filipino ancestral homes found in the said street deteriorated. He then wondered why these houses were not being taken cared of by both the owners and the local government. Years later, he took it upon himself to save prominent but abandoned/semi-abandoned antique houses found all over the country. After buying them from their respective owners, Acuzar had these houses dismantled (his critics use the word “demolition”), had them transported to his seaside hacienda in Bagac, Bataán, and from there resurrected to how they originally looked like. Originally, Acuzar planned to make his Bataán property his own private getaway, but changed his mind. He then opened his 400-hectare seaside resort to the general public. The once private hacienda became known as Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

Casa Vizantina is one of the houses he was able to save from further humiliation, neglect, and possible destruction. It is now back to its former glory, albeit in a different site.

This herculean effort of Acuzar, however, received both praise and negative criticism from various sectors. Indignation against him reached its crescendo last year when the nation learned that he already bought and started dismantling the ancestral home of the national hero’s mother in Biñán, La Laguna. The dismantling was put to a halt when heritage conservation groups led by Dr. Rosauro “Bimbo” Sta. María of the United Artists for Cultural Conservation and Development, Inc. (UACCD) pressured the local government. As of this writing, the impasse between the City of Biñán and the UACCD vs Jerry Acuzar and Gerry Alberto has yet to be resolved. Over the past few months, my ambivalent stance towards the actions of Mr. Acuzar remains to be unresolved as well. Me and my wife had the opportunity to visit his estate late last year. Right after that visit, it dawned upon me that if it is possible to dismantle houses from their original locations, is it not possible to return them there as well? Shouldn’t we just consider Acuzar’s estate as a temporary haven for these houses, as a “safe-keeping” enclave where they will be maintained everyday until their local governments and/or original owners will be able to afford to take them back?

Various hispanistas and conservation heritage advocates such as popular travel blogger Ivan Henares and my Círculo Hispano-Filipino contertulios Gemma Cruz de Araneta and Dr. Fernando N. Ziálcita maintained that heritage structures should remain in situ. As Henares put it, “structures should remain where they are, preserved together with the environment they were built in”. But should these houses continue to remain where they are even if their very own environment starts neglecting them? That will no longer be heritage conservation.

Based on my observation (and experience), perhaps 99% of local governments all over our country do not have heritage conservation on the top of their to-do list. About a decade ago, I was working part-time for the now defunct Nueva Era newspaper which Señor Guillermo Gómez edited. It was the last Spanish-language newspaper in the Philippines. Me and Señor Gómez usually went around Metro Manila taking photos of all ancestral houses that our eyes could catch, for we feared that they will not remain standing in the next few years (before I joined the old man, he was already traveling around the country taking photos of various bahay na bató). We would then publish the photos in the said newspaper (those were the days before blogging, Facebook and Twitter ruled the universe). To our quixotic minds, since we are powerless to physically save those houses from being torn down, we were at least able to record historical memories for posterity’s sake. And browsing through past issues of Nueva Era, our fears proved to be true after all. We noticed that year after year, these Filipino houses continue to be demolished to give way to modernity. No worth at all is given for their historical value. Our patrimony was placed further into the darkest background. A bahay na bató was turned into nothing more but a mere bahay na bató that has no more place in modern times. It seemed as if nobody even cared to save these houses anymore.

But Acuzar is doing exactly that — saving Filipino structures from years and decades of neglect by having them transferred to his estate where they will remain taken cared of for good. Of course, the thought that he will earn money from it should be taken out of the question in the meantime. The fact remains that Acuzar will shell out money regularly to have these ancestral houses he had “snatched away” from neglect and ruin to be well-maintained and preserved for ages. Henares will definitely counter this. He wrote in his blog that the best solution is to educate the masses about the importance and worth of heritage structures found within their locality. I agree, or should agree. But is anybody doing this? With all due respect to Mr. Henares, has he or anybody else offered any concrete steps on how to do this? Who exactly should be responsible to educate the masses? And more importantly, who and how will this project be funded? And will this “education” immediately save the Alberto Mansion? Remember: around 20% of that structure was already dismantled last year. Only an official verdict is keeping it from being totally transported from Biñán to Bagac. Also, the owner, Gerry Alberto, needs no education on heritage; he is a highly educated man, and a distant relative of Rizal himself.

Henares also added that Acuzar should just build replicas in his hacienda instead. Still, building a replica of, say, the Alberto Mansion will not exactly save the Alberto House in Biñán. Gerry Alberto gave up on it already due to financial problems of maintaining it. If he hadn’t sold it to Acuzar, then he would have sold it to other people. And if that ever happened, perhaps a more terrible scenario could have occurred to the house itself. But in Acuzar’s hands, at least future generations will still be able to see it. And, as I have mentioned earlier, there is always the possibility of bringing the whole house back to Biñán once the Biñenses are truly ready to take care of it.

Going back to the Alberto House, what matters here now is how it should be conserved. And Acuzar was able to find a more viable solution. Before the Acuzar purchase, almost nobody ever gave a damn as to what this house is all about. But when the purchase and dismantling commenced, out came the “concerned” activists. Out came the “angry voices”. Out came Facebook pages trying to save the Alberto House. I guess what I hate about this hullaballoo is why do we have to wait for an Acuzar to enter the picture before we TRULY act? Now, it’s almost too late.

I would like to stress out that I am not against movements such as the UACCD. It’s just that their protestations came out a little too late. And although I am saddened by the thought that the spot where the Alberto house still stands might become vacant soon, I admit that I have now become somewhat soft against Acuzar’s ancestral-house purchases because to date only he has provided the most viable solution against the destruction of Filipino ancestral homes. Sometimes, unwanted methods had to be used for the sake of heritage conservation. Such are the methods of Acuzar. So let me make this clear once more: what I dislike about this heritage controversy is the apparent tardiness of Filipinos. They usually make noise only when the trouble has started to make serious damages.

I received some flak against members of the UACCD for my rather unfriendly remarks against their protest rally last year. One member even dared me on my sentiment about not writing anything about Biñán anymore. But let bygones be bygones. Right now, what is important is for all people concerned to save Doña Teodora Alonso’s ancestral house in situ. Besides, Dr. Sta. María himself revealed to me that he and his group has finally made some “strategic plan” to save the Alberto ancestral house. I have yet to interview him to know more about this. It is still worth a try. It might save not only the Alberto Mansion but also all ancestral homes in San Nicolás as well as those found all over the country.

But if this proves to be another failure, then let us all leave Jerry Acuzar alone.

Lastly, if P-Noy is really sincere in attaining everything good for our country’s sake, then may he be able to transfer the still existing military slush funds into saving the Alberto Mansión. With political will, he can do that in just a snap of a finger. Turn bad money into good.

Heritage conservation should not rest solely on non-governmental institutions such as the UACCD. It should be one of our government’s top priorities. Conserving our patrimony will help us map out our future because through it, we will be able to catch a glimpse of our future by reflecting on images of our beautiful past. And glimpses of our beautiful past are still within our midst.

Not everything is lost yet. Just look around; you might be able to see a bahay na bató “shimmering” alone on a street corner…

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30 responses »

  1. when i heard the news about the idea of restoring the Binan house not in it s original site, it was a silly and funny idea. after reading this… now i know!
    let us admit it, restoration and conservation is not a priority not even in top twenty list of local governments. magkakagasta lang napakalaking salapi at wala namang gugulin ukol sa ganyang mga palatuntunan.
    now that we have certain Jerry Acuzar, come the johnny come latelys. i am beginning to believe in Mr.Acuzar in his advocacy and he has strong points.
    mayroon pa naman tayong magagawa, kunan ng larawan ang mga gusali, ipaubaya sa mga marurunong at may kapangyarihan ang mga ito, saksihan ang pag giba at tumingin sa kalangitan, humugot ng malalim na paghinga, ipikit ang mga mata at saka mag usal ng panalangin. amen…
    winners take it all!

    Reply
  2. interesante debate. Mi opinión es que las casas restauradas deberían quedarse en su emplazamiento original y que el Señor Acuzar debería haber construído réplias en su hacienda de Bataan.
    Pero por otro lado, entiendo la posición del Señor Acuzar, entiendo que él ha pensado que estas casas en su ubicación original no tendrían futuro.
    Para mi está claro que los vientos “anti hispanistas” que soplan por toda Filipinas es la causa real de que las autoridades no “quieran” ver el pasado histórico de Filipinas. No saben ver que el orgullo de un pasado histórico atraería a un turismo hispano y ésto a su vez daría trabajo y prosperidad.
    No saben ver que sin pasado no hay futuro, o tal vez un futuro en el que el pasado resulta insignificante y sin sentido.

    Reply
    • “Para mi está claro que los vientos “anti hispanistas” que soplan por toda Filipinas es la causa real de que las autoridades no “quieran” ver el pasado histórico de Filipinas.”

      Es mi opinión también. Pero ahorita no pude decirlo en relación a este polémico entre Acuzar y la gente de Biñán. Es algo pronto declararlo. Mis lectores podrían confundirse, o me entienda mal. Pero al lanzar de nuestro websitio…

      …¡habrá una fiesta de información concreta!

      Reply
    • I read your translated statement.

      Remember the quote from George Orwell in 1984: “He who controls the present commands the future. He who commands the future conquers the past.”

      This may be a dirty statement, but that’s true. Since the independence of the Philippines, many chose to side with the Americans for they see opportunities with them. Along with that, the Filipinos started to choose strengthening bonds with more progressive neighbors over distant Spain and Latin America. As Chin-Ning Chu stated, “If the dog belonged to a wealthy and powerful family, beating such a dog could be an unwise. If the dog belonged to a poor man or the dog was homeless, then you could freely hit the dog.” This is what Filipinos do.
      They don’t see Latin America as powerful, and unfortunately, lump Spain (and to some extent, a few Latin European countries) with that, whether you, a Spaniard, like it or not. Combine it with the colonial past of Spain and their way of witnessing Spain and most of the Spanish mestizeria collapse bit by bit, they treat your kind with contempt.

      Brutalities of Americans and Spaniards aside, how can you convince the Filipino that it’s more practical for Filipinos to see Latin Europe and Latin America over USA, Canada, Australia, Middle East and neighboring Asian countries as models for progress?

      This has something to do with exposing the Filipino mentality.

      Reply
      • muy fácil.
        -Un mercado de 500 millones de hispanos (oportunidades en la industria turística, call centres, comercio internacional, materias primas, etc)
        - Una historia de 300 años escrita en español (y que resulta ciega a los ojos de 90 millones de filipinos)
        - Una literatura de 300 años escrita en español (y que resulta ciega a los ojos de 90 millones de filipinos)
        - Acuerdos de libre comercio con las economías hispano americanas.
        - Intercambios culturales, gastronómicos, históricos, etc

        Creo que nadie dice que sea más práctico mantener lazos con la Hispanidad que con los paises que menciones, simplemente es complementario y produciría una simbiosis única en el mundo.

        Amigo, America Latina es más poderosa de lo que te imaginas, España tiene una sociedad civil,sanitaria, servicios, etc mucho más avanzada que en USA, Canada, Australia, etc. pero es algo desconocido para ustedes y por eso os dejais llevar por “hearsay”.
        En fin, gracias por tu contribución al artículo.

        Reply
      • Our movies, though sometimes formulaic and crappy, can tell the mentality of the people. It might be a hearsay, but stereotypes are based on real events and real people.

        Philippine movies are more on the Filipino taste, but unfortunately, they also like the formulaic Hollywood movies.

        Owner of this blog, I hear some people calling you a simple “Don Victorino” but I know you want to revive Spanish. You can prove them that you’re not him.

        Reply
  3. Another thought-provoking article on our architectural heritage.

    While Acuzar justifies his act of uprooting ancestral houses to be restored and protected in his resort in Bataan it is our job to tell our children that a historic or ancestral house once stood on a certain area… yada… yada…and show them pictures how it looks like and spend for the the trip to Bataan and pay the entrance fee to the private resort.

    It’s sad to think that heritage conservation is not on the priority list of this government unlike the time of Imelda Marcos… Well wala ngang first lady si Pnoy to do that for him… hahaha. and yung mga kapatid nya mukhang wala ring panahaon sa mga ganitong bagay.

    Reply
  4. Interesting insights. I too feel ambivalent about Mr. Acuzar’s way of “saving” old houses. Most specially if one hears from some heritage advocates that they would rather see the structure fall apart or rot in situ than be relocated. Both I think are extreme measures. If one transfers the heritage structure to another place, it looses its context and as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think it would be the same, in a sense that it is a (new) reconstructed house using old materials. But at least, it still can be seen and be appreciated. But left in situ, it can still be appreciated but until when? There is nothing to appreciate if it is left to rot and demolished in the end.

    But it still puzzles me sometimes as to why is the fate of old houses in our country like this. Some are still habitable but abandoned even if there are surviving family members. And for those who can afford to restore there houses (and do not need the extra money), why do they choose to sell, demolish or abandon them.

    Like the houses and address of the old rich in Quiapo, San Nicolas etc. will Forbes Park, Ayala Alabang etc. suffer the same fate in the future? Is the government to blame or the people who used to live there who if perception was reality, could well have afford to do something about it or influence others in taking a different course of action.

    I think we have a distorted sense of progress were it seems it is measured by malls, fast food chains, traffic etc. At the expense of our history, heritage and quality of life.

    Reply
  5. There we’ll agree on ambivalence position, but for different reasons.

    It’s good for Jerry Azucar to construct the bahay-na-bato houses to show a relic during the Spanish period.
    In a book called “Philippine Ancestral Houses” by Nakpil-Zialcita, which was written sometime in the early 80′s, the author revealed that the maker of the house was not an architect. Instead, it was a craftsman that most Philippine languages would call “mason.” He acted as the structural engineer, architect, civil engineer and foreman all rolled in one. This shows the ingenuity of the Filipino during the Spanish period. The irony is that the one the “mason” builds

    The bad side of it is that the building should have not been shipped since a building is suited only for the specific climate and a type of soil where the building is located.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Different Point of Views on Heritage Conservation (& Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar) | The Philippines And Then Some

  7. Aqui teneis la herencia hispanica, os guste o no os guste, sois parte te la historia de España

    Reply
  8. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla

    heheh, Don Pepe Victorino!

    matindi tlga galit nito sa US… WASP eh no…

    yeah, lam ko ibig sabihin nun…

    Reply
  9. Nueva Era was still around a decade ago? My grandfather, Tomas R. Umali who used the pen name Florete, used to write a column for Nueva Era. I am writing a book on some of the family history and have been googling it but have come up with nothing specific except from wikipedia which i dont really trust. When did Nueva Era start publishing? And until a decade ago? Pure Spanish till the end? Would appreciate any data for my endnotes, thanks :)

    Reply
  10. filipinos have a distorted image of progress, which is true to most.

    Reply
  11. I am a bit confused about the Casa Vizantina picture. The website of Las Casas claims that the house in Bagac used to be owned by the Reyes Family from Pampanga. It gives the impression too that the house was transferred from Pampanga as this was suppose to be occupied by the Gobernadorcillo when he was in Pampanga during the Spanish period. What is true? Is the Casa Vizantina NOT in Manila anymore? Or is it just a similar house?

    Reply
  12. Dr. Bimbo Sta. Maria

    Hi Pepe! You keep on repeating that we came late in all of these. Allow me to say again that our organization (UACCD) was only established last year. Prior to this we did not know that there was an intention by Mr. Gerry Alberto to sell the house. The house was not deteriorating as he claimed prior to his decision to sell. Like you, i had the chance to see the house before they started dismantling it and it was well-kept. Many thought, after seeing the television coverage, that it was the state of the house. NO! Maayos ang bahay Pepe, hindi giba. Maybe a few leaks on the roof that could be easily repaired. I have always known the Alberto’s as one of the most affluent Binanense and it came as a big surprise for us to hear him saying he cannot afford to maintain it anymore. His relatives and circle of friends keep on telling me to this day that he still is well-off. I really cannot figure out in my head why he disobeyed the will of his mother,the late Dona Pilar, to keep the house and even to convert it into a museum as she had said in a newspaper in 1997. So, the UACCD did the best and until now, to stop this horrible idea. there is no doubt the structure has its cultural importance.

    I would praise to the highest heavens Mr. Acuzar if he restored the house in situ. I believe that is the genuine heart of a heritage conservationist. In a recent GMA 7 segment there was an architect from NHC who said it would be better for a moneyed individual to buy these heritage houses and transplant it somewhere else than see it decaying.It is an abomination of the Heritage Conservation Act! I was blown away by her statement. It came from the very agency of our government that we relied as our defender.She could have called for support from local governments and communities to join hands and support the new bill! Ano bang klaseng statement yun from NHC?!

    Now, again, please allow me to share with you my 5 cent worth. Yes, Mr. Acuzar is in his heydays…he has all the money. Now, what if…and that is only an “if” and i do not wish for this to happen to him…he goes bankrupt? Kahit nga America na napakayaman bumagsak. It is not impossible for this to happen…tama ba ako dun? What will happen to all these heritage structures that he uprooted? Good if the one who would take over shares the same passion he has for these important cultural properties. Then the same scenario happens all over again but on a larger scale, all of his collections would “rot” as how they claimed them to be when they bought it for a cheap price. ( the Alberto House was said to have been sold for only Php500,000 ). It would be better to have these structures remain on where they stand. At least, if we keep on banging on the walls of the national and local government…baka sakali makuha pa natin ang kanilang simpatiya katulad ni Mayor Len Alonte. Yes, she promised to expropriate in February and until now wala pa rin. Pepe, i have always bugged her regarding this, even to the point of irritating my good mayor.Pero, if other people like you and the many other organizations would only do the same…may be things will go faster. But until now parang ako lang ang nangungulit. I go for public-private partnership in heritage conservation. It is the only sustainable scenario (my opinion).

    I agree, we should meet personally. I look forward to that day Pepe. As of now we never stopped campaigning for awareness. Hunting forever, dreaming and putting our best hope that one day we might stumble on someone or an institution, private or public to help us on this self-imposed burden we carry on our shoulders. Yes, we need HELP! The UACCD-Alberto debacle is a “David and Goliath” isomer.

    Reply
    • Hello sir,

      This article/blogpost was published last 7 March 2011 (the date is included in the byline, underneath the title), and was published only once. I merely posted it on our Alberto Mansion Facebook page this afternoon to elicit some updates from you and/or other members. So no, I plead “not guilty” when you say that I keep on repeating that your group was too late in defending the Alberto ancestral home. My apologies, though, for the misunderstanding that this has caused you.

      You have raised a possible concern. Indeed, what will happen to those precious houses in case Mr. Acuzar’s money-making machine bogs down? I agree with you. Anything is possible. But the concern at this very moment is how to keep the houses where they should be.

      Best regards, and more power to heritage conservation.

      Reply
      • Dr. Bimbo Sta. Maria

        Hi Pepe!

        Yes, i saw the March 7, 2011 date, i said you keep on repeating because it was the same thing you said in July of 2010, that we came late…hehehe.

        Naku Pepe, it is hightime that we meet personally. I hope this happens very soon.

        Participation in terms of action….that is my recommendation. Let us start writing or the best, visiting or talking personally to people or the insitutions they represent regarding our concerns for heritage conservation. And for me….focus! Let us finish what we have started and take these problems one at a time. Sana may makasama kami sa advocacy na ito till matapos….kahit ano mangyari.

        Thanks Pepe and God bless! See you soon.

        Reply
  13. Dr. Santamaria, are you pushing for the expropriation of the Alberto property. You’re unbelievable. You have no respect for human rights . That property is privately owned. How will you feel if the government expropriates your house. You’re cruel Dr. Santamaria! Me santa pa na man yung pangalan nyo.

    Reply
  14. Huwag nating pakialaman ang property ng ibang tao just for arts sake Dr. Satanmaria. Insted of pushing for the expropriation of the Alberto house ,you should convince mayor Alont to buy the proprty which we all know binan can afford to do.

    Reply
  15. Yes, the solution of UACCD is the appropriation of the house. I presume this would be in situ, so the appropriation might also include the actual site, which is more valuable. I share the sentiment of Chief that the Alberto family stand to lose because we’re not too sure that they will be paid fairly. Furthermore, there is the very public encroachment of private property which seems not legal, since the house has neither been declared a heritage house, nor is it economically viable to maintain it as it is on its present site.

    Behind all these, I wonder why conservationists are insistent that conservation has to be in-situ. The tradition of moving houses is not by any means nouvelle. There is the Filipino tradition of Bayanihan….where whole houses are moved for whatever reason – because work requires the transfer of the family to another location….or say because the family would want to move in a better location because the old site is prone to natural calamities.If I had an ancestral house i would like to keep and live in, and which was located right smack in the center of a busy urban center – and urban decay, i wouldn’t mind moving it to a gated subdivision where security, not to mention, a more gentile environment could be had. This would also ensure that there is continuous reuse of the property, and proper maintenance. For me, that is what has happened to the old houses in Las Casas. There is creative reuse…..these houses are alive once again. And as for the Dr.’s question about what if Jerry Acuzar loses his money….well, that is why there’s an effort to make that place self-sustainable. And heck, that sort of thinking is crass.

    Reply
  16. Have you guys been to the poblacion where the alberto house is located. Visiting that place is a very unpleasant experience.you see garbage everywhere you go and the foul smell coming from the market place exacerbates everything . that part of our town has been a victim of negligence for so many years so why not transfer the historical alberto house to a place conducive for tourists. our poblacion can never be a tourist destination unless our local government will transfer the market place somewhere else.

    Reply
  17. I commend Jerry Acuzar for saving the abandoned old houses in manila and in the provinces and giving them a permanent home in bagac bataan. There are people who are a lot wealthier than Mr. Acuzar but they never thought of a concept like the las casas de acuzar. A haven for old dilapidated houses from the 18th century to the 19th century. Even the Zobel de Ayalas with all there land never thought of this advocacy.

    Reply
  18. FILIPINA BALLERINA

    I agree. Instead of erecting another major mall, why can’t these rich people (and most of them have spanish ancestry, by the way), focus their attention to more educational/historical enterprises, and follow the example of Mr Acuzar. Hopefully, little by little the filipinos can regain self respect and value their heritage. I’m not insinuating digging up and transfering buildings left, right and center. But a simple basic reconstruction and preservation of certain ancestral homes and /or areas all over Manila will already be a great help to the Philippine Heritage as well as Pride. It may even be a tourist attraction (eventually).

    Reply
  19. Hi there! This blog post could not be written much better!
    Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He always kept preaching about this. I will forward this post to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a very good read. Thank
    you for sharing!

    Reply
  20. Alicia Saunier

    Sadly, this is another display of crab mentality from the haters of Mr. Acuzar. And most probably envy, for not having the means to do this on their own. We just came from Las Casas and what was done here is beautiful. I felt so lucky to be given a chance to see these wonderful architecture and learn a thing or two about history. Even my 17 year old was quite amazed by the architecture, which would have been impossible for her to have witnessed if it was not saved and restored by Mr. Acuzar. And so what if it is rented out? It costs millions just to maintain these houses and income coming from the rentals would at least ensure it to be taken cared for for a long time. Plus, it creates more jobs for people in the area and gives a chance for people like us to experience living in these beautiful houses. Not to mention how it will be good for our tourism. People can be so closed minded and difficult to please. To Mr Acuzar and family – THANK YOU!

    Reply

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