Before the Spanish came to the Philippines in the 1500’s, houses were made of light materials such as wood and bamboo. They were called “bahay kubo” (hut house), suited to the tropical climate. When the Spanish came, they brought elements of European architecture such as stone materials, but had to make them sturdier to withstand earthquakes while adopting “bahay kubo” elements to allow for natural ventilation. The hybrid became a unique design called “bahay na bato” (stone house).
Many of these houses are hundreds of years old, a testament to the sturdiness of the design. Unfortunately, a number of them fell into disrepair and were in danger of being torn down to give way to urban development.
One man decided to save them and put them together in one place. In some cases the houses were dismantled brick by brick, door by door, window by window, and restored.
This growing collection of restored ancestral houses is now a Heritage Park called Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (Filipino Houses of Acuzar).
It’s a three-hour drive from Manila but it might as well be three hundred years back in a time machine.
The Heritage Park is not a re-creation of an actual community that existed, rather it’s a re-creation of an experience of what might have been.
It even has a replica of Escolta, the high-end shopping street of Manila in colonial times.
Today one can stay in one of the houses as they have been converted to accommodate guests and experience first hand a part of history.
It also has a hotel by the river leading to the sea, and a church.
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
― George Orwell
More info (Wiki) on the Heritage Park here.