The clergy went to Bagac in Bataan province to see the “Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar”, a heritage park featuring authentic 19th century Principalia Mansions and original Bahay na Bato (Stone Houses), which stand resplendent around a cobblestone plaza and streets paying tribute to the magnificent craftsmanship of our Filipinos.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is composed of 30 combined, centuries-old Principalia mansions (bahay na bato), ‘indio’ stilt houses, and a recreated two-story Escolta commercial establishment, including the original University of the Philippines Fine Arts building on which restoration work is ongoing.
It started out as a hobby for real estate developer architect Jerry Acuzar who acquired old structures from all over the Philippines and rebuilt these in the new site. Extra effort was made to restore each building to its original state and glory.
St. Joseph Cathedral, Balanga
The clergy passed by the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Balanga before proceeding to Bagac town. Archbishop Soc gave a guided tour of the cathedral to the clergy. He showed to the clergy the beautiful murals on the ceiling of the cathedral tracing the genealogy of Abraham to Joseph. The first bishop of Balanga, Msgr. Celso N. Guevara, was laid to rest below the belfry. The church was established on 18 April 1739.
To the “Bahay Pari”
The clergy then went to the “Bahay Pari” of the diocese. “The Bahay Pari” is also the residence of the bishop. Archbishop Soc, when he was the bishop of Balanga, stayed at the Bahay Pari. A “merienda” was prepared by the generous faithful of Balanga.
Father Soc pointing to the clergy the genealogy of St. Joseph from Abraham a depicted in the cathedral ceiling.
Mass at the “Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar”
Upon arriving at the “Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar”, the priests were met by Architect and Mrs. Jerry Acuzar and their children. They attended the mass celebrated by Archbishop Soc and the clergy at the reconstructed University of the Philippines Fine Arts building. Msgr. Villegas in his homily shared his reflection on the meaning of “bataan”.
To the Aquino Center in Tarlac
The priests spent sometime at the Aquino Center located at the Hacienda Luisita on their way to Pangasinan. They were graciously met and showed around the museum by Pinky and Ballsy, the two daughters of the late Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and former President Corazaon C. Aquino.
This museum houses the legacy of Sen. Ninoy Aquino and Pres. Cory Aquino. The museum houses various memorabilia related to the political careers of both Ninoy and Cory. This includes Ninoy’s mayoral stint in Concepcion Tarlac, his Senate position, his detention under Marcos’ martial law, his exile in the U.S., and his 1983 assassination at MIA. (Prominently displayed is Ninoy’s blood-stained clothes that he wore when he was gunned down.) On Cory’s side, the museum includes material from the 1986 snap elections and her whole presidency until 1992.
Both Pinky and Ballsy provided personal anecdotes and made the pictures and various memorabilia of their parents become alive with their personal stories.
Aurora Corazon (Pinky) Aquino Abellada with the clergy at the Aquino Center
To see more pictures of the “Easter Outing”, kindly click HERE.
All pictures are courtesy of Fr. Jim Cerezo