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A home for history

Las Casas Quezon City

Published

By Joyce Reyes-Aguila

  • The original structure of the mansion, designed by national artist Pablo S. Antonio, Sr., has been retained, staying true to the advocacy of the Azucar family to preserve Filipino heritage and architecture.

  • A refreshing view of the original structure of the art-deco house built in 1963 will soon welcome guests to a boutique hotel, convention center, chapel, and courtyard.

  • A refreshing view of the original structure of the art-deco house built in 1963 will soon welcome guests to a boutique hotel, convention center, chapel, and courtyard.

  • Head of operations Jovy Azucar in front of a masterpiece by national artist Fernando Amorsolo of Lily Juico, whose family used to host grand events at the now repurposed property.

  • Aside from history, there is a story of Filipino craftsmanship and ingenuity in every step, every nook of the house, including its wood staircase that lead guests to functions rooms.

  • Aside from history, there is a story of Filipino craftsmanship and ingenuity in every step, every nook of the house, including its wood staircase that lead guests to functions rooms.

    Aunique snapshot of cultural heritage as expressed through architecture lies in Bagac, Bataan. More than 50 structures from 18th-century Philippines have been preserved and collected at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, waiting to be visited and to tell their story of our country’s past. It was exactly how property owner and New San Jose Builders, Inc. (NSJBI) chairman and founder Jose Rizalino “Jerry” L. Acuzar wanted it – for history to be experienced instead of just told.

    The company is now expanding its reach to the metro via the Las Casas Heritage Collection, a group of “events spaces and boutique hotels around major and up and coming cities in the Philippines.” Its first venture, Las Casas in Quezon City, has been hosting events and diners since early this year.

    The property was acquired in 2016 when the Juico family approached the Acuzars to sell their 7,500-square-meter property along Roosevelt Avenue where their childhood home, Casa Juico stands. “As we are in the real estate business, it was initially offered to be turned into a residential building,” head of operations Jovy Acuzar explains. “However, my father, being the advocate for heritage and architecture that he is, realized the beauty of the art deco house and its many ancient tree varieties.”

    The Acuzars were inspired to build an events space after learning more about the property. According to Jovy, Felipe Juico had established the first Filipino-owned travel agency in the country. “Together with his wife, Lily, they made their home a destination for grand events and meetings back in the day. The family loved to entertain guests, and we felt that it was very fitting to turn this space into an events space to pay tribute to Lily and Felipe,” she continues.

    The original structure of the house that was designed by National Artist Pablo Antonio Sr. was retained. The Acuzars also kept all the trees in the property, its swimming pool, as well as the Juico family’s dining area and plate collection. “We kept the exterior of the house,and revamped and redesigned its interiors completely to fit its intended purpose,” Jovy shares. A tour around the property illustrate the “eclectic mix of styles” the group elected for the place. In a release, the company explains it did not want to be defined by one style direction. “It is about borrowing from different styles and techniques, be it baroque, art deco, art noveau (and the like).” Similar to Las Casas in Bataan, Las Casas in Quezon City ensured that Filipino artistry and craftmanship were integrated to the Quezon City property as well.

    The walls of the receiving room have embossed wall mountings in intricate floral design. All wood works were carved from scrap materials from their other projects, Jovy says.The higher part of the wall has paintings depicting the lives of Filipino farmers, family values, and historical events such as the sewing of the nation’s flag. Local artistry and craftsmanship are also on display through mosaics in the entrance of the main house and on the walls and steps of the main home called Casa Juico’s staircase.

    On the second floor are rooms that can be reserved for different gatherings. Guests can also choose to hold their events in the garden area. Around the house, new and old furniture and art works make for good conversation pieces. By the end of the year, Jovy reveals that a 13-room boutique hotel, chapel, and courtyard will be open. In-house restaurant and caterer, Las Casas Manila by Margarita Fores, offers Spanish and Filipino cuisine using the “slow food concept” by promoting local food and traditional ways of cooking.

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