A Drive Up North

Mount Samat from a distance

It’s D and my first proper vacation this year. We’ve been meaning to go here for years, and thankfully we found promo rates offered by Klook late last year. I booked the deal in a heartbeat: it was for an overnight stay for two, free breakfast and walking tour, and free use of kayaks and the swimming pool at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Much as I wanted to use it up during the Holy Week break, I figured to just book now to skip the flock of tourists.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is located at Bagac, Bataan. It is about three and a half hours’ northbound drive from home. We left at six in the morning. As we drove to the skyway, the sun made its grand entrance, and it was awesome. I’m an early bird (on weekdays) but I admit I hardly even look up to watch the sun rise, as I’m always on breakfast-then-work mode. I’ve been missing out!

Sunrise and the Manila skyline

I knew we were off to a good start because we got to drive through the newly opened skyway extension that connected South Luzon Express Way to the North Diversion. Driving from Paranaque to Balintawak was about 25 minutes. Before the pandemic, it took us about two hours (at least) just to get out of Metro Manila. Now, thanks to the skyway it’s a breeze!

When we got to Pampanga we looked for (and missed) a couple of cafes and restaurants for brunch. As newbies to the north we just relied on Google maps and reviews, and we almost missed the third highly rated restaurant if D didn’t make a U-turn. And this, friends, was the view from our food hut.

Rice fields and blue sky

After brunch we made a short stop at Mount Samat, a historical place with a memorial for WWII fallen heroes. I vaguely remember Mount Samat because of the famous Mount Samat Cross. Plus, when I was around seven or eight years old my grandma brought me to Bataan for a beach holiday with relatives. I remember gazing out when she pointed the giant cross to me.

Mount Samat from a distance

I’ll write about Mount Samat and the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in my next posts. For now, let me leave you with this shot of the road to our weekend holiday. May you have a good day!

Summer skies, March 2021

By MrsWayfarer

Living Free and Making a Difference


    1. Thank you Carol! Sadly the places we went to were impacted by the lockdown. D and I were lucky we managed to go out of town. As of today Metro Manila is on rules once again through April 4 because we’ve been hit with the rising cases (thousands per day).


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