This elegant hotel used to be the most prestigious hotel in Manila in 1899, and witnessed the transition of the Philippines from being a colony of Spain and then America. Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal and his sister Lucia Herbosa once stayed here after returning from Hong Kong. Rizal stayed in Room 22, which faced the Binondo Church.
More than a century later, it was reconstructed and now stands in the midst of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan. D and I planned to explore this place on our last day in the resort, and our expectations were exceeded as we entered the main door. Its wooden interiors were intricately designed, and we walked in silence admiring the craftsmanship that surrounded us. I was told by our tour guide the previous day that the APEC Summit delegates went there years ago. Due to the pandemic, it had not been rented for a long time. I walked alone in the grand ballroom, nothing but the sound of distant chirping birds could be heard. I reflected on the impact of COVID to the world, and how surreal it was still having been able to travel to this part of the country. A couple of days after our visit here, the lockdown was enforced once again in Metro Manila. This was the last proper trip that we had this summer so far.