Recalling the Art of Jose “Ping” Ceriola in Las Casas

June 22, 2023

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By 

Shan Arcega

Every year, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar hosts an endless number of local and international tourists. Known to be one of the world’s most luxurious holiday destinations, the beach resort houses a collection of several dozen heritage houses representing an aspect of Filipino history. Found within a 400-hectare property, Las Casas is a peaceful place hidden from city noise and pollution, making sure that each step inside the compound is a step further into an art-addled past. 

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Image from Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s official Facebook page.
Las Casas Casa Byzantina
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s Casa Byzantina is a rebuilt structure that portrays old Binondo’s structures. Image from Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s official site.

From mansions to wooden houses, the houses at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan are homes that instantly transport visitors out of the city bustle and serves as one of the most relaxing spots in the country. Some of its most notable houses include Hotel De Oriente–which works as both a historic and modern work of art that houses even more artwork ranging from sculptures and paintings, Casa la Drillo–one of the resorts most striking archival houses and carries European-inspired architecture, and Casa Byzantina–the resort’s most luxurious accommodation which portrays the “bahay na bato” style that mostly looms over the streets of old Binondo, Manila.  

hotel de Oriente Las Casas
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s Hotel de Oriente is an extravagant interior that transports you far into the art world. Image from Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s official site.

Read more: Staying in Heritage: Revisiting the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan

The place was the brainchild of real estate magnate, José “Jerry” Acuzar who thought of opening his own estate just outside of his hometown Balanga, Bataan way back in 2003. Five years later, Acuzar was offered parts of a historic home from the Gagayan Valley. By dismantling, relocating, and rebuilding the heritage homes being offered to his estate, Acuazar eventually nurtured the popular holiday destination which now has 63 heritage homes and 33 structures built in the style of historic houses on site. Within each historic home are artworks and interiors that can only be described as ethereal and dream-like.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s picturesque property is practically a dream. Image from Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s official Facebook page.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
The beach resort’s structures vary. From simple houses to striking mansions. Image from Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar’s official Facebook page.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar at night is an even more spectacular sight. Image by Deric Kho.

Among its houses, probably its most extravagantly designed house is Hotel De Oriente which has been furnished with artwork from various master artisans and showcase art like the wooden recreation (done through the old artform called marquetry) of Juan Luna’s Spolarium painting, grand “escaleras” or staircases that frame the lobby and designed with monkey-eating eagles, and intricately designed railings, medallion murals of Botong Francisco’s paintings, and alto-relievo sculptures of women that line the lobby’s upper walls. All of this artwork was headed by creative director and artist Jose “Ping” Ceriola.

Born in Manila, Jose Ceriola has created award-winning art that’s been exhibited across Asia. This July 2023, the master artist who helped bring the gorgeous Las Casas into color will be having a comeback exhibit titled “Light and Shadows” with premier art institution, Gallery Genesis. Through this exhibit showcasing 40 of his works, Jose “Ping” Ceriola once again showcases his artistry this time for painting in the aquarelle or watercolor style. 

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