Flavorsome Heirloom Cuisine & Heritage Vibe at Casa Simeon | Albay


Hitting the ground running within moments of our arrival at Bicol International Airport, we headed to the picturesque Sumlang Lake where a filling grub was made more memorable by the beautiful backdrop of Mayon Volcano. A demonstration of preparing the native cuisine Pinangat and the process of stripping and weaving abaca, followed by a scenic bamboo raft, ride rounded of our stay before departing for the town of Bacacay shortly before sunset.

Justin Jovero

Reeling after the exhausting day that began when I woke up at 5:00 in the morning after returning from Davao to Manila the previous evening, I wished we would go straight to our lodging so I could rest up for the remainder of our 6-day trip of the Bicol region.

Gretchen Filart, Levy Amosin and Celine Murillo

However, as soon as we got to our dinner location, all feelings of weariness in my body was swiftly replaced by captivation as Casa Simeon arrested my attention. Magically positioned against the dimming blue skies, my line of sight quickly focused on the wooden-structure of the second floor and the distinctive "bahay na bato" foundation of the ground floor.

Ancestral Bed and Breakfast House

As part of the #PTIPBicol2022 media familiarization tour organized by the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines (TPB), we arrived to a cultural performance spectacle. The instant we stepped foot inside, a group of young men and women adorned with colorful clothing greeted us before hurriedly performing a traditional dance called the "Sinakiki", a courtship dance that originated in the municipality of Rapu-Rapu in Albay.

Eileen Campos

Following the performance, we took our seat at the second-floor dining hall. The rooms located on both sides of the hallway was transformed into charming accommodations — totaling 9 rooms of Family Room, De Luxe Queen and De Luxe Twin classifications.

Sara Abdollahi

Apart from the restaurant and lodging features, Casa Simeon also has a library, a coffee shop and outdoor dining in the garden. Simeon and Beatrice Alparce originally owned and constructed the home in the 1920s, but it was momentarily abandoned during World War II when the Japanese blitzed through the town of Bacacay, forcing the Alparce family to flee and hide for safety.

Marky Ramone Go

Expecting the worst, the Alparce couple was delightfully surprised to discover the house unscathed when they returned at the end of the war. In what could be a good omen of things to come, the house then survived numerous typhoons and earthquakes. Nevertheless, as father time remains unbeatable against all living creatures, the passage of time brings the same effect to structures no matter how strong. When the new millennia rolls in, it became evident that the future Casa Simeon would need to go through some refurbishment.

Ana Gonzales, Mary Jane Cunanan, Ruth Dela Cruz

In 2018, the Alparce's grandson Enrico Alparce Calleja led the restoration of his grandparent's dream house and baptized it with a new name: Casa Simeon. He then also transformed it into a specialty lodging serving heirloom recipes.

Clarice Capili

Casa Simeon co-owner and Enrico Alparce Calleja's wife Jessica Noelle Wong points out the unique experience of staying in a century-old Spanish-colonial house "You not only sense the warmth of the wood beneath your feet, you also get a feel of the culture and history of the Philippines"

Lauren Denoga

After eating more than I should since we were served with a buffet menu of Cosido (Bicol's version of fish stew), Bicol Chicken Tinola, Kare-Kare and one of the most satisfying lechon kawali I've ever had, I imagined how awesome it would be if I could stay in one of Casa Simeon’s rooms afterwards.

Sophia Gianan

It would be charmingly lovely waking up in an ancestral bed and breakfast the next morning. Well, that’s something to look forward to next time.

Additional photo credits: Sir Noel Amata and Casa Simeon Facebook Page