|Location: Talisay City,Negros Occidental, Western Visayas, Philippines|
Postal Address: Hda. Sta. Maria, Zone 15, Talisay City, Negros Occidental, 6115 Philippines
Coordinates: 10°44′N 122°58′E
Descriptive Summary: The Ruins of Talisay City is ranked 12th of the most fascinating ruins of the world (of more than 1,000 known ruins) in Oddee at http://www.oddee.com/item_96671.aspx is a blog with over 2.5 million visitors worldwide a month that “features the odd, strange and bizarre things of our world, Be amazed!”, its home page says. The rankings are as follows: 1-Machu Picchu (Peru), 2-Babylon (Iraq), 3-Palenque (Mexico), 4-Ruins of Ayutthaya (Thailand), 5-The Colosseum (Italy), 6-Tikal Ruins (Guatemala), 7-Chichen Itza Ruin (Mexico), 8-The Parthenon (Greece), 9-Jesuitical Ruins of Trinidad (Paraguay), 10-Copan Ruins (Honduras)and 11-Palmyra Ruins (Syria) .
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This is a part of my April 11 – 15, 2014 Mount Kanlaon – Negros Occidental Trips which includes: Mount Kanlaon Climb; Mambukal Mountain Resort; Bacolod City Tour; and Balay Negrense .
The Ruins is awarded to be the best landmark in the Philippines and is considered to be the Taj Mahal of Negros. It is just 10 kilometers from Silay International Airport. Talisay City where it is located is a part of the Metro Bacolod along with two other cities, namely: Bacolod City and the historical Silay.
Visiting this place early in the evening where it closes at 8:00 P.M. daily and likewise opens at 8:30 A.M. is such a rewarding experience as the whole place turns to be romantic. After all, Mariano Ledesma Lacson, a sugar magnate, built this mansion in 1911, where he designed it to be a monument to his enduring love to his wife, Maria Braga, a Portuguese lady from Macau. Mariano met Maria in Macau in some of his travels and deeply fell in love with her. Their marriage gave them 10 children and in 1911, while Maria was nearing the full term of her 11th pregnancy, she met an accident where it led to her death as well as the baby in her womb. Heartbroken and inconsolable, Mariano decided to build a mansion in remembrance of Maria, right in the middle of his 440-hectare sugar plantation here in Talisay City.
How come that this magnificent mansion just ended up to be a ruin? Actually, this mansion has been the residence of Mariano and his 10 children where he set the rule that as soon as his children are married, they should leave the mansion. Mariano himself would abide by it, moving to a cottage nearby when he decided to remarry years later. But not until the eve of the World War II that it was burned down by the recruited guerilla soldiers so that it will not be used as headquarters by the Japanese forces.
It has been recounted by the eyewitnesses that this mansion in the middle of a sugar plantation has smoldered continuously for three days, but the fire would not consume all of it leaving behind reminders of a glorious past.
As seen from the pictures above, the mansion has European architectural influences as introduced to Mariano by his father-in-law, who is a ship captain. Its over all design has an Italianate inspiration to the shell details on the roof. The structure of the house was of solid concrete and the interior floors were dressed either in tiles imported from Spain or 20-meter-long hard wood planks that were cut a meter wide.
After it was consummated by fire in 1942, it remained to be totally abandoned and served to be the place of refuge at day time for some sugarcane farmers while having rest from work as well as some livestock animals who made this as their shelter at night. It was only then when Mariano's great grandson, Raymund Javella, has initiated to rehabilitate the the ruins so that it can be opened to the public as part of a monumental museum in January 2008. This realization has been triggered by some of his travels abroad particularly in Europe where ruins are preserved and made to be tourist attractions.
As the place has been rehabilitated, some amenities were put in place as additional perks for visiting guests like a fine dining restaurant which sits 70 guests comfortably with Chef Michelle Lynn Lacson and Chef KC Lacson whipping up palatable family recipes, Mediterranean dishes that date back to the time of Mariano and Maria; 18-hole mini-golf course, laden with blue grass; a 500-square-meter garden of fruits and vegetables which afford the guests with freshly picked organically-grown produce without pesticides; plants and ornamental flowers shop; a souvenir shop that sells items such as t-shirts, key chains, memo magnets, hand-painted fans, postcards, eco-friendly bags and many more; and the luscious Spanish Garden equipped with tramvia for guests to move around the place.
By the way, there is of course an entrance fee to The Ruins. As far as I can recall, I paid P40 using my student ID but adults have to pay P80. I just don't know with the kids and senior citizens. Cars and vehicles brought inside are also charged with an entrance fee.
When is the perfect time of the day to visit the place to capture perfect pictures? Personally, I was advised by the in-house guides that I have to be there from 5:00 P.M. until at least to 7:00 P.M. My first visit was around 6:00 P.M. Thus, I did not see the scenery of the sunset picture which gives a golden sky background to the mansion. With this, the following day I visited again the place but it was around 9:00 P.M. and I have no choice because I have to be timely for my flight in going back to Manila. This time, my four friends where with me in the name of: Rome Frias, Alan Valenzuela, Cesar Garcia and Benedick Manalang.
If you visit Negros Occidental, do not miss to visit this amazing ruins as you can not claim you have been in this province. Either as an amateur or professional photographer, your sense of sight will really feast on its magnificent scenery. No wonder, it is becoming a favorite location for photography and filming, whether documenting special occasions, sharpening a skill, or just enjoying a hobby. Other interesting sights to include in your photography subjects are the original fixtures of the property like the four-tier water lily fountain and the muscovado sugar mill smokestack.
The abandoned muscovado sugar mill smokestack was erected outside the mansion compound since this large hacienda ran then its own maquina de vapor de horno economico or steam-powered muscovado sugar mill or simborio where it clearly proves that once this technology has existed and now it just remains to be a relic of the past.
HOW TO GET THERE
First, if you are coming from Manila, you can take any daily flight to Bacolod via Silay International Airport. While in Bacolod City proper, you take a cab ride with a sign board of "Bata" for P8 as of this writing which will take about 30-45 minutes depending on the traffic. Ask the jeepney driver to drop you at the tricycle terminal to the ruins which you will pay for P15 per head and you will be dropped there. In going back to Bacolod City proper, just reverse the routes you have.
Alternatively, if you are driving then you can proceed to Bata (PEPSI bottling plant) and turn east. About 600 meters, you will see a cellsite above a two-storey building on the left. Opposite that building you will see a big sign that reads as "THIS WAY TO THE RUINS". You will enter that narrow street leading to Rose Lawn Memorial Garden. Follow the small red and yellow signs on the electrical posts which will lead you all the way to The RUINS.