I've seen the praises, photos and posts about Bacolod's infamous The Ruins before (it's not really in Bacolod too...). It's just a little overhyped, I initially thought, and I had no plans of flying to Bacolod just for that. I went to Negros to see organic farms, on assignment, and not the usual spots. It was so interesting to not succumb to the chicken inasals and pastries that this place is so known for and take a journey towards healthy living on my first ever trip there. Who knew that this little last-minute side-trip would bring about a little spark? I was completely enamoured at first sight with none other than Talisay's The Ruins within minutes of getting there. I was quickly absorbed with the tales of history with our very animated guide and was super glad that we had time for me to explore it on my own in silence. I had one too many speechless and daydreaming moments while we were there. Haha. I'm committing this to memory and listing this down as one of my most memorable experiences that travel blogging has taken me so far.
The Ruins was just 10 minutes away by car from the Fresh Start Organic Store in Robinsons Bacolod. There's a compound entrance fee if you have a vehicle (below) and an entrance fee (P60 for adults, P40 for students and P30 for children).
This mansion was built in 1920 and was home to Don Mariano Lacson (a muscovado sugar baron) and Maria Braga. It is now owned by Mr. Raymond Javellana's family (descendant of the original family) and developed into a tourist attraction (opened to the public in 2008). In 1942, the Japanese came and planned to make this into their headquarters so the guerrillas burned it down intentionally with the permission of the family. It burned for 3 days.
It went something like this! The one below is Roger, he said, the more famous one. I think they have the same script so well memorized haha. It was a delight to be there for this historical tour.
Here's a portrait of the Don Mariano. This mansion was built in memory of his first wife Maria who died with his 11th baby (so goes the story that this is the Taj Majal of Negros). They had 10 children together and only the unmarried children can stay in this house.
This is the Belvedere - the ballroom upstairs where they would gather together and watch the sunset.
This is what's left of the 2nd floor. "The structure survived mainly due to the oversized steel bars and the A-grade mixture of concrete used in its construction."
Going up and down staircase was quite dangerous I think and my least favorite part (I got jelly legs).
They've created a dining area downstairs and they have an Italian menu at their website so I guess you can eat here.
Thick hardwood was used in the construction of this house. This part used to have the wood and a gap was made to preserve it and ventilate the house.
I could spend the whole day here just sitting on the grass. It just had a very romantic vibe to it and an open space outside where you can find your own little corner. I can lie down on the grass and watch airplanes pass by too =D
I smiled even wider when I heard piano and saxophone reverberating from the mansion.
There's a cafe and souvenir shop where you can also have muni-muni moments.
I'd love to see a sunset here and just hang out at night. I caught a glimpse of garden lights being turned on as we were about to leave. I would definitely go back and I know just who to take ;)