Negros Chronicles | The Story Behind The Ruins

Negros Chronicles

Part 1

Talisay City, Negros Occidental – Our trip to Negros brought us to The Ruins. The part I really enjoyed the most was the story behind this fascinating structure.Balay Daco, Simento nga Balay, Mansyon, Palasyo, Lacson Mansion, Balay ni Anoy, these were just a few of the names used to refer the former mansion of Don Mariano “Anoy” Ledesma Lacson when it’s still unknown to the public and the world.It was abandoned for 63 years. Before it opens to the public in 2008, this place was used to be a garbage, a latrine for squatters, a rest area for sugarcane farmers, as well as shack for their carabaos, goats and cows. But thanks to the great determination of Raymundo Javellana, now we call it ‘The Ruins‘. Mr. Javellana said that in Europe, they are preserving the ruins, so why not do the same. Then he pursue his very ambitious dream and that is to transport the shack into a tourist attraction and to give justice to the place.And Today, because it’s structural integrity, the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) awarded or declare it as one of the best landmark in the Philippines. They made this location a site for PICE Landmark.

The Past

The magnificent structure of the mansion of Negros’ sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson is of Italianate architecture with neo-Romanesque columns.
It’s was created in loving memory of his wife, Maria Braga after her death in 1911. It is the reason why it is also called as the Taj Mahal of Negros. She passed away bearing their 11th child. It served as the residence of the sugar baron and his unmarried children.
Jose Maria Braga, the father of his wife, who was a captain of his own ship, believed had much influence in the design and architecture of the mansion. If you will notice the shell-like crowns around the top of the mansion, in New England, this represents the home of a ship’s captain.It was the largest residential structure at that time. Unfortunately, it met its sad fate during World War II, the mansion was burnt by the American troops, after they found out that the Japanese forces were planning to use it as one of their headquarters. Its roof went down, but despite the inferno, it took 3 days in flame because of finest concrete and wood frame.

The Present

Today, the mansion stands as an evidence of it’s great past. The concrete frames were as smooth as marble. You’ll notice the two inverted M’s on the frames which signifying the names of Mariano and Maria.Its owner, Raymund Javellana is continually adding improvements in the place. A café/souvenir shop is set-up across The Ruins which serves light drinks and snacks at reasonable prices. So, while waiting for the sunset (which by the way the most dramatic and romantic part you shouldn’t miss!), we had coffee while enjoying the wonderful place. After the sunset, The Ruins finally lit up in a golden glow. Its full beauty was highlighted at night together with a romantic music playing in the background.

How to Get There

From Bacolod City, take a jeepney (P8.00) going to Barangay Bata and get off at the Pepsi Cola Products Philippines Inc Plant (Bangga Pepsi). Beside the plant are pedicabs/trikes going to The Ruins. The trike fare is around P40.00 per way, including the village fee of P10.00.Also, you can get a trike from GOTODA Terminal located in Rose Lawn St., three blocks away from Pepsi Plant.At the gate of the mansion, you’ll need to pay P60.00 per person for the entrance fee and a very friendly guide will assist you.
 Travel TIPS:
If you are planning to visit The Ruins, the best times to go is in late afternoons for sunset. The Ruins is a must visit when you get to Bacolod.