Metropolitan Bacólod, lone metropolitan area of Negros Island, is the heritage and financial center of Negros. Composed of Silay, Talisay and Bacólod Cities with a population of three quarters of a million, it is the most populous area of the Island. Bacólod and Silay Cities are within the tourism map because of Masskara Festival and heritage houses respectively. Talisay City was not in the tourism radar until recently. This city is often confused with a namesake in Cebú but what catapulted this humble city of less than hundred thousand to the tourism map is a burned down pre-war mansion dedicated to a wife who passed away untimely.
Leaving quite late from the heritage City of Silay, we arrived in the Bacólod Northbound Terminal almost sunset. Not wanting to get late for the spectacle, we hurriedly walk to the side of the Pepsi Plant in Brgy. Bata, commonly called Bangga Pepsi. we contracted a tricycle to take us to The Ruins. The road to The Ruins was already dark but the sun is still visible at the horizon. Through the skills in maneuvering of the tricycle driver, we were able to make it in time. Passing by the sugarcane fields for minutes more, the sight of The Ruins welcomed us. Even if it was Tuesday, there were numerous visitors roaming around this picturesque mansion.
This was my second time visiting the famed mansion, I have been here on the day of my birthday last July 3, 2011. My coming back is a fulfillment of a birthday wish to see the sunset and the lighting up of The Ruins at night. While it was already dark in the fields we passed by, there was strangely sunlight still in The Ruins when we arrived. We instructed the tricyle driver to wait for us behind the structure where he left us. The parking area behind was full of blackberries, not the smartphones of course but those tasty black cluster fruits. I used to pick a lot of these in the campus of PSHS Western Visayas in Iloilo when visiting my brother then.
This mansion was by Don Mariano Lacson with an Italianate design in tribute to his late wife, a Portugues-Macanese by the name of Maria Braga. No wonder why this structure was called the Taj Mahal of Negros. The mansion was built in the middle of the field owned by his family and in fact the house of his older brother, Negros Republic President Aniceto Lacson, is just nearby. Though it is also a famous heritage house dubbed Malacañang of Negros for being the Negros President’s residence, access is limited to those joining scheduled tours. Anyway, that will be my next subject for another round of tours in Negros for summer very soon.
During the onset of the Second World War, the Japanese were advancing towards Negros and the troops were tasked to raze down structures of tactical advantage to the enemy. Don Mariano Lacson’s mansion was tagged as one of those structures since it had a wide unobstructed view of the surrounding areas. Despite the protest of the family, they yielded tearfully to the authorities while the soldiers poured in kerosene on the structure. The mansion burned for three days because of the amount of woodwork once covering the interiors. The place was virtually abandoned for many decades until the family realized The Ruin’s tourism potentials.
As the sun finally sunk in the horizon, the place finally lit up in a golden glow. The Ruins was already beautiful under sunlight but it’s full beauty was shown when lit up at night coupled with piped piano music you can hear inside. No wonder why this place also has a café since the mood was romantic for a random date. Have I mentioned that you can rent the place for wedding and function for a good price? For a mansion dedicated to a husband’s eternal love, this is certainly the place where couples can exchange vows of eternal love for one another. If God in His grace gives for me a girl after His heart, I would consider bringing her here.
We took shots all possible shots of the place until we exhausted all possibilities. If there were not much people who visited that day, we would have taken even nicer shots of the place. While I would have loved to stay longer, my guest was hungry from our long trip. Looking behind, I thought of how far I would go for someone special in my life but that is too early to think of. We eventually found the tricycle driver and he promptly brought us back to the terminal where we came from earlier. If visiting The Ruins, the best times to go are early mornings for sunrise and late afternoons for sunset. The Ruins is a must visit for tourists and locals alike.