Bacolod Ruins Like You’ve Never Seen Before
When in Manila, Intramuros is a sure answer for tourists craving for romance in history, thanks to its architecture and famous features. After all, a visit to the museums and ruins is an easy way to throw some light onto the history of the Philippines. (Check out how we conquered Intramuros in style here: https://www.wheninmanila.com/conquer-old-manila-with-white-knight-e-chariot-tours-of-intramuros/) However, only a few know of the places hiding on the other side of the country.
When you mention Bacolod, one of the main cities in Negros, the first things that come to mind for many filipinos are the Masskara Festival, Piaya, and Chicken Inasal. However, most are still unaware that the province is also rich in Philippine history and culture.
About 10 kilometers from the Bacolod-Silay International Airport lies Talisay’s most cherished tourist spot—The Ruins. Dubbed as the Taj Mahal of the Philippines and living up to its title as one of the 12 most fascinating ruins in the world, the Bacolod ruins is a sight to behold, whether during day or night.
Wealthy sugar baron Mariano Ledesma Lacson built the mansion in 1900’s as Maria Braga’s gift of love. The mansion was the largest residential structure ever built at that time filled with European furnishings, Chinaware and decorative items.
During World War II, Japanese spies were around the place such as the gardener, barbers and photographers. A Japanese gardener was hired to maintain the gardens until he disappeared just before the war. It was found out later that the gardener they hired was an informant to the Japanese Military.
The mansion met its sad fate by World War II, then guerilla fighters in the Philippines burnt the mansion to prevent the Japanese forces to turn his mansion their headquarters. It took days of inferno to bring down the 2-inch wooden floors and the roof. To this day, the structure still stands tall and continues to awe both local and foreign tourists.
The whole place will give you goosebumps – not because Don Mariano haunts you inside but because the nostalgic feeling it gives as you travel back in time discovering the lost tales the ruins hold. Visiting the place is like witnessing an untold love story. The influence of Greek architecture is evident as the Ionic columns firmly graces the balcony. Initials depict the signs on each side in every pillar (MB), suggesting the unparalleled love of Don Mariano to Maria Braga.
The opportunities for unique photos are limitless with the ruins’ architecture and grounds. It is best to be there during sunset, though, as it is more romantic to witness the mansion turning yellow gold.
The structural design of the Mansion was so elegant, it is said that eggs were used as medium of the walls and that the concrete used was Grade A, causing it to firmly withstand fire, earthquakes and typhoons.
Want to know the history of the place without getting bored? Easy. Find Roger, the best tour guide inside the ruins. Speaking English, Tagalog and Ilonggo, Roger Lucero keeps visitors intact as he crack jokes when telling the story of how the mansion was built. His funny approach in narrating the history is the reason why he has become the most sought tour guide to those who visit the place. With his popularity, he has been invited in many local shows in the Philippines.
From the city proper, take a drive to Tagbak terminal and ride a tricycle to the ruins. A tricycle back to the terminal will help you get back in the city. Ruins Cafe located at the side of the ruins where you can also buy souvenirs and the likes. It is wise for students to bring their IDs for a special 20-peso discount.
5:45-6pm is the best time for everyone to witness the golden hues of the ruins while 9-10pm is the ideal time for you to have a moment with the mansion and go for night photography since it is less crowded at night. The ruins open at 8am and close at 11pm.
BALAY NEGRENSE IN SILAY
Going in Ancestral houses does not need to be boring, either. If you put colors into it, it’s like walking into one of those games from Mystery case files called Ravenhearst. As one steps inside Balay Negrense, it will feel like traveling back into the 1900s.
Balay Negrense was originally the ancestral house of Victor F. Gaston with his twelve children from 1901 until his death in 1927. The structure was abandoned but thanks to the foundation that bought the house together. Various pieces which came from families are greatly preserved. From the Ruins to Balay Negrense, one can declare how rich and prosperous negrenses are.
Furnished with conservative wood designs and curves, the house takes pride in almost perfect preservation. The light that gleams inside the living room is so perfect. The old in-house guide wears a kimona that adds genuineness to the place. Her face resembles my grandma a lot and her English is perfect.
It may be eerie at times, but the whole experience was great. You will appreciate how the people in Negros preserve their history so well.
I am an adventurous kind of traveller, but what tamed me a bit is visiting ruins and historical sites. Visiting ancestral houses will make you appreciate the people better and understand why things are like this way or that.
Negros today, with her modernity still has some jewel inside. By visiting these places, we can help restore and preserve its beauty in the name of tourism. So When in Manila, let us not limit ourselves for there are 7,107 islands to discover. Consider visiting these historical sites before it’s too late.
The Ruins: https://theruins.com.ph
Balay Negrense: https://www.balaynegrense.com