When someone tells me that they are going to Bacolod, the first thing out of my mouth is, "You have got to visit The Ruins!"
When I was a, I remember going to Bacolod one summer to visit family and passing fields of sugarcane. There was this one huge lot where a rundown mansion stood. Being adventurous, my cousin and I decided to investigate and see this rundown mansion. We would play in the fields and dare each other to get inside the mansion. I would hear my parents and relatives talk about the mansion saying, “Sayang naman. Sana it could be fixed one day.” (How sad. I hope it could be fixed one day.)
Years later, when I visited Bacolod again, this rundown mansion was already being called The Ruins. Weddings were being held there. Tourists would include it in their itinerary. People from all over were talking about it. And the mansion was gaining awards.
The Love Story
Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, a sugar baron, would travel to Hong Kong a lot. During one of those trips, he met Maria Braga, a Portuguese from Macau. He courted her, married her and brought her to Talisay, Bacolod. She bore him ten children until she was pregnant with the eleventh child but slipped, fell and started to bleed out. This happened in 1911 when it would take days for a doctor to travel from Talisay to Silay, the town where the doctor lived. By the time the doctor arrived, Maria Braga and child were dead.
Out of depression and love, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson built The Ruins as a tribute to his wife, Maria Braga. The house that was built turned out to be a two story mansion inspired by Italian architecture. Many items such as machuca tiles, chandeliers and even China wares were brought into Talisay from Europe and China.
The walls and posts of the house are a mixture of concrete and egg whites resulting in a marble like finish. Another interesting item on the walls and posts are the two Ms facing each other on the walls of the house. This stands for Mariano and Maria.
How It Became The Ruins
The Ruins is called as such because during World War II, it was burned down to prevent the Japanese forces from using it as their headquarters. It took three days for the fire to burn down the roof, ceiling, floors, doors and windows. After the fire, the grand staircase, the pillars of the mansion and some parts of the second floor remained.
Now, The Ruins is a popular tourist destination of Negros Occidental. It has been called the Taj Mahal of Negros. But don’t just read about it. Go see for yourself the beauty of The Ruins.
Note: Personally, the best time to visit The Ruins would be late afternoon when the sun is going down.