The Ruins or the The Taj Mahal of Negros, yes you heard it right the counterpart of the Taj Mahal of India. Too many people raise their eyebrows when they heard about it, me myself wonder why so. From the way you look at it is far different from the Taj Mahal of India.
It was time for our tour and our tour guide show us the place while telling us the love story of Don Mariano and Maria the couple who owned the mansion and the reason behind why the place was known as The Taj Mahal of Negros.
The mansion is located between the borders of Talisay and Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. The mansion owned by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, who visited Hong Kong often along with his friends during his younger years. On his visit to Hong Kong, the sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson met a beautiful young Portuguese woman from Macau by the name of Maria Braga. He fell in love with this beautiful lass and eventually the two felt in love with each other and got married.
The couple lived in Talisay and started their own family, blessed with 10 children and two of them became government officials. However, when Maria was pregnant with their 11th child, she slipped in the bathroom and started to bleed. The transportation during those years was a horse-drawn carriage from Talisay to the town of Silay, where a doctor lived and it would take two days before the doctor could reached the mansion.
So by the time the doctor arrived at the Mansion on the fourth day, Maria and her baby were already dead. Don Mariano was so depressed during this time. Saddened by Maria’s death and his undying love for his wife, he then planned of building a mansion in honour of his wife and his unwavering love for her. He told his idea to his father-in law and he agreed and even went as far as supporting him the best way that he could.
Don Mariano’s father-in law was a captain of his ship during that time so many of the items in building the mansion was imported from Europe and China, ranging from machuca tiles, chandeliers and china wares carted to Talisay. His father in-law even brought construction workers from China to help build the mansion.
It took three years constructing the mansion. The finishing touches on the walls and posts were a mixture of pure concrete with egg whites, resulting in a marble-like finish which can be seen and felt even to this day.
In 1911, the mansion was the largest residential structure ever built in the area. Built on a 440-hectare farm. When World War II broke out, Don Mariano and his unmarried children left the mansion leaving everything behind.
When the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines came to the area, there were some rumours that the Japanese forces might have used the mansion as it headquarters. To prevent it from becoming such, Don Mariano asked the Filipino guerrilla fighters in Negros to burn his mansion.
It took three days of burning of the mansion to consume all the roof, ceiling, floors, doors and windows – all of which were made of hard wood. When the flames finally died down, only the following withstood the fire: the pillars of the mansion, the grand staircase and parts of the two-inch wooden floors on the second storey. For many years, the remains of the mansion were abandoned in the midst of sugar plantations. Until the owners decided to fix it and put a landscape around the ruins.
Today The Ruins are a historical landmark, open to public since January 2008.
Now, The Ruins has a Mediterranean restaurant that operates from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Ruins has a souvenir shop and an 18-hole Mini-Golf course where you can have fun recreation activity with your friends and or family.
A great love story with a not -so- happy ending and a mansion built by romance and love once filled with beautiful memories before it became into a ruins.
HOW TO GET THERE:
If you are coming from Bacolod-Silay Airport and plant to visit The Ruins, just tell the taxi to pass by The Ruins. If you are from Bacolod or nearby town, you can ride in a tricycle at the North Ceres Terminal. Fare from the North Ceres Terminal to The Ruins is PHP50.00 per head.
The Ruins is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m from Monday through Sunday including holidays.
All of the photos were taken by myself.