Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Ruins in Talisay City, Negros Occidental

The Ruins of Talisay is now what remains of the magnificent 903 square meter Italianate architecture with neo-Romanesque columns. The Ruins (before it was ruined) closely resemble New York's Carnegie Hall.

The mansion, built in the middle of a sprawling sugarcane plantation, was the largest residential structure built during its time. It is home to sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson and his Portuguese wife, Maria Braga in the early 1900's.

Maria's father, a ship captain, brought with him the finest furniture, chinawares, and other decorative pieces from all over Europe and Asia. An imported, four-tiered fountain still adorns the Ruins' grounds to this day.

During the World War II, the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) burned the mansion to ruins to thwart Japanese invasion of the mansion with a view to making it as their headquarters. The fire lasted for two days until it finally brought down the roof and the two-inch thick wooden floors.

The main structure still stands to this day, thanks to one of Mariano's son's close supervision of strictly following the grade A mixture of the cement.

With the roof and wooden flooring all gone, it looks up into the open heaven, its grand staircase that was long stripped of its wooden covering seemingly leading to an imaginary second floor where you can almost hear soft elegant music reminiscent of the grand parties the mansion used to hold. And the ghosts of the past seem to be almost visible as they gracefully float in the silver screen of reconstructed memories (never mind that ghostly image in the digitally altered photograph, it's just me terribly frightened not by the thought of seeing the ghosts of christmas past but by the sheer height and nothingness beyond those stairs -- it's supposed to be off limits!).

Having an excellent view of the Talisay sunset, the Ruins is a picture-perfect backdrop for wedding pictorials and other theme pictorials. The historic mansion has a picnic grove a few meters away.

The Ruins is just some 15 minutes' drive from Bacolod City and by private transport. Public transport is a bumpy tricycle ride from Talisay highway and amid vast acres of sugarcane fields.

Another less turbulent (and perhaps safer) route is via Barangay Bata through Bangga Rose Lawns (memorial park), passing through Goldcrest Subdivision.

Conspicuous signs and festive flags have been posted at both routes that lead the way to the Ruins of Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

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