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The Ruins: The Taj Mahal of the Philippines

Faith is a traveler, trader, investor, and entrepreneur. A Business Administration, Virtual Assistant, and SMM specialist.

The mansion, built by a sugar baron for his baroness, offers much more than its neo-Romanesque pillars and breathtaking beauty.

The mansion, built by a sugar baron for his baroness, offers much more than its neo-Romanesque pillars and breathtaking beauty.

The Ruins—a World-Famous Structure

Bacolod City, Philippines, nicknamed the "city of smiles," is one of the most fascinating cities I've ever seen. One of the most popular destinations in the city is The Ruins, constructed in the early 1900s. It's sometimes referred to as the "Taj Mahal of Negros" or the "Taj Mahal of the Philippines" because of its lovely and tragic history—and well, its grandeur is somewhat comparable to the Taj Mahal!

Upon my first time visiting the Visayas Islands, my first destination was to see the heritage houses in Silay City, Negros Occidental. It is located on the outskirts of Talisay and Bacolod City. If you're going to Bacolod City, this should be on your itinerary.

Negros' Taj Mahal is a luxurious early 20th-century home. It's soothing and romantic, especially when the lighting is its most pristine (around sunset). I thought it was spectacular, especially because I came in the morning and had to wait until night to view the best lighting. I remember overhearing tourists discussing the lighting hitting the 440 hectares of gorgeous residences. It's worth waiting until later at night; it's such an incredible experience. It's most excellent for individuals seeking a prenuptial photoshoot as well as a wedding venue.

The story of this edifice started when the wealthy sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson met Maria Braga, a Portuguese lady from Macau, in one of his travels. He fell in love with her so quickly.

The story of this edifice started when the wealthy sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson met Maria Braga, a Portuguese lady from Macau, in one of his travels. He fell in love with her so quickly.

During WWII, Filipino guerrillas and American colonial rulers set fire to the mansion to prevent invading Japanese soldiers from utilizing it as a military headquarters. The three-day fire destroyed the edifice, leaving only an empty cement shell.

During WWII, Filipino guerrillas and American colonial rulers set fire to the mansion to prevent invading Japanese soldiers from utilizing it as a military headquarters. The three-day fire destroyed the edifice, leaving only an empty cement shell.

It was built in the loving memory of a sugar baron's wife. Mariano and Maria Braga were the parents of enormous families. Maria, however, fell into their bathroom following the delivery of their 11th child, causing her to bleed profusely. Mariano asked his horsemen to bring her a doctor because she was too ill to travel. However, Maria and the baby died before the doctor arrived. It was meant to be a tribute to Don Mariano's late first wife.

— According to historical evidence

History of The Ruins

The rich sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson met Maria Braga, a Portuguese lady from Macau, on one of his trips and thus the story of this edifice began. He fell in love with her immediately and it didn't take long for him to propose getting married.

The two then got married and settled in Lacson's ancestral house situated on a 440-hectare plantation in Talisay. Their love resulted in the birth of ten children. In honor of his wife, he built the mansion. Lacson's house has a total of ten bedrooms. It is one of the most well-known heritage sites in the country.

During WWII, Filipino guerrillas and American colonial masters destroyed the mansion to prevent invading Japanese soldiers from using it as a military office. The three-day explosion reduced the structure to its current state—it's essentially an empty cement shell. It is claimed the structure burned for three days until only the facade, floors, and columns remained.

Purpose of The Ruins

It was designed by an Italian architect and, eventually, became known as the Taj Mahal of Negros. It is privately held today by the great-grandchildren of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson and Cora Maria Osorio Rosa-Braga.

It is open to the public and can be visited for a fee or booked for events. The Ruins have become a tourist attraction not only because of its history but also because of its natural beauty that's ideal for photographing. It's still in the private hands of the couple's ancestors who have kept it in its ruined form, despite being in the midst of operational farming. The front is attractive, and includes a restaurant and a large planted garden.

Getting to The Ruins

There are a few ways you can get to The Ruins.

Using Public Transportation

  • Take the "BATA" jeepney from the downtown center of Bacolod (prepare 10 to 15 pesos)
  • Request that the driver drops you off at BANGGA ROSE LAWN.
  • Take a tricycle to The Ruins (prepare 10-30 pesos)

Using the Airport in Bacolod-Silay

  • You can take a shuttle bus (150 pesos) and request that the driver drop you off at Bangga Rose Lawn.
  • Take a tricycle to The Ruins (prepare 10-30 pesos)

NOTE: If you are alone, the tricycle price to the ruins is about 30 pesos.
If you share a tricycle with others, the fare is reduced to 10 pesos.

Fee for Admission

  • Adults pay 100 pesos
  • Students pay 50 pesos (Make sure to bring your school I.D.!)

Hours

  • The Ruins are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday. until 8 p.m. The entrance fee is only 100 pesos.
When you know the history of what transpired, you might feel both tragic and amazed at this spot. Overall, it's great how they've tried to maintain the remains while also adding some structure to make it more appealing to visitors.

When you know the history of what transpired, you might feel both tragic and amazed at this spot. Overall, it's great how they've tried to maintain the remains while also adding some structure to make it more appealing to visitors.

It is privately owned by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson and Cora Maria Osorio Rosa-great-grandchildren. They've kept it in its damaged state, surrounded by working farms, as a tourist attraction that may be visited for a fee or booked for events.

It is privately owned by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson and Cora Maria Osorio Rosa-great-grandchildren. They've kept it in its damaged state, surrounded by working farms, as a tourist attraction that may be visited for a fee or booked for events.

© 2022 Faith Nacario

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