The Ruins: The Mansion of the Sugar Baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson
The Ruins (Balay Daco, Balay ni Anoy, Lacson Mansion, Mansyon, Palasyo, Santa Maria House, Simento nga Balay, Nuts Berry Garden) is the name popularly used to refer to the structure of what was left of the mansion of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson (1865-1948), a Spanish-Filipino sugar baron. Considered as one of the most fascinating ruins in the world, The Ruins is one of the popular tourist attractions in Talisay City, Negros Occidental, Philippines.
I went here at around 2:20 p.m. on August 29, 2013. This was during my first time in Negros Occidental, the 24th province on my list.
Visiting The Ruins requires an entrance fee. For adults Php 60, students and senior citizens with valid I.D. Php 40, while student groups or children below eight years old Php 20.
The Ruins of the mansion is of Italianate architecture with neo-Romanesque columns. It is believed that the father of Maria Braga, who was a captain of his own ship, had much influence in the design and architecture of the mansion. It was built after the death of Maria Braga in 1911 and became the residence of their unmarried children. It was the largest residential structure ever built at that time. The Ruins met its sad fate in the early part of World War II in 1942 when the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), then guerrilla fighters, burnt the mansion for three days to prevent the Japanese forces from utilizing it as their headquarters or garrison. Despite the inferno that it underwent, bringing down the roof and the solid wooden floors, The Ruins has withstood the ravages of time mainly due to the oversize steel bars and concrete used in its construction.
At the front of the property is a vast yard where there is a huge water fountain and different colored flowers. At the side of the property is a grotto, cafe, pizzeria, and a souvenir shop. At the back of the property there is a mini golf and chess area.
The Veranda Lighting
Notice that there are no wires exposed leading to the veranda ceiling lights. This is so because the original pipes used to channel the electric wires imbedded in the ceiling, are the same ones used today. Note the rings beside the ceiling lights which used to hold the chains of the chandeliers.
The Rain Gutters & Down Spouts
The rain gutters at the top of the mansion are made of concrete and formed like canals. Rain water runs to the back portion of the mansion where two large down spouts leads the water to a steel pipe to the ground where all the water is collected and used for washing the residents clothes.
The room above is called a belverde. It is facing west and affords the family with a beautiful view of the sunset and the coastal waters of Talisay in a glassed-in sunroom with bay windows.
How to Go to the Ruins
Around 320nm away from Manila, the easiest way to go to The Ruins is by plane. From Bacolod-Silay International Airport, ride a tricycle going to downtown Silay (Php 10-15). From downtown Silay, ride a bus or jeepney going to Talisay, tell the driver to drop you off at Bata (Pepsi bottling plant). Walk around 600 meters, to your left, you will see a big sign that says “This way to The Ruins.” There are pedicabs and tricycles waiting there, fare as of August 2013 is Php 20-30. If going by private or hired vehicle, enter that narrow street leading to Rose Lawn Memorial Garden. Follow the small red and yellow signs on the electrical posts which will lead you all the way to The Ruis.
Nuts Berry Garden
Hacienda Santa Maria, Zone 15
Talisay City, Negros Occidental
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