The Ruins in Talisay City – Built for the Romantics

We all deal and react differently when one is beset with a loss of a love one. Having our hearts torn by separation from someone we love deeply produces a sudden urge that unleashes a series of actions that bursts our inner rage into the world. In my case–I go with a few friends at Mogwai in Cubao X and just drink myself to half death. A son of a politician, after a fight with his celebrity girlfriend opted to fly to Hong Kong to have a a drug binge trip–well, we all knew how that one turned out.

Beautiful Mansions in the Philippines

For Don Mariano Lacson, the feeling of despair brought upon the untimely passing of his beloved wife, Maria Braga–a Portuguese lady he met in Hongkong–was so overwhelming that he ended up building a mansion in the center of his vast sugar plantation in Talisay City, Negros, in honor of her memory.

Cheska Lacson

That gesture bridled by love and misery remains alive up to this day courtesy of the beautiful state of its ruined structure. A tower might crumble and rot in time but not this mansion Don Mariano built. The house' skeletal remains has not diminished its glory, rather it brought forth a more interesting aspect to it and has attracted curiosity among both history and romance lovers. FYI: I am more of a history lover than bullshit tales of romance Hah!

My friend Dee, accompanied me to The Ruins and from Bacolod City, we took a short jeepney ride and then a tricycle through a residential area in Octagon Village in Brgy. Bata. This neo-Romanesque mansion became the resident of the lonely sugar baron, Don Mariano and his children. Not long after, it became a popular place in Talisay City as the site of numerous social occasions attended by the who's who of that time. Imagine a party held on the spacious garden beside the mansion with guests sipping wines dressed in early 1900's fashion and little kids frolicking around with maids and butlers secretly romancing by the fountain.

Isabelle Valderama

Life was so good back then I would imagine the emptiness Don Mariano felt somehow diminished just by setting refuge  in this 900-square meter house that stands 2 storeys high. Highlighted by its strong structures, a grand staircase and wide windows, I picture Don Mariano sitting by the window smoking a pipe watching as the ships sails pass and disappears over the Talisay coastline.

The Mansion met its demise in early World War II as the Filipinos and American troops were forced into retreat by the advancing Japanese Imperial Army. The Americans wary that the mansion will be transformed into a headquarters by the Japanese, burned down the mansion to avoid it being used as a strategic base of Japanese operation in Negros.

We went during a cloudy mid-afternoon making it impossible for me to get a good looking sky to complement as background for this scenic mansion ruin. Nevertheless, the absence of a blue sky proved symbolic to this ruin as it may lack its original fervor and spirit nowadays but its story remains forever. As to its origin and history serves as an inspiring tale for the romantics in all of us.

Eileen Campos

Here is a photograph of me - taken by my friend Dee, while I try hard to make my own impersonation of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. - just like the sugar baron, I'm still waiting for my Dona Maria Braga.