Negros OccidentalTravel

Visiting The Ruins: The Taj Mahal of Negros

Visiting Bacolod or Negros Occidental wouldn’t be complete without visiting the iconic structure called “The Ruins”. Being dubbed as the “Taj Mahal” of Negros, this beautiful structure is a result of the undying love of a rich sugar baron for his wife who died before giving birth to their 11th child. The Ruins is located in Talisay City just few minutes away from Bacolod City and unquestionably one of the must-see place when visiting the province.

Taj Mahal of Negros

Portrait of Don Mariano Lacson and wife Maria Braga Lacson

Don Mariano Lacson was a sugar baron who came from a rich and known family in Negros. On one of his travels abroad he met this Portuguese lady named Maria Braga who eventually became his wife. They were given ten children and before giving birth to their 11th child, Maria had an accident that caused her death. Out of his lasting love and longing for his wife, Don Mariano decided to build a mansion located on his 440-hectare plantation. The mansion was built in 1920 and was considered as the “Taj Mahal” of the province of Negros.

Knowing The Ruins

It was 1920 when the mansion was built for Don Mariano and his children to live in. It’s made of cement and egg white as finishing. The walls and pillars are articulately designed making it undeniably a sight to see. The fully built mansion was burned in 1945 by the Filipino guerillas as they disagree to make the mansion as a military headquarters of the Japanese soldiers. They burned the grand abode for 3 days but due to the high-quality materials used for the structure it was not totally burned and its framework is still intact and still standing beautifully up until today.

The Ruins is now being managed by Don Mariano’s great grandson, Mr. Raymund Javellana. It is now open to the public since 2008.

Getting Around The Ruins

The ruins is open every day from 8am-8pm with an entrance fee of P100 for adults, P70 for PWD or senior citizens and P60 for students with valid IDs. Upon paying the entrance fee you have to walk a few meters to reach the hidden mansion and I can say that every corner of the ruins reminds you of its colorful and endearing past. The concrete framework stands gorgeously on a garden and blue skies as its background. I must say that it is best to visit it during the late afternoon so you can wait until it lights up through the dark night.

Playing around on its every corner and pillars will give you various photo ideas. Walking inside, though empty, will still make you feel walking in the past. There are also available local guides on the vicinity that will tell stories about the mansion’s interesting history. Their guides are naturally funny and can crack jokes anytime making your visit worthwhile.

What it looks like inside the ruins
A local guide tours around guests

Your visit wouldn’t be complete without taking a photo outside the ruins, standing on the garden and having the grand concrete framework as your background. Just be patient having a good picture as there might be a lot of extra people on your background.

The Ruins lodges as well a restaurant which is for me the highlight of our stay on the place. After a tiring hour of taking pictures, we decided to eat on their restaurant to kill time while waiting for the sun to set. While enjoying a meal, there is this local singer that sings live on your scene and his voice is one of the most romantic voices I’ve ever heard. Hearing a piece of sweet live music on an open air while staring at the lit up ruins is one of the most romantic and most chill nights you could ever spend.

Facade of The Ruins during the night

More photos we took during our stay:

How to go to The Ruins?

From Bacolod City (Along Lacson St.), ride a Bata-Libertad signed jeepney. Fare will be P9.00 each. Asked the driver to drop you off on the tricycle terminal near Pepsi Cola plant. Upon reaching the terminal, charter a tricycle that will take you directly to The Ruins. Fare will be P50.00 per person.