Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Ruins of Talisay: a Story of Love

As promised, here it is--- my second visit to The Ruins, this time, with my family. May 11, 2017.
A panoramic view of the facade of the Ruins, the Taj Mahal of Negros
Located at Hacienda Sta. Maria, Talisay City, The Ruins is just 10.7 kms. (12 minutes) away from the new Bacolod-Silay International Airport. 

Several meters away from the place, we were fortunate to see a rainbow on the horizon. 
Zoom in to take a closer look at the photo below. 
There it is! What a pleasant welcome! 

Oh, we’re here! 
"Welcome to the Taj Mahal of Negros", says Roger Lucero, the famous, the funny and 
the best tourist guide of the mansion endowed with a great dose of humor. 
Roger untiringly tells the history of The Ruins to groups of tourists 
who come batch after batch to savor the grandeur of the place.
The guestbook. Glad to be here. Garden Chef, too!

Oh, let’s pose here for a while...
Hmmm... does it look like we're rocking the chair?
Now, we’re ready for the mansion tour. 
If you haven’t been in this place yet, come and I... I mean, Roger or the other tourist guide will usher you around.

Do you see the portraits on the wall? Those are sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson and the love of his life--- Maria Braga, his Portuguese wife from Macau whom he met in Hongkong in one of his travels. Theirs is the tragic Filipino love story that Roger has repeatedly told to who knows how many people? 

The mansion was built in memory of Maria who died of severe bleeding after she slipped in the bathroom. Maria was pregnant with their 11th child when she died. 

After the death of Maria, Don Mariano sought the help of his father-in-law to build a mansion in honor of his wife. Felipe, the 6th son of Mariano was tasked to supervise the execution of the design using A-grade mixture of concrete. To build the walls and posts, egg whites were mixed with the cement, giving them a glossy and shiny marble-like finish. Utmost care was taken in constructing the mansion. It had to be done continuously 24/7, ensuring a compact structure without air entrapment during the process of mixing and pouring. 

The mansion became the residence of Don Mariano and his unmarried children. It was set on fire  during World War 2, by the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), guerilla fighters during the Japanese occupation, to prevent its use as headquarters by the Japanese. The fire that lasted for three days burned the roof and the wooden floors reducing it to its skeletal frame but the sturdy marble-smooth finished walls serving as foundation remained standing. This is why it’s also called gem from the ashes.

After the fire, this is what remained of the grand mansion that Don Mariano Lacson built in honor of his first wife, Maria Braga. The Ruins--- a 903-meter skeletal structure standing tall and proud, is now owned by Raymund Javellana, grandson of Mariano's 3rd child, Mercedes. 

We deliberately planned the time of our visit to the place as I wanted to witness the sunset. As I wrote in my previous post, the best time, they say, is during the setting of the sun, so we programmed our itinerary to be there by 4:00 pm so we could just wait for the appointed time.

Seated strategically facing the window, I waited patiently to get a perfect view of the sunset. 

Sad to say, we didn't get to witness the most awaited scene.
The sun was very elusive that day. It hid itself beneath the clouds.
Quite disappointed, I had ambivalence leaving the place, but glad to have spent some time to relax.

Here are more of what's inside---

Mariano and Maria... M and M. Written sideways facing each other, their initials are molded on every post of the mansion. 

The flooring used in the mansion, as I read on the info board, were long-span 2-inch thick hard wood running from the main entrance facing the fountain all the way to the end of the dining room, with no joints. They were about a meter wide and were approximately 20.5 meters long. They initially poured three drums of gasoline to ignite the floors of the mansion but nothing happened. Then, they mixed two drums of gasoline with four drums of used oil and poured the mixture unto the floors of the mansion that burned for three days, consuming all the floors, ceiling and roof. 
These flooring we were stepping on must be the reconstructed version.
The main entrance facing the 4-tiered fountain

The corridor passage leading to the end of the dining room
The info board has this to say about the veranda lighting. There are no wires exposed leading to the veranda ceiling lights because the original pipes used to channel the electric wire embedded in the ceiling are the same ones used today. There are rings beside the ceiling lights which used to hold the chains of the chandeliers. 

The Simborio (chimney) and 4-tiered fountain outside the mansion. 
Perfect backdrop for photo ops. See the photo below.
We had more than enough time exploring the grounds outside the mansion. 
Time for me-pose


family poses
The Sisons, three at a time. No tripod eh?! 

And finally--- a family selfie. Success! 
With the famous heritage landmark at the background.

An afternoon well-spent, it was indeed!

Click here to see more of the Ruins.
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The Ruins of Talisay: Taj Mahal of Negros

Last year, Ayana Grace, my eldest daughter, had an opportunity of going on a business trip to India. When she came back she posted very nice shots of the Taj Mahal with stories on how she took efforts at visiting the place— Agra, Uttar Pradesh in India. A white marble mausoleum, the Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Japan in memory of his 3rd wife. I envy her for having visited the place, being one of the wonders of the world.

Well, this post is not about the Taj Mahal of India. As the title says, I'm featuring The Ruins of Talisay, the counterpart of Taj Mahal in Negros Occidental. Late post, this is... 

I got to see this beautiful attraction for the first time in the pilot episode of the teleserye (television soap opera) entitled, "Ikaw Lamang", where the scenes were shot in Talisay, Negros Occidental. It was an amazing surprise for me to know that such a beautiful attraction existed in my very own province! I only came to know about this, years after it has been opened to the public in January 2008.  A former high school classmate shared the information in a Facebook comment he made after I posted a stanza of the lyrics of "Iliili," a famous Ilonggo lullaby, which was featured during the introductory episode of the teleserye. From then on, I dreamed of seeing the place. 

Well, my dream has finally turned into reality as I was blessed to see this historical grandeur twice. It's been three years since my first visit on the 17th of August 2016 with colleagues at work doing site visit of government hospitals in the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod. Here are photos of The Ruins on my first visit. 

Since we were on a business trip, we hurriedly took a side trip to see the place before the setting of the sun. As they say, one gets a beautiful view of a sunset from the window of the mansion. But we were not very fortunate to catch that picturesque view. The sun was hidden by the clouds and it was fast getting dark.
 We had to content ourselves with just taking shots of the mansion from different angles the moment we laid foot at its entrance.
Mesmerized by the structure from the side, everybody gradually advanced towards the front, while continuously clicking their cam.
 Here's the front view of the mansion. 
Me with the mansion at the background, of course!
How could I pass the chance. 
Outside, one can stroll around to relax.
Photo ops by the bridge

A wishing well?

The bell and the well
Behind the bell is a souvenir shop where one can buy pastries and other delicacies as pasalubong.
For the finale, here's my Instagrammable shot of the mansion, glowing in the dark.
I was so glad we stayed on to capture this magical view of the mansion with its lights on! Seeing this, I silently prayed I could come back another day with my own family.

It was getting dark and we had yet to take a tour inside. This I will feature in a separate post.

Click here and see you there!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Tofu Dishes: Fried Tofu with Kangkong and Dulong

Tofu again? Yes, tofu again! Why not? There’s still 250 grams left in the ref. Good for one meal. (I posted a tofu dish I tried recently. Click here to view.)

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Paella Mia

Two weeks ago, our family grabbed a promo for a staycation to celebrate in advance the birthday of Ayana Grace. It was a nice breather for me to enjoy an overnight out. We had lunch in a Spanish resto so we ordered paella. Well, I guess I craved for more that when we got back home, I still had in my mind a vivid picture of the paella.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tofu Dishes: Stir-fried Tofu with Polunchay

In my previous post, I featured a tokwa dish that many readers seem to like. If you are curious to read that post, you may click here