Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Ruins

Last month my wife and I, together with her parents and sisters, drove to Bacolod. Her sisters are going to med school in Ilo-ilo. Before heading back to Dumaguete, we decided to visit a historical landmark of Silay called, The Ruins -- a mansion acclaimed as one of the 12 most fascinating ruins of the world. And what's more fascinating than how it looks is it's history. The information below was taken from their brochure. You may want to checkout their gallery as well from their website.


Born to Lucio Lacson and Clara Ledesma in 1865, Mariano Lacson was the youngest of eight. One of his brothers was the revolutionary general, Aniceto.

The bachelor Mariano was an avid traveler even then. In one of his visits to Hong Kong, he met and fell in love with a Portuguese lady from Macau. Her name was Maria braga. The fairy tale romance culminated in marriage.

Mariano and Maria had 10 children. In 1911, while nearing the full term of her 11th pregnancy, Maria had an accident. Both mother and child were lost.
Heartbroken and inconsolable, Mariano decided to build a mansion in remembrance of Maria, right in the middle of his 440-hectare sugar plantation in Talisay City, Negros Occidental. It was in fact, designed to be a monument to their enduring love affair.

Maria's father, a ship captain, introduced European architectural influences into the design of the mansion, from the over-all Italianate inspiration to the shell details of the roof. The structure of the house was of solid concrete. Interior floors were dressed either in tiles imported from Spain or 20-meter-long hard wood planks that were cut a meter wide.

Until the eve of World War II, the mansion served as residence of Mariano and all of his unmarried children.

Mariano set the rule that as soon as his children married, they should leave the mansion. Mariano himself would abide by it, moving to a cottage nearby when he decided to remarry years later.

The bombs of the world war eventually fell. As dictated by the exigencies of the time, the United States Armed Forces in the Far East, or USAFFE, recruited guerilla soldiers and instructed them to burn down structures that might be used as headquarters by the Japanese.

Eyewitnesses recount, the mansion of Mariano Lacson smoldered continuously for three days, but the fire would not consume all of it, leaving behind reminders of a glorious past, and the lovers' two initials, this time as if seared and branded on every post of the house.

In 1948, Mariano Lacson died, his monument to love in irreparable ruins.

The RUINS was opened to the public in January 2008 by Mariano Lacson's great grandson, Raymund Javellana. The mansion has been acclaimed as one of the 12 most fascinating Ruins of the world.

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