More than six decades ago, amidst the vast sugarcane plantation in Negros Occidental, the Negrenses witnessed an unforgettable inferno. The most lavish home of this time, the mansion of exquisite Italianate architecture was burned down by the guerilla fighters of World War II.
Today, what are left of this 903-square meter palatial residence are the massive Neo-Romanesque columns and the stories of extravagant wealth, timeless love and painful wars. It stands as the mute witness of generations of political and economic power that holds the entire history of sugarlandia.
The rich sugar marquis of Negros, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, owns the mansion. He was born to the rich lineage of the supreme Lacsons who led the revolutions with the Aranetas and eventual surrender of the Spanish conquistadores in Negros. Married to Maria Braga, a daughter of equally rich Portuguese ship captain.
The grandiose home was built in dedication of his love for Maria who died pregnant of their 11th child after an accident. Built in the early 1900s, the mansion is inspired by 16thcentury Italian architecture. It had the most copious collections of the finest china and embellished with luxurious European decor. Floored with the best Philippine hardwood and rare coral stones and bricks. From its belvedere, the family would bask on the beauty of the screaming sunset that served as a wonderful backdrop to the water gently cascading from its tiered fountain.
The laughter of the nobles that used to echo in its massive home, the sprawling garden and the best furnishings all met its end when World War II broke out in 1942. The United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) intentionally burned the mansion down to prevent the invading Japanese from making it as their headquarters. Negros, in the early 1900s was the insular government of America and the province’s liberation from the Japanese was due to its allied forces.
All that remained of the famous residence of the sugar nobilities are its solid columns and the memories of lavish living. Today, its ruins are listed as one of the best 12 ruins of the world. The heirs of the Lacsons have opened the doors of this precious heritage to the public as a remembrance of history to marvel.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Bacolod City
It is approximately 6 kilometers from downtown Bacolod City
Head to the road that leads to Talisay City (airport way).
Upon reaching the Pepsi-Cola plant in Brgy. Bata, turn right.
Approximately 600 meters from the highway is a narrow road to the left that leads to Rose Lawn Memorial Park.
Follow the road in the middle of the wide sugarcane plantation, until you reach The Ruins.
The Ruins is open daily from 8:30AM until 8:00PM. A minimal entrance fee is required to gain entry. It has a café and restaurant serving refreshments to its visitors. The Ruins is also available to accommodate garden-themed weddings and parties.
Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors.
I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more