Monday, July 29, 2013

The Ruins through the eyes of a Barrio Girl

This barrio girl had a chance to mix a bit of pleasure in a business trip to Bacolod City over the weekend. With a window of exactly one hour before the sun sets, we head to the city's famous ruins.
The Ruins, remnants of a war and testament of a love affair transcending the test of time. 

I am fascinated by ruins. My first encounter was of the Ruins of St Paul in Macau. Seeing ruins' transport me back in time. The Ruins of St. Paul is grand and in a way breathtaking. But only the facade has survived.
The Ruins of St. Paul is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Unlike this. The whole structure is intact including the stairs leading to the second floor. It's as if the inside was scooped out and what remained was the foundation and the beautiful details surrounding it.

This grand house is nestled in the midst of a sugar cane plantation. Naturally, as it was built by a sugar baron, Don Mariano Lacson as a memorial for his wife, Maria Braga. 
On the eve of the WW II in 1942, the mansion was burned so that the Japanese will not occupy it. The fire razed for three days.
I imagine that back in the 1900s, the city did not have subdivided villages yet so the drive to the mansion would be through a gravel road in between endless hectares of sugar cane. Today though you have pass through two small villages, pay toll twice before you get to the small and narrow driveway of the mansion. Here, you pay P80 for admittance. Just a bit of caveat: the road can be tricky to navigate during the rainy season -- potholes and mud are ever present. Although, we've seen some parts being paved with cement already. 

The mansion is of Italianate architecture of the Renaissance Era. It has a belvedere which offers a commanding view of the garden and the surrounding plantation. 


I think part and parcel of the mansion's charm is the generous lawn. I fantasize of a social gathering of the who's who at the time with lively music serenading the guests milling around the vast lawn. 

Towards the west side is a beautiful fountain.

Lounge chairs for afternoon siesta?
I think due to the number of people curious to experience this monument of love, the estate managers have added a cafe. I think it's a little out of place. If only, they built it in such a fashion that it seamlessly acquired the charm of the main attraction, it would have been far lovelier. 

Permitting time at the time of your visit, it would be really nice to take your time to stroll around the garden. 
Of course, we did not leave without my requisite jump shot. Taught my colleagues a trick to get a good jump. Now, if only Ronald's (colleague cum designated photog) hands were not shaking :-)
We had a great time in The Ruins. One should not leave Bacolod without paying homage. One of these days, I will come back and check out the other architectural wonder of this rich province -- Balay Negrense. 

How to get to The Ruins: 
If you're coming from Bacolod City, take a jeepney that is going to Bata. Get off at the Pepsi Bottling Plant. Beside it is a tricycle terminal that will take you there.



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