The Ruins at Talisay City: Death, Betrayal, Love and the Branding

A trip to The Ruins at Talisay City in Negros Occidental is a trip back to the past that speaks of war, death, betrayal and love. Interesting destination brand! We wanted to learn how this branding turned this wreck into a tourist magnet and to take photos in unfamiliar perspectives. 

Thanks to the fading tangerine sun
But we learned more stories as interesting as the love affair of Don Mariano Lacson, the Haciendero and original owner of the most prominent structure in the area at that time, and his Portuguese wife the beautiful Maria Braga. 

view from the top of the side entrance of the mansion

We were speeding more than 100 kilometers per hour from Bacolod City in an attempt to reach the mansion just in time for sunset! Sunset, sunset, sunset! The golden hour will not last for an hour if we arrive late.

“There’s the real “ruins” if you really wanted to see one”, said Sir Gil, a local journalist who joined us in the tour, pointing to the roadside shanties and the areas he called "slums". He would tell short stories of the disparity of the rich and the poor and enduring social issues in the province in that short trip.

We held our breath for more than 30 minutes until we reached the un-glamorous gate. As soon as we jumped out of the car we never let go of the shutter buttons of our respective cameras to exploit the remaining dimming light from the setting sun. 

Rainbow and the lights

Alas! A rainbow even graced my frame after a light drizzle.

Exploring the building to see the interiors with intricate designs and proudly standing pillars are moments of romance in a way. The prominence of the burnt structure was made even more surreal under the tangerine sunset.

The sun went off. The synthetic lights of different colors from different corners emphasized the shape of the building. But, Oops! Why red and green and blue in a structure sold to tourists for its being old, historical and as a romantic tribute?

Classic music reminiscent of the black and white movies and pre-war stories played all the time. The music played as if inviting for a silent time for a coffee and to mentally picture the romance that built this mansion.
Lucky to have captured the rainbow 

Of History, Love and Betrayal
The Ruins was a mansion that stood in silence in the middle of the plantation during the Japanese occupation. It was a tribute of Don Mariano to Maria after the latter passed away in 1911 due to miscarriage. Maria left her beloved with 10 children and the mansion was built to accommodate the well-off family.

The second heartbreak for Don Mariano was the burning of his romantic tribute to Maria. The Filipino Guerillas advised the burning of house to keep the Japanese from finding a place they could use as military headquarters. The owner had no choice but to leave the mansion with his family.

How did the Japanese raiders find out about the mansion despite it being hidden in the middle of nowhere? Their Filipino gardener turned out to be a spy working for the Japanese army.

The mansion was burning for three days leaving only the framework that is now revered as an architectural wonder and a timeless tribute to a love affair that ended too early.

Thanks to the in-house tour guides that bring this story to life.   

Don Mariano and his beloved Maria

Funny Roger
We met Roger, the tour guide who’s having a stint at Youtube for his funny antics while guiding a group of curious visitors. He told us more about The Ruins. 

The estate’s promotion is now run by Don Mariano’s grandson, Raymund Javellana, after learning from Europe of ways to package the ruins into a tourist attraction. 

The estate never closes, he said. Ows, So you welcome visitors arriving even at midnight? I asked. “No Sir, You see The Ruins was never renovated and it has no doors. How can we close it?”, said the witty guide who considers the property as his second home. No wonder the funny tour video of him got more than 100,000 views as of this writing.

Roger, the funny and witty guide
Roger came from a poor family living in a town far from Talisay City. He now lives in the compound owned by the heirs of Don Mariano. 

The “history and romance” brand is indeed selling as evident to the number of tourists flocking inside the compound surrounded by vast 440 hectare of sugarcane plantation. 

We had enough photos. We left in silence. But on our way back to Bacolod city Sir Gil tried to take our eyes to the city  “ruins” in his point of view. 

"Look at the streets of Talisay and Bacolod City, dark and some parts are dimly-lit. Malls’ parking areas are also dark if not almost empty. I don’t know what that speaks of a city. That’s the sign of ruins", he quipped. []


Entrance Fees to The Ruins:
Adult: 60
Students: 40
Children: 20

For more infos on The Ruins and how to get there, please visit their promotional website at

Special thanks to Ms. Jennylind Cordero, Negros Occidental’s jolly and pretty tourism Officer.
Thanks to sir Butch, Sir Onyok and Sir Gil for the company.


  1. Wow. This place is a must-visit! :D

    1. for the lovers of "legend-type" of stories, it is indeed a must-visit. The whole Negros Occ is also amazing.
      Thanks for dropping by, Debbie.

  2. Nice blog. Your narrative and photography made my mouth to drool. As a newbie in the business of blogging, I have a lot to learn from experienced ones. Good job.

    1. thanks for dropping by. i'm also learning the tricks of the trade myself as a newbie. thank you.cheers!


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