The Ruins of Talisay City: The ‘Taj Mahal of the Philippines’

There is beauty in the ruins of this famous Negros Occidental landmark.

By Rhea J. Bernardino
November 08, 2016

There may be more heritage houses in Silay City, Negros Occidental, than anywhere else in the country, but the most recognizable in the province can be found in the neighboring city of Talisay.

Within the grounds of a palatial garden stands The Ruins—a skeletal foundation of a stately mansion built in the 1920s. Even if all that is left of the once magnificent structure is the foundation, the mansion remains a spellbinding sight for all who visit. Beyond its intricate Italianate architecture, it is also visited for its captivating and romantic history.

A testament of true love
The Ruins was built by a sugar baron named Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, in honor of his Portuguese wife, Maria Braga. This is the reason why The Ruins is referred to by many as the "Taj Mahal of the Philippines."

Mariano and Maria had 10 children, and while she was pregnant with their 11th child, she accidentally slipped on the bathroom floor and bled. Medical help failed to arrive on time, and Maria and her baby died.

After his beloved wife's death, Mariano decided to build a house for their children in her memory. He consulted his father-in-law who gave him full support. Soon, the mansion was built and stood in the area in all its glory.

Two "M"s were carved on every exterior post in the house, which stand for "Mariano" and "Maria". Their children lived in the mansion until it was burned in World War II by American and Filipino soldiers to prevent the Japanese from using it as their headquarters.

A jaw-dropping sight
The Ruins is always a sight to behold, but those who have been there know that dusk is the best time to see it. Its cement walls are mixed with egg whites, making them “glow” when illuminated by the setting sun.

Aside from The Ruins itself, there are lots to see in the compound: The large fountain just outside of the mansion is also iconic as well as the bustling garden. There is also a mini golf, a restaurant, and a few stores within the mansion.

How to get there
Taking a cab is the quickest and most convenient way to get to The Ruins from Bacolod-Silay International Airport or Bacolod City itself. Travel time is only 20 minutes or less. Be prepared to pay a PHP 100.00 entrance fee.