The Ruins Bacolod Guide (w/ Pictures): History, Mystery and Beauty 2018

The Ruins Bacolod: 2018 Guide

Everytime I have visitors in Bacolod City, one of the places they would want to visit is The Ruins Mansion. 

The Ruins in Bacolod is a place where time holds its breath and where the ancient shines its ruin-proof splendor; where locals are dubbed as sweet and tourists flock in heaps or in few.

This mansion is one of the most iconic tourist destinations within Metro Bacolod. It is dubbed as the “Taj Mahal of Negros” and “Taj Mahal of the Philippines.” Its distance is within the reasonable radius from the City of Smiles, and there’s definitely no reason for you to skip it during your visit. To appreciate The Ruins, I think it’s best if you got to first have an intro of the history of my province which I wrote below.

 

When you visit The Ruins Mansion, you are visiting the picturesque dimension of the past- taking a step back through time and space- like entering a time capsule which allows you to touch and see a structure that stood the tests of time. So here’s a glimpse of how this living story came to be:

History

Negros Occidental is 3rd richest province (2016) of the country and has been on the top list for quite a number of years. Because of the nutritious volcanic soil, the whole island became an agricultural powerhouse not just of the Philippines, but also of the world-particularly sugarcane.

Nicholas Loney

In 1856, a British Vice-Consul in the name of Nicholas Loney was sent to Iloilo City and became a central influence on the prosperity of Western Visayas. 

Every day, thousands of passengers from Bacolod, Iloilo and nearby islands pass the wharf and prominent street called Muelle Loney. Muelle (pronounced as “mool-ye”) is a Spanish term which means “dock” or “wharf.” It was named after this British influencer. 

Through his work, the port in Iloilo river opened up international trade for sugarcane which skyrocketed the economic status of Panay and Negros. 

I think Nicholas Loney is a silent and unsung hero because not too much attention is given to him. I only knew about him when I researched and wrote this blog, despite living in Panay for 9 years. 

 

British Influence in Western Visayas

On a personal note, I look up to the British, particularly how they managed their colonies. Maybe not all, but almost all the British colonies and even those that they had secondary influence developed dramatically. The economic destinies of USA, Singapore, South Africa, Australia were primarily laid down by Great Britain’s foundations. India could be one also. As compared to the colonies of Spain or Portugal such as Philippines and South America, I can say that the British Empire did a better job of colonization. 

I also believe that it’s the Puritans who influenced the British Empire and later on shaped her colonies in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Puritans started as a religious movement that rooted in the Protestant Reformation but later on shaped the Empire’s systems, leadership and ethos. 

The thesis is that there is a link between Capitalism and Puritanism. Puritans such as John Calvin, John Owen are worth studying especially their writings, teachings, economic beliefs. Their lineage was also instrumental to the founding of Harvard and other Ivy-league schools. This belief system also produced noblemen such as Oliver Cromwell, William Bradford and John Winthrop.

An image of a modern-day "Sakada" taken from Arendo Coworking Space in Bacolod

Negros Sugar Industry

Going back to Nicholas Loney, his leadership became instrumental in empowering the early sugar planters of Western Visayas. He gave installment and crop loans to Iloilo planters, imported sugar cuttings from Sumatra and introduced the latest machine innovations from England and Scotland. 

Loney came to Negros and saw its vast potential for this new venture. He then gave liberal offers to potential and interested planters which encouraged Ilonggo families like Lacson, Ledesma, Hilado and more to move to Negros. Starting in 1857, the industry unleashed a promising future. 

In 1856, sugarcane flourished on these fine soil which led to the economic rise of the island starting from the 16th century. This natural capital soon defined the future of the Negrosanon people as well as some parts of the Philippines like Bukidnon.

Today, Negros still produces 50% of the total sugar output of the Philippines. This is the very reason why Negros is home to rich barons or commonly known as hacienderos/hacienderas. Because of this boom, Bacolod/Negros soon became the home of lavish, elite and luxurious properties of the colonial period- these include haciendas, cathedrals and of course, mansions.

I believe that the plight of Negros from Hacienda System to Free Market Capitalism is still a long way, though there have been praiseworthy improvements in the past. As a believer of Austrian Economics, I would say the Feudalism/Merchantilism has never and will never be sustainable for our island, but thank God that the free market, education and other multiple factors are being pushed through by our leaders.

Satellite Map of The Ruins Mansion

  1. The Ruins Mansion Structure
  2. The Fountain
  3. The Restaurant and the Mirror Photography Effect
  4. The Garden: Fishpond between and walkable bridge with fountain and night light
  5. The Garden: Garden stage with good scenic mountain view
  6. Parking Lot
  7. The entrance kiosk where you pay
  8. Entrance and exit gate
  9. North direction
  10. West direction going to Ayala and Lacson street
  11. Going to Circumferential Road, Lopues East and Bacolod-Silay Airport
Map Sketch of the Ruins in the Entrance itself

Negros Multi-Cultural Influences

Later on, Chinese influence also came in and helped develop the economy of Bacolod starting with the Shopping Area. Many of the commercial and political figures in the province were of Chinese descent. So Chinese, American, Native Filipino and Spanish influences made Negros Occidental a historically-rich and colorful province. 

Don Mariano L. Lacson's 82nd Birthday at The Ruin's Walls - Photo courtesy by Luz Dato Lacson

The Ruins' Sugar Baron

In the early 1900’s, one of the sugar barons, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson built this mansion in memory of his Portuguese wife, Cora Maria Osorio Rosa-Braga who died when she gave birth to their 11th child. It was inspired by Italian architecture and hence its architecture was called Italianate. 

The Mansion was built in the midst of 4,400,000 square-meter (440 hectares) sugarcane land in the border of the present-day Talisay and Bacolod. In the 1940’s, the mansion was burned down by the Americans to prevent the Japanese invading forces to use it as a military base. It took 3 days until the entire mansion was entirely burnt and only its A-grade cement remains. 

The Ruins is also a testimony to the atrocities of war. Wars destroy heritage treasures, not just previous lives. 

Ruins at Daytime

Architectural Wonder

The design is dubbed as one of the architectural wonders in the country. The owners used eggwhites to cause the cement to be smooth but still strong. 

This sign is installed in one of the walls in the present day

A-Grade Concrete: In the early 1900’s, Felipe, one of the sons of Don Mariano, supervised the construction of the mansion making certain that the A-grade mixture of concrete and its pouring was precisely followed. Before the pouring began, Felipe gathered as many people as he can to ensure that the pouring will be done non-stop, day and night, until the whole structure is complete. 

The hardwood floor. The flooring used in the mansion were long-span 2-inch thick hardwood running from the main entrance facing the fountain all the way to the end of the dining room, with no joints. They were about a meter wide and were approximately 20.5 meters long. They initially poured out 3 drums of gasoline to ignite the floors but nothing happened. Upon returning, they mixed 2 drums of gasoline with 4 drums of used oil and poured the mixture unto the floors of the mansion. The whole mansion burned for 3 days. 

The portraits of the owners and their family
You can destroy a mansion but not a legacy
The Ruins Mansion Garden: Some tourist may not know that this exists as part of the mansion compound.

Photoshoot Fee (for Prenups, Debut, etc)

  • Cost: P1,500 – includes entrance for 10 persons (photographer, makeup artist, subjects) for a whole day

How to Go To Ruins...

The Address of the Ruins Bacolod is Don Mariano Lacson Road, Talisay-Bata Border, Talisay City, Negros Occidental. 

...from Airport (Silay)

The cheaper way: There’s a colorum van outside the departure area where you will ride with other passengers. The fare is around P150. This van will pass through the Bacolod-Silay Circumferential/Airport Road. If you go directly to ruins, you should NOT go down at the crossing ruins-circumferential because there are very rare passenger vehicles there. The best way is to go down at Talisay proper if the van will pass Talisay Main/Proper. If not, then the best way is to go down at Robinsons Bacolod or Lopues East. 

From Robinsons Place Bacolod to The Ruins

...from Robinsons Bacolod to Ruins

Shuttle. This is so far, the nearest mall to The Ruins. Below is a travel and tours company that offers services to the Ruins. They have a banner within the mansion so I think this is endorsed by the management of Ruins. 

Jeepney + Trike: From Robinsons, walk across the street or the overpass. Ride a jeepney named “Bata” and go down to Bangga Pepsi after around 10 minutes. Hail a tricycle at P50 per person to the Ruins. 

Taxi/Grab: So far the easiest if you go by less than 5. 

...from SM Bacolod to Ruins

By Jeep + Trike. Walk to the Public Plaza. Go to the Mister Donut/Dunking Donut/Jollibee side of the road and Ride Bata Jeep. After around 20 minutes, go down to Bangga Pepsi. Hail a tricycle at P50 per person to the Ruins. You can also ride a taxi at Bangga Pepsi to Ruins for a lower fare price of around P80.

By Taxi/Grab.

...from Bacolod Ferry Terminal (to Iloilo Pier) to Ruins

By Jeep + Trike. Ride a standby jeepney at the pier the moment you arrive. Go down to Ceres North Terminal if there’s a jeep that offers that route (North-bound). If not, just tell the driver you will go down to Bacolod Plaza Dunkin Donuts / Jollibee where you can ride a Bata Jeep, around 20 minutes to Bangga Pepsi where you can ride there a tricycle/taxi to Ruins. 

By Taxi/Grab

...from Banago Port to Ruins

Renting a taxi/trike will do. Maybe around P80 per person if tricycle and around P150 if taxi. 

...from Ceres North Terminal

Tricycle or Taxi that passes through the drop-off section will do. I do not recommend riding a Ceres  bus because the distance is too short and might disappoint the bus operator/conductor. 

Schedule

 

Opening and Closing Time: 8AM – 8PM

Last Acceptance of Guests is 7:30 PM (Gate closes as well). When I went there, the gate is closed but the guard told us they will still accept us because my guests are from Luzon.

Photography Tip

Photography Tip: You can get good angles by having the subject stand at the patio/hallway facing the restaurant while the photographer stands at the base of the grand stairway.

Best Time to Visit

I think it’s best to visit The Ruins is late afternoon or between 5:00-6:30PM because of the tug-of-war tendencies of the sunset light and The Ruins’ lights. This will cause you to have a good light for yourself, but also a good background with the structure’s putting on some few lights.

Ruins at Night. If you are after how it looks at night, then the best time to go is past 5:30PM. Closing time is 8PM but they only accept the last batch of visitors around 7:30PM. We went there around 7:45 and the guard said they will just allow us because my visitors are from Luzon. 

If you go at night, which is too dark, you may get a good shot of the structure and its romantic lights but you may not get a good selfie or a shot of yourselves. The shots at night are majestic, however, so it’s still a good option. 

Daytime: If you go during the daytime, you get another side of glory. No mansion lights, but you can use the glass table situated somewhere fronting the restaurant. It serves as a reflector. Place your camera in the middle, between you and the subject, and adjust it until you see a reflection of the person and the building. 

The downside of going at mid-day, 10am-2Pm, is that it may be too hot or humid, and you will have a hard time getting a picture of yourselves under the hot sun. 

Roger Lucero, also known as the "funny tour guide." I saw him doing the tour and seminar on a Sunday. We laughed a lot everytime he was speaking.
Tour Guide Ruins
We caught Roger, the sensational Tour Guide on a Sunday Afternoon

Entrance Fee 2018

  • The entrance fee is 100 Philippine Pesos or around 1.88 USD (Aug 2018) per person. There is a discount for seniors, PWD’s, young children and students. 
  • My suggestion to the management of The Ruins Mansion is that locals of Bacolod like me should receive exemption for the P100 because we are the ones bringing the visitors there and even sometimes act as tour guides if they have none. P100 is affordable for tourists but for us who always bring visitors there it is already heavy and uneconomical. Plus we frequent the place always, so why would we pay that high already?
  • Senior Citizens/PWD: P60
  • Students: P50
  • Children below 8 yrs old: P20 
  • There is also a P12 car entrance fee if you bring one
I saw a souvenir shop inside but I also saw souvenirs in Bong Bong's pasalubong centre in Lacson Street
The ruins Bacolod
A memorial stone erected beside the fountain
At the Garden: Other visitors may miss going to this side of the mansion, but I think you will feel the "hacienda atmostphere" here putting yourself back almost a 100 years ago.

Ruins Bacolod Quotes

Below are epic quotes I created and curated from other bloggers, IGers:

  • “One thing that can’t be burned is what’s inside us.” -BV
  • “There is beauty in tragedy” -BV
  • “Build your life on the Rock which the fire cannot burn away” -BV
  • “Only the fool cannot find beauty in tragedy” -RH Fowler
  • “Why focus on tragedy when you can focus on the light?” -BV
  • “You see, another example of a beautiful disaster.” -IG: romegoesaway
  • “Ruined but still beautiful”
  • “True beauty is about love, not looks” – John Piper
  • You can destroy a body but not a precious memory. – BV
  • “The only love that won’t ruin you is one that can’t change, that can’t be lost, that is not based on the ups and downs of life or of how well you live.” – Tim Keller
  • “Beauty is born in tragedy”
  • “Turn your Mess into a Message”
  • “Turn your Trials into Triumph”
  • “Beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” – Prov 31:30

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