‘The beauty of ruins lies in the eye of the beholder’. That statement seems to fall so true for the Ruins of Talisay, a stunning shell – the remains of a massive fire that began with love, ending in a desperate attempt to thwart an advancing enemy.
The remains of this architectural beauty is one of Talisay’s leading attractions. Thousands make their way to what was once a work of love, beauty and power in the sugar cane industry long ago.
Don Lacson was one of Negros Occidental’s wealthiest sugar barons and his love for his Portuguese wife, Maria Braga, brought Lascon to build such a beautiful testament for his true affection for her. Lascon didn’t build the house to share with his wife, he built it as a memorial to his wife as she died in 1911. Not only did that love produce one of the finest mansions in the region but the proceeding events just 30 some years later would give us what we see here today.
Lascon became one of the largest sugar cane producers in the Visayas and with his fortunes he filled his stunning home with some of the finest furnishings from Europe and Asia and beyond. Lascon’s Talisay mansion was the ‘talk of the town’ and inevitably became one the highlights of his unique career throughout the turn of the century.
From the original build, started in 1911, to just before the onset of World War II, Lascon was ‘king of the hill,’ for a lack of a fitting word. During the early stages of one of the longest wars that involved a major portion of the world – the Philippines was a ‘hot spot’ for the Japanese, ultimately creating a fire-storm and a turning point in the Pacific wars.
The early advances of Japanese troops made Lascon’s mansion a possible location for a command post. Lascon escaped the grounds of his beautiful home during fierce battles throughout the region, but he knew he could not allow the Japanese to overtake his home – not just for his sake, but for his country’s sake too.
Lascon sent back word to burn it, and today that simple request gives us an eerie, yet awe-inspiring place to tour, photograph and remember what was.
The Ruins of Talisay is just one of those unique places embedded in Filipino history. People like Don Lascon not only made the Philippines what it was, but people like him make it what it truly is today.
Don Lascon’s mansion is one of the most photographed structures in the Philippines today. It also serves as a wedding backdrop and event planning for various occasions throughout the region.
Anyone can tour the grounds at a cost of just 25 peso per person. The entire estate is well kept and a small eatery serving Mediterranean style dishes is open every day.
A well-equipped souvenir shop, and a 18-hole miniature golf course is on-grounds too, giving the entire estate a unique feel to bring family, friends and business clients.
When touring the structural remains of Talisay, it is easy to close your eyes and remember the days of Don Mariano Lascon’s life in his beloved home. The remains include a hollowed staircase and a unique fitted room that rests as a memorial to the family and life of Don Lascon. The room is filled with family portraits, many directly descended or survived on the fateful day just over 70 years ago.
Put Negros Occidental on your next itinerary when visiting the Philippines. Some of the grandest heritage houses belong to this very same region, but none were as beautiful and grand as the remains of the Ruins of Talisay.
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