1 June 2015. Talisay City, Negros Occidental.
There is beauty in something that has seen destruction. I saw exactly this when I visited The Ruins. Although the insides were bare, and what was left was a mere skeleton of the exterior, it was an exquisite structure nonetheless. It is said that in the early 20th century, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, a sugar baron, built this Italianate mansion with new-Romanesque twin columns in memory of his wife, Maria Braga, a Portuguese from Macau. Maria Braga died in an accident while pregnant with their 11th child. This grand mansion had ten bedrooms and was the largest residential structure ever built at the time - it should be as it had a floor area of 903 square meters and built in the middle of a sugar cane field.
The mansion had a belvedere where the family gathered to watch the sunset. It probably was a calming sight, viewing the sunset from a grand mansion. It is said that the structure is at its most beautiful during sunset because the columns shine when touched by the sun's rays. Egg whites were said to have been mixed with the cement during the finishing thereby explaining the shiny columns. There's a four-tiered fountain, surrounded by a garden, fronting the mansion, and this added element lends more beauty to the place.
Sadly, the mansion was burned by the United States Armed Forces in the Far East during the World War II, with the consent of the Don, to prevent the Japanese forces from using it as their headquarters.
While the structure is the only thing there is at The Ruins, I did not grow tired marveling at the site. I can only imagine how grand the mansion was before it was burned as the finest furnitures was said to have graced the interiors. Still, there is beauty in this disaster that continues to captivate its visitors.