The Ruins: A Love-Built Mansion of Negros

The Ruins: A Love-Built Mansion of Negros
by Danny Tariman

It was a hectic day for my family. We had been touring around Bacolod City and its neighboring cities the whole day. It was indeed a fun day for our family, seeing beautiful tourist spots in and around Bacolod.

The Ruins in Silay City at the background, with my family
The Ruins in Silay City at the background, with my family

We capped our day visiting the Ruins, a burnt mansion in the middle of a sugar plantation. According to the story, it was built out of the love of its owner, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, for his wife, Maria, who died with their unborn 11th child because of a freak accident.

To immortalize his love for her, Don Mariano decided to build a big mansion in honor of his departed wife, to house his 10 children. It was built using grade-A materials, and finished off with egg whites mixed with cement for a smoother finish. We were shown a series of letter “M” that are engraved on the external walls of the burnt mansion. The letter stands for Mariano-Maria.

The main entrance of the Ruins
The main entrance of the Ruins

As fate had it, during World War II, the mansion was burned by American troops and Filipino revolutionaries to prevent Japanese troops from using it as its headquarters. As the story goes, the fire raged for 3 days until it was totally burned-down to its current state – the ruins.

My cousin who guided us in the tour of Bacolod, recommended that we go to this structure late afternoon to view it with the sun setting down. True enough, the view was very romantic with the amber-colored sun providing a warm glow of the area.

The frontage of the ruins still has that original fountain, still flowing with water. The Ruins is surrounded by very neat and well-kept gardens. During our visit, there were plenty of tourists inside and outside of the burned building. I would hear that the visitors are both locals (from within Negros) and from Metro Manila.

The fountain as seen from the inside of the burned mansion
The fountain as seen from the inside of the burned mansion
The garden at the back of the Ruins
The garden at the back of the Ruins

There is also a restaurant/cafe at the side, offering meals and snacks. Oh, I will not forget the freshly-squeezed sugarcane juice that we bought from there. It was so refreshingly-sweet – I was wishing I can buy this drink in Manila too.

At the back of the mansion is a wide green gardens – another picnic area for visitors. At the far-end is a rock sculpture very good for photo shoots.

Oh, what a beautiful place! My family had indeed a wonderful afternoon in this romantic place in Silay City.

My family with my cousin who toured us around.
My family with my cousin who toured us around.
Some relaxing moments at the park,
Some relaxing moments at the park, near the fountain.
An antique furnishing inside the Ruins
An antique furnishing inside the Ruins
The Ruins at dusk
The Ruins at dusk
The garden at the back
The garden at the back, in the night
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Excuses

Excuses
by Danny Tariman

“I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” – John 5:7

“Sir, the line at the train station was very long. I wasn’t able to take the first available ride,” Gel replied when I asked why he was late again.

There are people who blame others or situations for things they should be responsible for. They point fingers at others or see situations taking control over them. In short, they find excuses.

Just like the man in today’s Gospel. He wants to be healed but finds an excuse — somebody else gets into the pool ahead of him. This may be the reason Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be healed?”

Friend, do you really want to change? Stop blaming others. Just do what you need to do! Start leaving early for appointments so you won’t be late. Dispose of rubbish properly so our drains don’t clog when it rains. Use pedestrian lanes instead of crossinganywhere. Follow traffic rules even if there is no traffic enforcer in sight.

Start with yourself now. As the Bible says, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but one of power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Reflection
Pope Francis Says:“The evils of our world — and those of the Church — must not be excuses for diminishing our commitment and our fervor. Let us look upon them as challenges which can help us to grow.”

Prayer
Lord, give me the strength of self-discipline that I may not blame others.

[This reflection was first published in Didache March 8, 2016

Promises, Promises

Promises, Promises
by Danny Tariman

They said, “We will obey the Lord and do everything that he has commanded.” – Exodus 24:7

“I accept the call, and I will serve the Lord in this ministry.” This is the general response of every person elected to serve in the ministry that looks after the charismatic affairs of the archdiocese here in one of the South Pacific countries.

It was my response, too, when I was elected to head the Evangelization Ministry.

I left that electoral meeting happy and thankful, not only because I was the only foreigner to be elected, but more because it was an answered prayer for me to serve the Lord in this foreign land.

When the leadership called its first meeting, I was excited to come. But only a few officers came. To make matters worse, the next weekend gathering yielded only some 20 people, the following weekend just 10, with only a few leaders attending. “Where are those who said they would serve the Lord?” I asked myself.

It is so easy for us to say, “Yes, I will, Lord!” but when reality hits, the result is negative. Ecclesiastes 5:4 says, “When you make a promise to God, keep it as quickly as possible…. Do what you promise to do.”

Reflection:
Are you among those who say, “We will obey the Lord and do everything that he has commanded”?

Prayer:
Lord, I am sorry for saying things but not doing them. I resolve to do Your will from now on.

[This reflection was first published in Didache July 23, 2011]

Wonderland in the Mountains: Campuestohan Highland Resort

Wonderland in the Mountains: Campuestohan Highland Resort
by Danny Tariman

This was an amazing experience for my family! We never thought that in a far-away place, on a mountain overlooking a city, we can find an enchanting themed park: the Campuestohan Highland Resort. The resort about 800 meters above sea level, located in Talisay City, part of Metro Bacolod, in Negros Occidental.

My family at the Indian Village
My family at the Indian Village

This was not in my family trip’s itinerary. But my cousin who was guiding our tour spoke highly of this place that I was actually very expectant of what my family will see. And I wasn’t disappointed, the place has a refreshing mountain air, and divided into several themed parks.

We were welcomed at the main entrance by the real-looking windmill, with pavilion on both sides. The well-manicured lawns are dotted with various real-looking animals and icons. At the entrance itself, you might lost track of your time taking photos at every nook and cranny. Haha!

The real-looking windmill at the entrance of the theme park
The real-looking windmill at the entrance of the theme park

As we went further “inside” the park passing through an arched bridge, we saw this “Bonita” village. This area has Igloo-like cottages which are actually room-accommodations for guests preferring to stay overnight. I was observing closely the Igloo-like huts, it looks like real. The details are well done; looks to real!

Walking further, we came into the “Indian Village”. The huts in this area are teepees, an Indian typical house. The houses are built around an artificial bonfire. What I noticed is that even the tents which look like real, are actually concrete cottages. The “logs” in the bonfire place looks like real wood but are actually made of cement!

The Bonita Village gate.
The Bonita Village gate.

There is also a part with statues of the super-heroes or Avengers – Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and others. Near to this super-heroes is a kiddie park with swimming pool, kiddie rides, and a shoe-house.

At the water park, we were welcomed on the left by a “jaws-house” which entrance is the mouth of a shark, and on the right, an artificial wave and surf. Oh! We got some photo shoots here! The area has a large swimming pool. With a cool ambient highland temperature, I am almost sure the pool water is also cold. Haha! You’re correct, we didn’t swim.

At the Shark Wave park
At the Shark Wave park

A number of people are crowding at King Kong for photo shoots. It was kinda difficult to get a shot of your own. We didn’t climb to the ape’s hand for the usual King Kong movie poster shot. Also, this ape’s area sounds-off the growl of an ape every few minutes. We thought there was an ape coming near us.

There are plenty of rides and challenge walks: the usual zip-line, the sky-bike where you ride a bike and pedal it on a tight rope, a “rope-course” which is basically a challenging rope bridge, the hamster wheel (we saw a couple of teens trying this out; it seems difficult), and of course, kiddie rides like the carousel, mini train, and many more.

This themed mountain resort is really a fun place to go for a family adventure!

King Kong park
King Kong park
The water park entrance
The water park entrance
The Indian Village with a bonfire in the middle
The Indian Village with a bonfire in the middle
The Super-Heroes park
The Super-Heroes park
The kiddie park
The kiddie park
The surf ride I tried in the park
The surf ride I tried in the park