Category Archives: Travels

Family Trek to Hulugan and Two Other Falls

Family Trek to Hulugan and Two Other Falls
by Danny Tariman

It was good sunny Saturday. With all the excitement, my family is all set for the trek to three falls in Laguna.

We left the city at about 5 in the morning for a long 95-km drive to Luisiana town in Laguna. With a brief stop-over for a quick breakfast in Los Baños, we had an easy comfortable drive. We were headed to Bgy San Salvador, the jump-off point to the falls. We arrived in this fresh-mountain-air rural village at about 8:30am.

The awesome 95-meter high Hulugan Falls:

We were impressed by this small village’s organized system in handling trekkers. Upon turning right going to the inner road (there is a big tarpaulin marker announcing “Hulugan Falls”), we were greeted and met by a lady who introduced herself, and gave us some directions on how to proceed. We were also assigned a trek guide – “Kuya Boy”. Upon boarding our car, the guide led us the registration desk and the nearby parking area.

My family at the start of the trek

After a short 5-minute briefing, we started our way to the falls. Oh, by the way, we were warned to get our rubber shoes wet, or wear rubber sandals. Good enough, there is a store that sells rubber sandals at a fair price.

We boarded a tricycle which took us to the starting point of the trek. It was maybe a 2 to 2.5-km ride, but it was okay, since we saved time and energy for the mountain trek. It was an easy 35-40-minute hike going to the first falls. Passing thru a dam, and a river bed, a little down hill hike, and some up-hill trek we finally reached our first destination: the Talay Falls.

The tropical rain forest along our trail

The Talay falls has two down-streams. The first to greet you is a small “falls”. We had some good rest here as the place has bamboo benches and tables for picnic goers and trekkers. We had our snacks taken in this place too.

The Talay falls: our first stop

Few steps away, passing thru the big rocks or boulders, you will see the quiet beauty of “Talay-2” falls. This one is taller and the flowing waterfalls is slim.

The downstream from Talay Falls. This is where we had a rest for some food.

After a few minutes of rest and some photo ops, we proceeded to our next falls destination: the “Hidden Falls”. This is a short trek – about 15 minutes – from Talay but a bit challenging as it was an uphill trek. The good thing is the trail is lined with bamboo poles which serve as handles, so you can hold onto these while navigating through your uphill climb.

The Hidden Falls was a refreshing sight! Large volume of water gushing in-between big boulders. I reckon, maybe it was named “hidden” because indeed you won’t be able to see this beauty from the path of the trail. You will have to jump over to the rocks and boulders before you will see and appreciate this natural beauty.

The Hidden Falls.

We continued our trek to the final and the third falls for this adventure. It was a bit long trek.

We passed through a farm where pandan as large as trees abound – this is the variety which is used for making baskets and mats. There were even some “trees” with big fruits falling on the ground. We were told by our trek guide that some trekkers stay overnight in this area where they pitch tent and build bonfire at night.

The pandan farm along the way

After about 35-40 minute walk, with long down-hill hike, we reached our final destination: the Hulugan Falls. We were greeted by this wide rock formation where water flows freely. I thought it was IT! But it was just a ‘preview’. We were able to see the main scene when we stepped into the rocks and saw this awesome, very tall body of water, gracefully flowing down! We were told it is about 95 meters high! And it was so wide – providing a white veil that covers a wide portion of the cliff!

My family upon reaching Hulugan Falls

After looking for a spot to keep our backpacks, we immersed ourselves into the fresh gushing river from the falls. Wow, it was really refreshing after almost 1-1/2 hour of hiking! While my wife rested in a shaded area, me and my children had a good splash. We really enjoyed it!

Enjoying the gushing downstream from Hulugan Falls

Oh! We had our lunch right beside the huge falls! And our water for drinking was taken direct from a dripping water under the rocks! It was really refreshingly natural!

Fresh “mineral water” direct from the rocks, where we got refill of our drinking bottles.

After enjoying our river plunge, we trekked back passing through another route. This was the most difficult trail in this trekking adventure. We climbed almost vertically from the falls. Remember the falls was about 95 meters. And we had an almost vertical – well maybe 80 degrees – climb. We had to rest every 10 or 15 minutes! Haha! The nice thing is that the locals had placed bamboo poles as handles throughout the trail which we can hold while maneuvering the rocky path.

With my children enjoying the refreshing swim

I wouldn’t recommend this “return trail” for those with weak heart. It was really difficult. We managed to reach the pick-up point after about 30-40 minutes trek, mostly uphill. With my and my wife’s age at over 50, it was indeed a feat to pass through the uphill trail from Hulugan Falls.

Wow, this was really another great adventure for my family.

A fantastic shot of Hulugan Falls, with my daughter at the foreground

Manta Ray: A New Way to Enjoy the Depths of Anilao

Manta Ray: A New Way to Enjoy the Depths of Anilao
by Danny Tariman

It was a different kind of excitement for the family.

My family in front of the dive resort.

My 2 children had been to the depths of Anilao using the usual diving suit and gear: rubberized suits, air tanks, etc. We all enjoyed it. Me and my wife enjoyed to see the depths of the sea through the video clip that our daughter took while in the deep.

I was really fascinated by beauty of the undersea in Anilao: colorful corals – both soft and hard, variety of fishes swimming around with our children, the little discoveries they had: giant clams of various colors, lion fish, and others.

But this weekend, it was different. We are out to try the manta ray dive.

My son holding the manta-ray board

Manta rays are similar to stingray. Both are flat-type of fish that swim with their bodies (or flaps) in horizontal position. The difference is that manta rays don’t have the long tail.

And the manta ray dive use a board designed like of manta ray, which is tied to a rope and attached to a jet-ski. The diver holds onto the board while the jet-ski is in motion.

Our Adventure

It was a long drive from Manila. We passed by the SLEX tollway, then turned to STAR tollway, and out to the City of Batangas. We continued to drive to Anilao which is about 45 minutes drive from Batangas City.

We arrived at Sicilian Dive Resort at about 9 in the morning. It was sunny and clear. The resort was very nice and yet affordable. The resort owner, Eric, was very friendly too, we even had some talk about business! Haha! We didn’t slept overnight. We really had planned that this time, it will just be a day tour.

The Sicilian Dive Resort

My eyes surveyed the surroundings immediately upon our arrival. It was good! As expected of Anilao, there are no sandy beaches; only pebbles and stones. But no worry; we enjoyed this place as we were really for snorkeling, while our children went for the dive.

Snorkeling and Diving

While my wife and I enjoyed the shallow waters by just having little swimming here and there, our children went for the new adventure: the manta ray diving.

Our daughter had the first try. She held onto the manta-ray board, and when she was ready, the jet-ski went off. It was a 15-minute tour of the under-water world. I can see her enjoying the dive. She would go into the waters and in few minutes would come out again, repeating the routine as the diving board she was holding was being towed by the jet-ski.

Our daughter in the depths of the sea on manta-ray diving board

This dive was without the usual mask and oxygen tank. It was really under her control whether to go down the sea or to come out of water. She said it was really enjoyable.

After her, our son had his manta ray dive too. They both enjoyed the dive. And they got different exciting stories as we had our lunch! Haha! And yes, they were able to view the beautiful under-water scenery that they passed by.

After the dive, my family had some snorkeling. We all enjoyed seeing the colorful fishes swimming around. Some of the fishes would even get near us “thinking” that we will feed them. I realized that we should have brought with us some bread that we can feed the fish for a more exciting snorkeling. experience.

Our son trying out the manta-ray dive

More Family Bonding Moments

While are children were at the sea, my and my wife prepared the much. Oh! It was really nice! I prepared the charcoal grill and cooked the pork strips. My wife prepared the green mango salad with tomatoes and salted eggs. We really had a good and fulfilling lunch.

Our family-prepared lunch at the resort

In the afternoon, we went for a walk to a rock formation at the end of the cove. We had some photo ops here. We also noticed that near the rock formations is a dive site. There were a couple of boats ‘parked’ while waiting for the divers who were exploring the deep and the reef.

The rock formation at the end of cove. Note the dive sites where boats are parked

It was really a fun day for the family! And a new experience on manta-ray dive!

Snorkeling time for the family
Our simple family-prepared lunch.
The snorkeling area near the beach

Family Moments in Caliraya Lake

Family Moments in Caliraya Lake
by Danny Tariman

It was a cool month of February when temperature in the city was about 17-19 degrees. We haven’t been going out lately, so to celebrate my dear wife’s birthday, we decided to go out to this lake on top of a mountain in Laguna. I was excited because I had been dreaming of fishing in a lake for quite sometime, and I thought this is a good idea to go outdoor again for a fishing adventure.

The placid lake early in the morning, where I had my morning prayers & reflection.

We drove to this mountain resort at mid-day for a check-in at 2pm. As we were nearing the place, my excitement grew stronger because I can now see the peaceful scenery of the Caliraya Lake. It was quite a long drive of about 2-1/2 hours from the city. We reached the resort pavilion in no time. It was a refreshing drive up the mountain.

Immediate I scanned the beautiful scenery. I was not disappointed. Verdant green lawns, with some ducks roaming, calm and refreshing lake, a swimming pool near the pavilion, hanging rope bridge above water crossing the lake… perfect for a weekend family outdoor adventure.

Another view of the lake. The huts at the left side where we slept. A few ducks near the edge of the hill.

We checked and kept our bags and things in the cottage reserved for us. With the front facing the lake, and the cool wind blowing, oh… wow! It would be a cool – literally – weekend for the family.

Our children tried the zipline which crosses the lake. My wife and I didn’t try this anymore. I can see the excitement of our grown-up children riding the zip-line. At the other end, after the zip-line ride, they have to come back passing through a rope hanging bridge. I tried walking a short distance on the bridge, it was wobbly, I can’t stand the movements, I have to walk back. Haha!

My daughter trying the zip-line crossing the lake

We walked around the resort. There were children feeding the ducks roaming near the lakeshore. Some ducks were just swimming at the lake. Walking further, we see some horses grazing on the grassy hillside. We did a short trek to a star-gazing point on the hill.

We took a ride on the lake using the “swan paddle boat”. We got 2 swan boats going to the farther places of the lake. It was a really enjoyable ride. Me and my son on one boat, my daughter and her friend on another. The paddle was not that heavy, it was in fact an easy foot paddle. Really nice!

My family enjoyed very much these paddle ride around the lake

The following day, after a sumptuous breakfast the clubhouse overlooking a golf course, we tried riding bicycles around the clubhouse. It was a wonderful experience for us all. It was the first time for me to use a double-bike, with my wife behind me on the bike. With cool mountain air blowing, it was a refreshing morning experience for us.

An enjoyable early morning double-bike ride with my wife.

We went to the “Fishing Village” – that part of the resort where the cottages are floating near the lakeshore – where we had a try fishing for some fish. It took us a little over an hour without any fish eating our baits. Finally, I surrendered; it was not a “fishing day” for me. I didn’t catch one. What an enviable sight it was when another group caught a fish, quite big – maybe over a kilo! Haha! Anyway…

I tried fishing for cream dory but was not lucky that time.

We had a dip at the cold swimming pool! With an ambient temperature of about 19 degrees Celcius, what would you expect? Haha! We didn’t stay long at the pool.

Wow! What a cool-cool experience it was! Really a fantastic family bonding adventure for us all.

My wife and I taking a “selfie” near the swimming pool.
The hanging bridge
The golf course behind the big club house
Family moments beside the lake
My son at the wharf for the boat ride.

Exploring the Rich Cultural Heritage of Iloilo

Exploring the Rich Cultural Heritage of Iloilo
by Danny Tariman

Located in Panay Island, in central Philippines, Iloilo is known for its rich cultural past: from old churches to heritage family houses. We had stayed in the city, and I had noted that despite the highly urbanized city central, the glow of provincial warmth is still maintained.

Join me and my family as we explore the “Queen City of the South”.

Miag-ao Church

Miag-ao Church: built in 1797.
Miag-ao Church: built in 1797.

This heritage church is some 40 kilometers away from the city. Despite the distance, I say this is a “must” place to visit. I was awed by facade of the church: very detailed carving etched on the front wall. It is said that this church was built in 1797 by Augustinian friars. It was declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 1993. It is actually known as the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church to the locals.

Guimbal Church

Guimbal Church. Another centuries old church we visited on our way from Miag-ao.
Guimbal Church. Another centuries old church we visited on our way from Miag-ao.

Another church we visited is the centuries-old Spanish-type church, the Guimbal Church. We passed by this church on our way to Miag-ao, but we decided to stop-over here after the Miag-ao visit.

It is said that the yellow-colored structure is made of corals and adobe rocks what were taken from Guimaras Island. And just like Miag-ao church, this was built by Augustinian friars too. This is the home of the San Nicholas de Tolentino Parish.

Molo Church

Molo Cathedral: More than an old church, the warmth of the servants and the Mass was 'extra-ordinary'.
Molo Cathedral: More than an old church, the warmth of the servants and the Mass was ‘extra-ordinary’.

I was instantly impressed with this centuries-old Gothic-architecture church – the Molo Church. It was built in 1831 and is known to locals as the St. Anne parish church. The ornate interiors, with arches connecting the posts, wow, it is really an art to behold.

We attended a Mass in this church. What also struck by the attentiveness of the usher. He really guided us through the crowd for us to get seats. The homily too was so down-to-earth, I believe the priest was able to connect to the church attendees and was able to convey the message.

It sits in front of a well-developed plaza. The plaza has also its own attraction: the dome-covered pavilion where a lot of church goers also takes photos.

Jaro Cathedral

The Jaro Cathedral, built in 1874, has a unique facade -- a stairway leading to the image of the Lady of Candles.
The Jaro Cathedral, built in 1874, has a unique facade — a stairway leading to the image of the Lady of Candles.

The Jaro Cathedral which was originally built in 1874 has a unique facade: it has stairs leading to the image of Our Lady of Candles (Candelaria). As with most of Iloilo churches, this old structure was rebuilt in 1956 after it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1948. Another unique feature of this church is its belfry which stands at the opposite side of the street.

Casa Mariquit

Casa Mariquit
Casa Mariquit

We arrived at this heritage house a bit late, hence it was closed. The outside of this old house shows the Spanish-type brick-and-wood charm. Never-the-less, we took some photos of the 200-year-old house which sits beside an old balete tree.

Ted’s Bachoy

My family having a good fill of our tummies at Ted's Bachoy
My family having a good fill of our tummies — an authentic bachoy — at Ted’s Bachoy

After a long day, we filled our hungry stomach with what is Iloilo City is known for – bachoy. There were a number of local food outlets that sells this Iloilo specialty but we just settled into the more popular Ted’s Bachoy. We had a real taste of this specialty soupy dish to the satisfaction of our palates.

Iloilo Esplanade

The Iloilo Esplanade along the river bank of Iloilo
The Iloilo Esplanade along the river bank of Iloilo

The Esplanade is a well-developed, and well-manicured river bank along Iloilo River. We had a good early evening stroll in this place. We enjoyed the night view of the river – with the street and building lights reflected on the river – and with the refreshing beautiful ornamental plants along the stretch of the walkway. This place is also a ‘must’ visit when you go to Iloilo.

At one end of the park is commercial area with a number of eateries and restaurants. We had our dinner in this place at Ramboys – which offers “Aklan best chicken and liempo”.

Biscocho House

Shopping for some presents for your friends back in the city? Don’t forget to drop by Biscocho house. This store offers a variety of local delicacies and sweets.

Oh, so much story to tell! Our wonderful Iloilo family experience will always be treasured!

One of the antique rooms of Maig-ao church.
One of the antique rooms of Maig-ao church.
The plaza fronting Molo Cathedral.
The plaza fronting Molo Cathedral.
My family at the grounds of Molo Plaza
My family at the grounds of Molo Plaza
A nice spot along the Esplanade for a souvenir photo.
A nice spot along the Esplanade for a souvenir photo.
The belfry of the Jaro Cathedral, opposite the church.
The belfry of the Jaro Cathedral, opposite the church.

Mambukal: Nature At Its Best

Mambukal: Nature At Its Best
by Danny Tariman

We had been driving around town, and to a themed park in the middle of the mountain, in this visit to Negros Occidental. We had been enjoying the place, so far. But there are still more places to go.

mam01
My family at the Mambukal welcome marker

This time, we are going to Mambukal Mountain Resort, a provincial-government-run resort in Negros. It took us about an hour and a half to drive from the city of Bacolod.

It was quite a surprise for me to see a very nice, well-maintained resort at par with privately-run resorts.

On our arrival, we were greeted by the Mambukal marker, with flowing water. It was a refreshing sight: the roads are lined with thick foliage, all greens to my left and to my right.

I had noted nice cottage houses too. My cousin told me that these cottages are for rent for guests who prefer to stay overnight. There was also a pavilion where one can host a party.

What attracted me best was the serene, scenic view of the lagoon, lined with ornamental plants. I saw some kayak on one end, which was very inviting to ride and paddle in the middle of the lagoon! I really like this place!

The Mambukal lagoon
The Mambukal lagoon

The resort has also “dipping pool” with hot-spring water. The pool is good for those who would like to relax tired muscles. Next to this ‘dipping pool’ is another hot-spring water pool – a Japanese-inspired. Aside from being Japanese-inspired, the difference of this area from the other hot pool is the temperature – this is hotter than the dipping pool.

The dipping pool of Mambukal
The dipping pool of Mambukal

Beside these hot-spring pools is a flowing stream of river. Wow, really a relaxing moment with nature. I had also watched the tree tops in this area, as I had noted some creatures perched on top of the trees. Yes, there were bats! Haha! But since it was daytime when we visited the place, they were ‘parked’ on the tree tops.

The resort also offers a trek to a falls. We decided not to take it, for shortness of time. I was told it is a good 15-minute trek.

Bats resting at tree tops
Bats resting at tree tops

The resort has a row of restaurants offering sea food, and you got it – the famous Bacolod chicken!

My family had a good walk around the resort. It was quite big, and thus a bit tiring. But we all enjoyed the refreshing cool mountain air, the thick tropical plants and trees all over the place.

Really a good nature-bonding experience for my family!

My family in front of the Japanese-inspired garden
My family in front of the Japanese-inspired garden
Another warm pool, hotter than the dipping pool
Another warm pool, hotter than the dipping pool
The road lined with thick foilage
My family walking or trekking the road lined with thick foliage at the mountain resort 
Another view of the laggon
Another view of the lagoon
Naturally refreshing sights of the resort
Naturally refreshing sights of the resort
Another view of the lagoon
Another view of the lagoon

Guimaras Island Discovery Tour

Guimaras Island Discovery Tour
by Danny Tariman

Guimaras Island is an island province consisting of only 5 municipalities. It is one of the smallest provinces in the Philippines. The island is between Panay Island (where Iloilo City is) and Negros Island (where Bacolod City is). It is just about 15 minutes ride from Iloilo City.

The island is the family tour destination this time of the year.

The Raymen Beach in Alubihod, Guimaras
The Raymen Beach in Alubihod, Guimaras

We left our hotel in Iloilo City early at about 8 o’clock in the morning and went straight to Ortiz wharf. It was a cloudy morning, but our spirits are high as we will be exploring a place we have not yet set our foot—the Guimaras Island. We are all excited to see what this island has to offer.

It was an easy boat ride for us. It seems to me that boats are the common means of transport in this part of the city. They come and go every 15 minutes or so.

We reached Jordan Jetty Port in just 15 minutes after we left Iloilo City. Jordan is Guimara’s capital. Maybe because he saw us as strangers, a tourist assistance office personnel approached us. (Thank You, Lord!) He lead us to the tourism office and have ourselves registered.

It was a good welcome experience! The desk officer showed us tour itineraries to choose from, and explained to us some of the highlights of Guimaras. Since my son had evaluated the tour options earlier, we were able to discuss with him our choices quickly. He also presented various options for land travel arrangements, with the associated costs.

The "Smallest Town Plaza" of Guimaras
The “Smallest Town Plaza” of Guimaras

Leaving Jordan, we passed by the “Smallest Town Plaza” few minutes after we left. It was a small park where a monument of our national hero Jose Rizal stands. We did not stop here.

We continued our land trip, passing well-paved roads. While cruising along mango plantations on the left and on the right, the rain poured heavily. I was whispering a little prayer in the heart that the weather will clear. Finally, after about one-and-a-half hour ride, we reached our first stop: the beach!

We checked-in at Raymen Beach Resort. It was a nice resort – with good reception hall, restaurant, rooms for guests staying overnight, and of course, breach-front cottages. It had clean shower and changing rooms too. We pre-ordered our food at the restaurant so we can eat our lunch without the usual wait for cooking.

The weather cooperated when we reached the beach! It was sunny now.

My family enjoying the sun, the sand, and the sea of Alibuhod beach
My family enjoying the sun, the sand, and the sea of Alibuhod beach

Oh the beach! It was really beautiful, unspoilt by modern development. Creamy fine sand and turquoise waters, wow! It was really inviting for a good swim! While we were at the beach, we had the opportunity to taste some local delicacies.

We had a sumptuous lunch at the beach resort. We were able to eat immediately as we had pre-ordered the food when we arrived. Our meal? Fresh seafood (crabs and fish) and of course, an island popular dish, the “pancit molo”.

After we had our lunch, we drove to our next destination: Guisi Lighthouse Ruins. This was another long trip –about 30-40 minutes with a rough road, just few meters before reaching the lighthouse. It was indeed ruins — rusty, old, non-functional lighthouse surrounded by remnants of what-used-to-be staff house. But the view was very nice. My daughter who is much into this kind of discovery tour, managed to climb the wobbly rusty stairs, with me reminding her all the way. Haha!

A view from the top of the lighthouse ruins, with my daughter
A view from the top of the lighthouse ruins, with my daughter

After some 30 minutes of photo shoots, we moved on to our next stop. The lighthouse was the farthest point we reached. And so it took same long hours to return to Jordan.

On our return, we had a short stop at Camp Alfredo, in Sibunag. It got camping grounds for family, zip line, swimming pool, and other facilities. Since we were short for time, we just had some photos at the entrance gate.

A good photo op at Camp Alfredo
A good photo op at Camp Alfredo

We passed by the mango plantations too. It was huge tract of land planted with mango trees all over. No wonder, when people speak of Guimaras, mangoes are usually mentioned!

Our next stop was the Trappist Monastery. We first stopped at the Trappist Shop where we had the best buys from Guimaras: mango bars, fruit bars, cashew nuts, plus souvenir items. But we didn’t stopped just to shop; we looked for the church where the monks pray. It was a good distance from the shop, and so we took our ride.

We arrived at the Monastery Chapel at a time when the monks were still praying. It was a very solemn moment hearing the chants of the monks. We also knelt down to give our thanksgiving to the Lord and pray.

The Trappist Monastery Chapel
The Trappist Monastery Chapel

We hit the road again, and since it was about 2:30pm, we thought of having a good snack at “The Pitstop” — a popular restaurant in Buenavista town, which is famous for its mango pie. We were definitely not disappointed. It was the first time we tasted a bright yellow-colored pizza which is topped by mango bits and cream! It was really one-of-a-kind, a “must” for visitors of Guimaras Island.

My family trying the one-of-a-kind "Mango pizza" at the Pit-Stop.
My family trying the one-of-a-kind “Mango pizza” at the Pit-Stop.

We have one more stop: the Holy Family Hills in Tamborong, San Lorenzo. We were curious on what this hills will give us, as the Holy Family (Joseph, Mary, & Jesus) is close to our hearts. We drove for another 30-40 minutes to this hill. The roads were paved up until we reached a dirt road which was still few kilometers from the hills.

My family in front of the Holy Family statue
My family in front of the Holy Family statue

When we reached the entrance, we were greeted by a rural setting: dirt roads, greens, and trees. It was a refreshing sight. The park has a number of life-sized statues of various saints of the Catholic church. It seems that the images of Stations of the Cross are lined throughout the big area. Very near where we parked our vehicle was the “Last Supper” scene. Of
course, the image of the Holy Family towers at the top.

This was the final stop. We then went back to the jetty port in Jordan town for our return trip to our hotel in Iloilo City.

Really a great family adventure! A great family experience! And a great bonding moments!

My family at the Guisi lighthouse ruins
My family at the Guisi lighthouse ruins
Some structures of the lighthouse ruins
Some structures of the lighthouse ruins
The Holy Family statue at the hilltop resort
The Holy Family statue at the hilltop resort

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