Talisay City is home to the Don Mariano Lacson's mansion, now known as "The Ruins", built out of love by Mariano to his wife, Maria, who died in an accident.
The mansion situated in the middle of the sugar plantation, was designed to be a monument to their burning love and is considered as one of the most fascinating ruins in the world.
As we approached The Ruins on our first visit, we couldn't help but notice a Harry Potter-like scene. It looked like an old tower from which a bonsai-like tree has grown. At dusk, it looked eerie, and I imagined some witch-like creature peeping through the branches. On our second visit, however, it had a more pleasant aura, no longer eerie. I imagined a "princess" trapped in the tower waiting for her prince charming... Enough of my fairy tale imaginations.
The tower-like structure is actually a “Simborio”, the local term for the chimney/smokestack used in the olden days production of the muscovado sugar. The "simborio" has now become a favorite subject of photography enthusiasts, competing in attention with the 4-tiered fountain in the garden of The Ruins.
I arrived earlier than the other VTers so I whiled away my time going around the garden to have a good view of The Ruins and to take some more pictures. Two guys smiled at me, one was a tourist guide, the other was an artist working on hand-painted fans. The tourist guide (Gerald or Reynald?) offered to take my picture so I obliged. The two asked me about the VT Flag I was holding so I gave them a short explanation. I asked permission from the artist (Reynan) if I could take his picture while he was painting; he obliged. Watching him work on the fan's painting made me realize why the souvenir fans were quite expensive. Each fan is a piece of art, and no two fans are alike because the design is hand-painted. I admire Reynan because he is a self-taught artist. Despite the lack of formal education or training as an artist, he produces beautiful paintings.
According to a taxi driver, a metered taxi from Bacolod to The Ruins will cost about P150. We decided to hire a taxi for P400 roundtrip (Bacolod-Talisay-Bacolod) including waiting time. It is best to get the taxi from your hotel so the security guard can record the taxi's plate number and name of the driver.