Mostly Everything

The Talisay Ruins: My Ancestral Home


Finding the words to describe a piece of history that defines your roots isn’t an easy thing to write about. Believe me, I’ve slaved over a blank screen with my cursor blinking impatiently, urging me to write down words. And I guess there really is no better way to talk about the Talisay Ruins in a more intimate fashion than to tell a story.


Heading over to Bacolod to slow down for the holy week was perhaps one of the brightest ideas suggested by my cousin Genie. She is the daughter of my Tito Raymond Javellana, my father’s cousin and she urged me to visit the place. I’ve seen The Ruins in photos from travel blogs and photo sites but nothing beats coming up close to my great great grandfather’s house.




It was an act of serendipity that jump started the restoration and development of the ancestral house. Several hectares of land (it escapes me how many) was divided amongst the children of my Lola Merced, the third child of my Lolo Mariano who built the house and Lola Maria Braga. My Lola Merced had 12 children, one of whom was my grandmother, Mommy Darling. Between the 12, some of the children incorporated their land and sold to the Ayalas, which is now the present day Ayala North Point and Plantacion. More than 400 hectares was divided among the children, and lots were drawn. And this is where serendipitous moments are made true as the plot of land that had the ruined house landed to the family of Tito Raymond, who happened to be in the tourism business.

And the rest as they say is history.


There are many interesting touches of family to the home. On our end, we brought the image of Mama Mary and St. Bernadette from the farm in Escalante into The Ruins and Tito Raymond is building a small grotto tucked away in one of the corners of the property where the trees, once grown, provide for a natural retreat for meditation.


Shooting The Ruins
The Ruins itself is magnificent, with the facade constantly reflecting the change of day. Shooting The Ruins is a pleasant endeavor and I encourage anyone who visits to stay and watch the facade morph into its many forms. I dropped by at around 4 PM, coming from the farm of my grandmother which was about a kilometer away, near the river. The best time to drop by would be around this time. On a cool day, you can come earlier (I came in Good Friday, which is usually the hottest Friday of the year) but a more pragmatic approach would still suggest coming in earlier so you can shoot the facade without the intrusion of too many tourists.


if you’re in a group, the tour guides who are also waiters are trained to take good photos so they know all the good angles of the place. So if you’re in a group, don’t hesitate to give your camera to one of the guides as they know how to handle one at decent proficiency.


The Ruins has a kitchen that serves food. It was Good Friday when I came in though so the commissary served really good Pizza Napoli. Tito Raymond had a fully stocked fridge for soft drinks, water and beer ๐Ÿ™‚

Newly added to the development are picnic tables on the garden and a mini golf course. WiFi is on the wish list as soon as the telephone line becomes available.






Right now, The Ruins is fast gaining popularity as an events place especially for weddings and big functions. The land beside it, which belongs to my dad’s Tito Manoling is covered with trees and slowly being converted into a camping grounds.

All in all, my stay in Bacolod was enlightening. I stayed with my dad’s sister, Tita Marilin at North Point and spent time with my Javellana cousins on a day trek to Lakawon island. I think the overall experience of discovering more about your roots brings about a better sense of identity. In fact, I’m seriously considering retiring to Bacolod when I’m old and gray and maybe, just maybe help develop the land we have when our turn comes to pass.


Photo Gear:
Panasonic Lumix LX3
Nikon D40 with Tamron 28mm f/2.8 lens

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

28 replies on “The Talisay Ruins: My Ancestral Home”

wow! been wanting to go there for some time now, ever since a friend from bacolod showed pictures. btw, your pictures are wonderful. I’m actually somewhat jealous of people who have “provinces” or “hometowns”, my parents are from manila, so not much history there ๐Ÿ™‚

ah… I appreciate the fact that they now open the ruins for tourists. Before, this used to be a destination for teens (like me before) especially when there’s a bored group of friends who seek for some creepy adventure! Before, we believed that this place is haunted and new members of the barkada are brought here to squeeze out some little bit of fear in them…

ah.. those were the days… seeing this post makes me want to go back to my very humble hometown.

It’s a good thing your family turned it into a tourist destination. I like old houses and the stories behind them. Your uncle’s staff are very accommodating. I also have praises for the food. It’s a good thing that there are still a lot of old houses in Negros Occidental which are turned into heritage sites for the younger generation to appreciate.

Hey Jayvee,

This is a cool write-up of The Ruins! It was really nice to have you join us so unexpectedly for a Holy Week vacation in Bacolod. As they say in Bacolod, anything goes. =) I must have gained a couple of pounds from eating and sleeping during the holidays.

So when are we going to build the zip-line from the ruins to the river in your family’s property? he he he… Thanks again for the pictures! I envy you for having such a nice camera. Take care and seeya soon.

– your cousin Andrew

Hi Jayvz,
Great Blog!!! Your pictures make me want to take a long trip back to PI so I too can experience such a historic place. Can’t wait to read up on where you travel next! Love and miss you- Ate Cindz

Hi son,

Nice pictures and write up. Just a few points that may help those who read your blog, about the Ruins. Lolo Mariano Ledesma Lacson was one of several children of Lucio Lacson, who our clan trace our roots to. The family tree that you once saw (and where you and Angelo have identification numbers) descends from him.

Lolo Mariano married a Portuguese woman from Macau, Maria Braga, which probably accounts for some of your “exotic” features, among others. His farm was 400 hectares, divided among 10 children. Lola Merced (Lacson)Javellana inherited 40 hectares, where the Ruins happened to be located. Some of her brothers and sisters made JVs with development companies, among them the Ayalas. Thus, Ayala Northpoint.

Am glad you are discovering your Ilonggo roots. But we come from both sides of the channel, because the Javellanas are from Jaro, Iloilo. That is another story, except that our bombed out ancestral home there was sold many years ago.

Hey Jayvee!
You forgot to mention our night out on the town, Manukan Country and…. our Bacolod Hits CD. Tsk tsk ๐Ÿ™‚

I just found the place where I got married!!! LOL! I’ve been dreaming of getting married in in old ruins… thanks Jayvee for showing this this early on… I do hope they accept wedding engagements here.. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hi Jayvee,
May I get some contact information of the place? Also, could you give some tips if I want to tour Bacolod?

I’ve been there. It’s probably one of the most breath taking ruins I’ve seen, architecture is classic and very unique. I like the inverted MMs heeeheee. I like visiting ruins because there’s some history behind it. I’ve been to Sao Paulo I must say this is much better. Only it’s tricky to get there. I hope they don’t ‘overcommercialize’ it because it will lose its rustic appeal. No to starbucks!CBTL near The Ruins!

Hello JV,

Thanks for the article about the Ruins. I have heard from my aunts and uncles aboiut the “big house” in Talisay that my lola Meding lived in before it burned down during the war. My lola was Remedios Lacson before she married Joaquin Villagracia. Yes, we might be related. I am trying to trace our family tree and have found out we are directly related to Aniceto Lacson, one of the founding members of the Katipunan, and together with Juan Araneta, led the Negros revolution in 1898 against Spain.
It is clear that Mariano (Anoy) was the 5th son of Aniceto by the first wife Rosario Araneta. What is unclear is how many wives Mariano had and which wife was my lola Remedios’ mother. Sounds like you are more informed on the Lacson family history. I could use your help to trace our family tree, for example,what are the names of Maria Braga’s 12 childre? Please forward my request to your Tito Raymond. Salamat po for any help you can provide. Ray Villagracia

Dear Ray Villagracia,
I’ll try to help. Mariano Lacson, the fifth son of Aniceto Lacson married to Lilia Montilla, was my grandfather, my father’s papa. His full name would be Mariano Araneta Lacson. Aniceto married General Araneta’s sister. Rosario.
The owner of the ruins is Mariano Ledesma Lacson. He is the youngest brother of Aniceto. His wife was a Portuguese from Macau named Maria Braga. He is my great grand father, mothers side. I don’t think your Mom Remedios Lacson lived in the ruins ever, only my Mom Pacita, a grandchild who was adopted by Victoria Lacson and other unmarried children at that time. Asuncion, Angelina, Ramon, Dading, Felipe. Hope this helps contact me I’ll link you w the expert on Lacson family tree. Its complicated!!! And we’re all related!!! Gigi Lacson Lacson

There’s much history with Manila, sweetie. Intramuros alone will max up your brain with info. =D I’m from Bacolod by the way.

Hi, iam trying to subscribe to the RSS feed here but my firefox is giving errors. Can you pls check if its just me or is there something wrong with your site.

Hello, I love the pictures. I had fallen in love to this place since two of my students at upv posted more or less similar pix in their Facebook accounts. My roots are from Negros but I haven’t gone to this place yet. Now it has become an obssession to see this place before the year ends.

What a great story!

May clase pako but inuna q muna basa ito bago maligo. Hometown ko pinag uusapan dito e.haha. .chaka totoo ba mga lola at lolo mo yung may ari ng ruins house.?grabe talaga
Chaka sa ayala may relatives ka pala sir. At sana dito ka nga pg mg retired kna at sna ma meet din kita balang araw.hehe

Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job. Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขll certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this website. Regards,


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