Did you know that the 12th most fascinating ruins in the world can be found in the Philippines?
A visit to Bacolod wouldn’t be complete without feasting your eyes and bellies in two of its most prized possessions aside from sugarcane: The Ruins in Talisay City and Calea Cakes & Pastries along Lacson Street.
The mansion was built in the 1900’s by sugar baron Don Mariano Lacson and a ship captain’s daughter, Maria Braga. It was once the biggest and finest residence in all of Bacolod. Sadly, as is the violent and cruel history of the country itself, the USAFFE (guerrillas; United States Armed Forces in the Far East) burnt the mansion to ruins during the second World War to prevent the Japanese forces from using it as a fort. Now, dubbed as the 12th most fascinating ruins in the world, the property is visited by locals and foreigners alike and is still surrounded by sugarcane plantations. Visit it late in the afternoon, just in time to get the money shot when dusk turns the ruins into a golden edifice against the blue Visayan sky.
From Bacolod City, The Ruins is about 20-30 minutes away. It is a privately owned property, but open to the public. There’s an entrance fee of PhP 60.00 per person, but the tour is free. You just have to look for their in-house tour guides donning blue shirts. There is also a souvenir shop if you wish to take home piece of this wonder, as well as a quaint cafe should you become a little snackish while roaming the grounds.
It is best to cap a night in Bacolod City by enjoying a slice or two of cake from Calea Cakes & Pastries. Although, you should be warned, you have over three dozens of cakes and pastries and pies to choose from. So, be ready to be overwhelmed. One can say that this place definitely maximized the province’s main produce, sugarcane. Their best seller, the imported chocolate cake, is a deliciously luscious melange of rich and not-too-sweet chocolate ganache and a caramel-like cream between the two layers of delectably moist chocolate cake. Slices of heaven need not cost more than PhP 90.00 and you can also enjoy your cakes with a variety of coffee and non-caffeinated beverages.
With its historical landmarks and heavenly desserts, it’s no wonder this province is called the City of Smiles.