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
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.
Panasonic Lumix LX3
Nikon D40 with Tamron 28mm f/2.8 lens