The skeletal remains may be all that is left of this mansion, but its history is forever weaved in time.

A Wedding In Ruins

“This is the best wedding I’ve ever attended,” I said to my friend and fellow journalist, Jayvee Fernandez, during his wedding reception on March 3.

“Really? Give me three reasons why,” Jayvee said.

“Well,” I began. “#1—The venue is great, #2—No cheese, and #3—Your guests neither got hungry nor bored.”

I’ve attended dozens of Filipino weddings in my life, and frankly, I’m getting sick of them. From bridezillas competing with each other’s over-the-top pre-nuptial photo shoots to long-winded reception gimmicks that leave the guests starving, Pinoy weddings have become hard for me to swallow.

The skeletal remains may be all that is left of this mansion, but its history is forever weaved in time.

But when Jayvee tied the knot with his bride Chie on Saturday, it made the cynic in me believe that weddings can be enjoyable and romantic again.

The venue alone was enough to leave us breathless. It was at The Ruins, one of the most photographed and most written-about tourist destinations in Talisay City, Negros Occidental. Jayvee’s great-great-grandfather, Mariano Lacson, raised his children with Maria Braga in this mansion that once stood strong in the middle of a sugar plantation.

PETA, this starfish was already dead and preserved when I found it on the table.
Kate was here

The mansion was burned down during the World War II to prevent Japanese soldiers from occupying it, but the skeletal frame remained, making it known post-war as The Ruins.

Tourists who have visited The Ruins would know of its nostalgic charm and history, thanks to the stories interpreted by tour guides and accounts handed down by generations of Negros residents.

The Grotto
Guests explore the mansion

During Jayvee’s wedding reception, his uncle Raymund Javellana told us fascinating narratives of the famous Mariano Lacson, his love story with Maria Braga, and how this mansion came to be. We were honored to hear the personal accounts of Jayvee’s historic family tree, and to have The Ruins all to ourselves that night.

The guests had a wonderful time exploring the mansion while waiting for Jayvee and Chie to arrive at the reception. The weather cooperated well, too.

My boyfriend AO joins the group tour
The garden next to the mini golf course

The reception

Majority of the guests flew in from Manila, and for a number of us, it was our first visit to Bacolod (Negros Occidental’s capital) and Talisay. Jayvee and Chie wanted everyone to experience “Bacolod in one night,” so native dishes such as chicken inasal and drinks such as Bacolod brew were served generously. Sweets such as the famous Napoleones and Calea cakes were free for all. My boyfriend and I were so absorbed in the food we almost forgot that the reception hadn’t even started yet!

The reception was hosted by my friends Katrina Sotto and John Unson of ABS-CBN, and both did an eloquent job without going too dj-like (One can only take so much of the “Ladies and gentlemen, at this point…” spiel). And no, the newlyweds did not enter the venue while doing a clichéd dance number, and they found no need to let us watch a dramatic video editing of the just-concluded wedding ceremony. The speeches from the couple’s friends and family were short and sweet. The elements of comedy were just right. No cheese.

Souvenir shop and resto

Outdoor reception

Freshly roasted chicken inasal, a Bacolod specialty
Wedding souvenirs: Bacolod sweets
Top to bottom: lumpiang ubod, Napoleones, and customized Mentos
Night view
Photo op with the newlyweds, Jayvee and Chie

As written by bloggers and journalists who have felt the magic of The Ruins, it’s a whole new experience seeing it after sunset. As the guests danced the night away, some of us escaped to take more photographs of The Ruins.

With hordes of Bacolod sweets given by the gracious newlyweds, I went back to our hotel dreaming of the post- and pre-World War II era. I wondered what life was like for the Lacson family, and was thankful that I experienced the majesty of their once thriving mansion.

March 7, 2012

  1. Hi there! This blog post could not be written much better!
    Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I will
    send this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. oh cool, how was the transpo/hotel for the guests arranged? did she have her wedding at a separate church? or both wedding and reception were done in the ruins? My wedding has a separate venue for the Church (which will be held in Bacolod) and for the reception (Ruins). I’m at a loss as to how to coordinate the limited cars available for the guests. 😛

    1. The wedding was at Sta. Clara Church. We paid for our own hotel accommodations, but the couple provided free air-conditioned van services to and from the church and reception.

  3. Hi, im planning my wedding in the ruins as well. was hoping you could help with regards to suppliers, if you dont mind that is. I was wondering who did your set up? especially the tents and the looks-like-japanese-lanterns decors? 🙂 thanks!

    1. Hi! Jayvee and Chie’s wedding suppliers and organizers were all from Bacolod. Look up Vivien Picart Villanueva, their event stylist and florist. She’s based in Bacolod, but has a service area in Manila.

  4. Beautiful beautiful!

    You’d have enjoyed our wedding then. It was as no-nonsense as we are! The parentals were so disappointed. Where are the hour-long speeches? The emotional videos of Vince and me from birth to old age? The dance numbers?

    Ugh. They did get to make singit some songs. Without our approval. But, hey, it’s a wedding! =D

    So, Kate, when’s yours? =P

    1. What?! No photo booths with overused clown wigs and jester hats? No epic Michael Bay-like on-site videos?! No “o wacky naman” photo shoots?! Haha!

      I knewww you’d ask me that! Ask me again in… 5 years. 😉

  5. Hey Kate,

    Galeng! Chie and I are piecing together the wedding based on the blog posts and photos. At first we were kinda worried people won’t have fun (like it wasn’t worth the trip!) but apparently a number said it was one of the best weddings they attended!

    We really didn’t go for the sappy emotional feel because, well, that’s not how we are. HAHA! But we wanted it to be meaningful so getting married in Bacolod, the land of food was the best bet, plus in my ancestral house pa!

    I added your post to the Lacson Ruins FB page! =)

    1. Thanks, Jayvee! Can’t wait to see your official wedding album. Yesterday I had Bacolod sweets for breakfast, Bacolod sweets for afternoon snack, and… oh well, you get the picture. 😉

      1. Hi Kate! You might want to add this up

        It was just last year when I and my Tita Pet celebrated our birthdays at The Ruins. It was a “Bring-Your-Own-Baon” get together with all other singles friends. Though we were charged for a corkage fee, we were still happy eating at the newly built picnic huts few steps away from the skeleton building. Facilities are indeed improving from year to year. Aside from birthdays, The Ruins is also a good venue for weddings and reunions. Just don’t forget to bring your fully-charged cameras.

        Reminiscing The Ruins –

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