To get to the Bacolod City Government Center, one can take a Homesite jeep from downtown and its final stop is the government center.
Luzurriaga Private Cemetery
A jeepney ride from the Bacolod City Government Center (Signboard: Homesite) heading towards the city center, one will pass by the Bacolod Public Cemetery. Beside the Bacolod Public Cemetery, one will find a private cemetery that serves as an island in a middle of a busy highway. Some may find cemeteries creepy but the Luzurriaga Private Cemetery is an interesting find in Bacolod.
Bacolod City: The City that Made Me Smile (An Afternoon Affair)
I was halfway through my day trip in Bacolod when I headed back to the city center from the Panaad Park and Stadium. I could see from afar that heavy clouds were starting to form and I actually feared that I would have to cut short my exploration should it rain. The great thing is that the weather did cooperate that afternoon.
Bacolod City Government Center
Nestled amidst the flat lands with Mount Kanlaon as its backdrop, the Bacolod City Government Center stands out as mighty structure along the Circumferential Road. The modern structure can be compared to the likes of the Cebu Capitol or the Manila City Hall for its architectural design. The government center’s attraction is a huge fountain fronting the structure.
A brave soul should always include a visit to this private cemetery. It is not as creepy as one would think and you can only view it from the outside of the fence. What’s interesting is that this private cemetery was listed in the Guinness World Records as the only cemetery at the intersection of two highways.
Provincial Capitol and the Capitol Lagoon
One thing that is amazing about Bacolod is the investment on parks and open spaces. The Capitol Lagoon, right in front of the Provincial Capitol, is a huge space. A figure of a man pulling a carabao can be found on one side of the lagoon and similarly a female counterpart is found on the opposite side. The figures were made by Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti.
Looming from the background is the Capitol Building. It is the government seat of Negros and it houses the different provincial offices. The architecture of the building is very similar to that of the Department of Tourism building in Manila.
At the time of my visit, a huge event that was sponsored by a popular television channel was happening which gives me the impression that the park is a preferred venue for huge gatherings and celebrations.
The Negros Museum is just a few meters away from the Capitol Building. The museum invested in providing exhibits and dioramas of early trading with other countries, the sugar industry in Negros, and the “Cinco de Noviembre” event.
The museum did not appeal to me as I found the museum bland. But for history buffs who would want to catch a glimpse of Negrense history, the Negros Museum is worth a visit.
Situated along the highway, the Carmelite Monastery is a compound highlighted by a small, simple, and beautiful church. It is a beautiful church amidst the bustling metropolis. The whole compound evokes peace and serenity with its manicured lawns, simple church, and the silence around the compound. The atmosphere will definitely give you the feel of God’s hand upon you.
The Carmelite Monastery strictly closes at 5pm. One can reach it by taking a jeepney, with a “Bata” signboard, in front of the Negros Museum. You can ask the driver to drop you off at the monastery.
It is the most photographed site in Metro Bacolod and it is a must to include it in every tourist’s itinerary when they visit Bacolod. The Ruins, located along the boundary of Bacolod and Talisay, is must see destination as it will captivate the romantic side of every visitor. Getting to the place is quite an adventure in itself especially if one is commuting. One takes a “Bata” jeep in front of the Carmelite Monastery and then goes down at the Pepsi Plant along the highway. One can then hire a tricycle, found beside the plant, to take them to The Ruins. Most tricycle drivers know the place.
The Ruins is the remains of the old mansion owned by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. The Ruins has its own story to tell. It was built by the sugar baron in honor of his wife Maria Braga after her death hence it is also dubbed as the “Taj Mahal of the Philippines”. The architectural design of the house is very intensive and the materials used for its construction was built to last.
After going through a maze of village streets, the tricycle will enter a dirt road in a middle of vast sugarcane plantation. In the middle of the hacienda, you will find “The Ruins”. Tip: Ask your driver to wait for you as there are limited tricycles that go into the hacienda.
During the World War 2, guerilla fighters and American forces feared that the Japanese might use the mansion because of its strategic location that they decided to burn the house down. The initial attempt did not even scathe the house that they had to mix oil and gas to burn the house down. The mixture was a success that the house burned for three straight days. What is left of the house to this day is the stone foundations of the house.
Even with its frame, one can still catch the glimpse of the mansion’s beauty and lavish lifestyle of the sugar barons in the past. It is said that the best time to visit the place is during sunsets as the whole place turns into gold hues.
My afternoon “stroll” in Bacolod gave me a glimpse of the life of the rich sugar barons. History has shown how these barons and hacienderos prospered that it afforded them to create grand mansions in the midst of a vast sugar plantation or purchase their own private resting places when their souls leave their mortal bodies. It gave me a glimpse of history on how war can destroy beauty just so the opponent will lose an advantage. But in the end, the resiliency of the people will always bring back the glory that Bacolod once had.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.