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Glimpses of the past

The Ruins, Talisay City, Negros Occidental

The Ruins, Talisay City, Negros Occidental

Balay ni Tana Dicang, Rizal Street, Talisay City, Negros Occidental

Balay ni Tana Dicang, Rizal Street, Talisay City, Negros Occidental. Photo taken from the azotea of the house.

“Manong, pwede pong paki-baba na lang po kami sa mismong bayan ng Talisay!”

This was my request to the driver of the Ceres bus we took from Bacolod’s North Terminal, Monday morning, the second day of my Negros trip with one of my best friends. We got to the terminal by taking the Mandalagan-bound jeepney along Lacson Street, Bacolod’s main road!

My friend and I really didn’t have any idea on how to go to Talisay, the nearest city north of Bacolod and before Silay City, and how to get to the places we want to see that day, the Balay ni Tana Dicang and The Ruins, two of Negros’ famous ancestral houses. We thought that the best way to do it would be to go the center of the town, ask around, and take it from there.

More than 10 minutes after we left the North Terminal, our bus stopped at a school along the highway, and the driver told us we are in Talisay! We got off and saw several tricycles parked at the curb side. We approached the first one in line, and asked the driver if he could take us to The Ruins. We agreed on a price, Php 100, to take us there, but since he was nice and there are other places we would like to see, we ended up renting his tricycle for the trip around Talisay, for Php 500.

Manong’s tricycle sits two people in the front side, and two in the backside (though it would really be a tight fit), and one can sit on the motorcycle itself behind the driver. It was okay. I have tried the habal-habal before in Bukidnon and Siargao Island, and that one, you had to hold on to dear life!  With my friend on the front side, and me in the back as I wanted to take pictures along the way, we started our adventure. We went back to the direction we took on the way to Talisay from Bacolod, bore off leftward towards the direction of the sugar cane fields and a new subdivision development at the start of it, near the main road.

Road going to The Ruins, Talisay, Negros Occidental

Road going to The Ruins, Talisay, Negros Occidental

Road going to The Ruins, Talisay, Negros Occidental

Road with entrance to The Ruins on the left

The green signage on the left leads to the entrance of The Ruins!

I have seen photos of The Ruins but I was not prepared for the view that I will see after passing through fields and fields of sugar cane for about 10 to 15 minutes. We turned left before that tall structure above and I caught a glimpse of my first Negros ancestral house! One word for it, amazing!

The Ruins First View

We paid the Php 95 each entrance fee, and just stared for a while at the beautiful sight before us. Even if the weather was a bit gloomy when we set off that morning, the first glimpse of the house was like a ray of sunshine to us!

The Ruins Signage

The Ruins is open from 8AM to 8PM

The Ruins or the mansion built by the sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson in loving memory of his wife, Maria Braga, maybe just a shell of its former self now, but looking at it you can still see traces of how beautiful and grand the house must have been. Still standing tall, proud and beautiful, overlooking the vast area around her, as she had done for about a century now, she is like a queen, very regal despite the ravages of war, and time!

Still in awe, we entered the house reverently through its, still, grand entrance, and started our journey to the past.

The Ruins front entrance

The Ruins Veranda

The Ruins Front Veranda

The Ruins Inside Doors and Windows

The Ruins Window View

The Ruins Staircase going up

 

The Ruins Staircase going to the second floor

 

The Ruins Fountain View

View of the fountain from inside the house

The Ruins Fountain View Inside

The garden of the house is also very beautiful and the grounds, extensive.

The Ruins Grounds Fountain

If the fountain area below looks familiar, you must have seen it in the Liza Soberano-Enrique Gil movie ‘Everyday I love You’. Remember that scene where Enrique said the ‘I love you, I love you’, I love you’ line while Liza was filming him? Another scene, between Liza and Gerald Anderson, was also filmed at The Ruins.

The Ruins Grounds Fountain Side

The Ruins Grounds Fountain Side 2

The Ruins Left View 2

The Ruins Grounds Archway Back Garden

The Ruins Grounds Back Garden and Gate

The Ruins Grounds Back Side

The Ruins Grounds Back Side 2

We left the place feeling happy. My friend mentioned that the place exuded positive vibes.

Balay ni Tana Dicang, Talisay Outside Front Side

With our heads still full of the images of The Ruins, we boarded our tricycle again, and the driver took us back to the city for our next ancestral house, the Balay ni Tana Dicang, the house of the Alunan-Lizares family which was turned into a lifestyle museum. It was actually the first one we went to as it is nearer, but it was still closed when we arrived there. The museum is open from 10AM onwards.

Balay ni Tana Dicang Outside Right

Balay ni Tana Dicang Front Door

Not noticing the bell outside, we knocked on this sturdy wooden doors!

We paid the Php 100 entrance fee for adults (Php 20 for kids) and we started touring the beautiful bahay na bato built in the latter part of the 19th century for Don Efigenio Lizares and Doña Enrica Alunan.

Balay ni Tana Dicang Ground Floor Side Room

It was lovely sitting by that window and having a photo there!

Balay ni Tana Dicang Ground Floor Sitting Room

The ground floor or the silong of the house!Balay ni Tana Dicang Ground Floor Left View from Door

Balay ni Tana Dicang Ground Floor Right View from Door

Balay ni Tana Dicang Ground Floor Carriage Under the Stairs

The beautiful caroza used in religious processions is parked under the magnificent staircase of the mansion.

Balay ni Tana Dicang Ground Floor Zaguan

Being in this house, I really felt like I entered a time machine and arrived in Spanish-era Philippines.

Balay ni Tana Dicang Stairs

Balay ni Tana Dicang Door to Sala

The house looks unchanged through the passage of time. When you reach the top of the stairs, you’ll have the feeling that the lady of the house in her finest clothes will come forward, and welcome you to her magnificent home (similar to a scene in the classic movie ‘Oro, Plata, Mata’).

Balay ni Tana Dicang Sala

Balay ni Tana Dicang Sala from the Window Side

Balay ni Tana Dicang Sala Side

Of all the Philippine ancestral houses that I have been to,  so far, this is the grandest and the most preserved one I have toured!

Balay ni Tana Dicang Sala Side and Piano

Balay ni Tana Dicang Rooms

Balay ni Tana Dicang Room

Balay ni Tana Dicang Old Photos

Balay ni Tana Dicang Piano

Balay ni Tana Dicang Candelabras

Balay ni Tana Dicang China Cabinet

Balay ni Tana Dicang China Cabinet 2

Balay ni Tana Dicang Wine Glasses Cabinet

Balay ni Tana Dicang Jars in the Kitchen

Balay ni Tana Dicang Azotea

Balay ni Tana Dicang Old Telephone

Balay ni Tana Dicang Dining Room-Sala View

It was a wonderful experience walking around the magnificent home and getting glimpses of how the family had lived in their very interesting times.

Balay ni Tana Dicang Grand Staircase

Balay ni Tana Dicang Ground Floor

We asked our driver to take us also to the Talisay Church, as aside from ancestral houses, I also make it a point to visit beautiful, old churches in the places that I have been to!

Talisay, Negros Occidental Church

San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church

Our last stop was a restaurant so we can have lunch before we travel back to Bacolod. Our driver brought us to this place. We thanked him as we parted ways. It was a wonderful, and indeed, a very different experience touring Talisay in his tricycle!

Restaurant in Talisay, Negros Occidental

These much delicious food, and drinks, cost us only around Php 500. We were even unable to finish everything! Too much for our tummies!

Lunch in Talisay, Negros Occidental

Talisay, Negros Occidental Highway

We crossed the street, and flagged a Bacolod-bound jeepney. As Talisay receded from our sight, the experience of having stepped back in time, lingered.

Travel Notes:

• Please find below scanned copies of the leaflets I got on both houses for additional information about these beautiful places. You can also click on this link for Balay ni Tana Dicang  and this link for The Ruins.

Balay ni Tana Dicang Information

 

The Ruins Information

The flyer contains information on how to go there, which is different from the one we have taken. I have seen jeepneys in Bacolod with ‘Bata’ signage, the jump off point for this direction. I also saw a sign at the street corner going to that direction which says The Ruins, and that was after we took the trip to Talisay. Anyway, as we would like to see a bit of Talisay also, we were happy with the route we have taken.

•  If you would like to know more about Philippine ancestral houses, you can get this book. It is a bit pricey at Php 1,500, but worth it. I bought the book at National Bookstore. Balay ni Tana Dicang was among the heritage houses featured in this beautiful book. It also has a list of Heritage House-Museums you can visit, at the back pages, with brief descriptions, opening hours, addresses, and phone numbers!

Philippine Style Design & Architecture

Book on Philippine Ancestral Houses

•  For the Bacolod side of my trip, please click on this link. Next travel post, the ancestral houses of Silay City, Negros Occidental!

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Be Careful With My Heart DVD Covers

BCWMH DVD

My introduction to Be Careful With My Heart (BCWMH) was through the first five DVDs that I got hold of, in the early part of 2013, I think. It was, like, love at first watch!

From then on, aside from religiously watching the episodes, I was always on the look out for the release of the succeeding DVDs so I can watch the episodes again and again, at leisure. I, still, am!

When I got hold of the latest DVDs, Volume 46 and 47, the first thing that I noticed is that Volume 46 has another beautiful cover. With that, I just thought of doing a catalog of the covers, as part of the show’s wonderful journey.

Volume 1-10

Volume 11-25

Volume 26-30

Fairytale Wedding DVD

Volume 31-35

Volume 36-40

Volume 41-45

Volume 46-47

It has been almost eight months since Be Careful With My Heart has ended but with these DVDs, I can still travel to my BCWMH universe anytime, especially when I need my feel good fix. I am now in Volume 26 of my current rewind (my nth one)! Sir Chief is namamanhikan in San Nicolas, and will get ‘cute drunk’ in a while! ❤

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Champorado at tuyo

Champorado 3

I thought this would be perfect for the very rainy Wednesday I woke up to. I already had my morning coffee and a piece of toast with butter, when I remembered that our kasambahay cooked champorado yesterday morning, which I had not gotten around to eating.

Champorado 4

This is what I call ‘instant champorado at tuyo’ since it was not prepared from scratch! The champorado mix, I found in S & R and in another supermarket I go to, and the tuyo is from the Tapa King restaurant near us. There are several other brands of bottled tuyo in supermarkets and shops but I like the one from Tapa King, which they also sell in bottles, aside from what they usually serve in their menu. Besides, with the tuyo in the bottle, you don’t have to remove the tuyo’s kaliskis! 🙂

Champorado 1

For those who are craving for champorado like me, especially in this rainy weather, the box has an instruction on how to go about it.

Champorado 2

Yes, it is not made from scratch, but it tastes good (especially with the spicy tuyo), filling the tummy, and made me feel happy on this rainy Wednesday morning. Have a great day everyone! 🙂

 

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Lampara

Me and gadgets, whether uber-high tech or simple ones, and simple household appliances that look cool and make life easier, I just can resist them, just like the reading lamp I wrote about in April.

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I saw these lanterns as soon as I entered the S & R Membership Shopping store I go to! The outdoor lanterns, look so cool and handy, not to mention cute! It reminds me of those old Coleman gas lamps! Before I knew it, the box was in my pushcart.

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lantern 4

I thought that these lanterns will be handy just in case there is a power outage, not that it happens much, in our area, or something that would be very useful once the rainy season starts, as the season usually comes with typhoons and monsoon rains, and with those, the occassional power outages!

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The lanterns are powered by three big batteries (D), bought separately. Just insert the batteries, and there it is, an emergency light! It is safer than candles, which sometimes, left attended, have been known to be the cause of some of the fires in the city. I have tried rechargeable lamps too, and most often than not, I only remember, and look for those from where they ended up getting stored, during a power outage. They are also left uncharged.

lantern 6

lantern 7

The lantern floats and is waterproof and has a 144 hours run time, according to the packaging. It has two settings: a high powered LED light and an amber night light. The box of lanterns costs Php 899.95, discounted (the original price was Php 1,199.95), just in case you want to buy one yourself.

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I have put one of the lanterns on the shelf, ready to be use in case there is a power outage, or as a handy flashlight! Pwede ring reading lamp! Happiness in simple stuffs! 🙂

 

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Nature in the city

Inside the La Mesa Ecopark

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lep entrance drive

Entering the La Mesa Ecopark through its canopied entrance is like being transported out of the city and into a forest in a blink of an eye.

lep entrance drive 2

lep office 1

Recently, I managed to do what I have been wanting to do – to go back to the ecopark, which is one of the places right at my ‘doorstep’ but haven’t been to, in a long time. The first and only time I went there was more than a decade ago.

The first of the two trips I took there again was on a weekday. There were fewer people and some of the kiosks/food stalls were closed. It was amazing, just to walk around. I brought my daughter and she got antsy so we left after more than an hour or so.

I came back on a Saturday since I missed exploring parts of the park. There were a lot of people – families carrying picnic stuffs, and groups just going around the park like my companions and I opted to do. The park was more alive. Some of the kiosks that were closed on a weekday were opened. Nevertheless, it was still very relaxing and peaceful to be there, as you can sit just in a corner, under the trees, and do some deep thinking, contemplate life and the universe (magmuni-muni) if that is what you would like to do, like what I want to do sometimes, or write the next chapter of my stories!

lep entrance signage 1

lep entrance 3 park schedule

lep entrance signage 2

lep entrance path

La Mesa Ecopark offers a variety of activities and points of interest for everyone, aside from taking in as much of the over abundance of nature around you.

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• Butterfly Haven. A guide walked you through the stages of the development of a butterfly and see full-grown ones up close inside a small enclosure.

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butterfly haven 2

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butterfly haven 4

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butterfly haven 9a

• Swimming. La Mesa Ecopark has two swimming complexes. One is near the entrance and the other one is near the fishing lagoon. The second time I was there, I thought of going in and see the inside of the first of the two swimming facilities. However, I was unable to do so as the place was booked for a private event. As for the second pool, I only caught a glimpse the first time I was there. It does look quite inviting from what I could see of it.

swimming pool 1

swimming pool 2

Swimming Pool 3

Swimming Pool 4

• Picnic. Fancy eating al fresco under the canopies of trees? You can do it through the designated picnic places at the Lopez picnic grounds. The use of the concrete picnic table is free of charge.

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• Food stalls. There are some food stalls/kiosks in the park, just in case you don’t want to carry picnic stuffs.

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• Fishing. You can try your hand at fishing in the lagoon. Standing at the other side of the lagoon, picnic area side, I did see some big fishes. If you are not into fishing, just looking at the lagoon is very relaxing and there are picnic huts for rent at the other side.

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fishing lagoon 3

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fishing lagoon 8

• Climbing the flower terraces. The view from the top of the Shell Flower Terraces is breathtaking. You also get to see the dam and the surrounding areas, and in the process, get a bit of exercise too, climbing up the many steps to the top!

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• Exploring the amphitheatre. The Petron Amphitheatre looks like a small rice terraces. Two people brought a tent and pitched it at a vantage point of the amphitheatre the second time I was in the park. Quite a nice set up. Looking at them, I imagined myself bringing a laptop next time, and doing that too!

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• Communing with nature at the mini-forest. Beyond the amphitheater is the mini-forest. You can hike around and enjoy the cool air whilst looking at the trees and beautiful foliage around you. There are walking paths and you will not get lost (as one of the guys with a high-powered camera we chanced upon, when we were about to venture into the forest, assured us, and he was right!) It was very peaceful doing so.

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• Going around the orchidarium. From the lagoon side, you can explore and have a relaxing time inside the Drilon Orchidarium. There was a group of students doing some activities when we were exploring the place.

orchidarium 1

orchidarium 2

Zipline (Zip across the flower terraces). Bungee fun. Water bike. Calesa/Horseback riding. These are some of the other activities you can try in the park. There is a boating lagoon, according the map I got, but when I asked the park reception about it, as I was unable to locate it, I was told that they don’t have it anymore.

activities

bungee

horse back calesa ride

horseback riding

water bike

Walk around. If you are not keen on swimming or doing other strenuous activities,  you can just stroll around the ecopark and enjoy nature without having to travel far out of the city.

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I left the place happy. Next time, I will bring a picnic and try one of the pools, or the tent with the laptop near the amphitheatre. For the two times I have been there, I was just contented with going around the park, especially at the mini-forest.

For more information about the La Mesa Ecopark (opening hours, rates, facilities, and various activities you can do, how to go to the place, please click on this link).

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Preserving memories

Batad 1 Batad 2

From my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary celebration, to various trips around the Philippines and beyond, to simple but very happy office and family moments, I was taken down a long, and wonderful, trip down memory lane after I have received this package.

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The package contained the scanned copies of the negatives, more than a thousand frames, that I had sent to a photo shop that offers this service. It was something I have been meaning to do for years, since I have learned that technology has made it possible to do so.

While the negatives have print copies, some of them were either lost, or ruined in the photo albums (the old-fashioned ones!) through the passage of time. I did manage to scan a lot of print copies using my Canon printer with scanner. But some were already difficult to remove from the photo albums.

Since I have transferred the files from the CDs they have sent me to my computer, I have shared my grandparents golden wedding anniversary photos, which was in the 1990s, through our Facebook group page, with my aunts, uncles and cousins, who were very happy to go down memory lane with me.

Here are some other vacation photos from the negatives I have had scanned. Still looking pretty good, di ba, after all these years!  The photos were from 1995 to 2001. Oh, and the photos above were from Batad, Ifugao in 2001.

Corregidor Island

Corregidor 1 Corregidor 3

Hundred Islands, Pangasinan

Hundred Islands 1 Hundred Islands 3

Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

Puerto Galera 2 Puerto Galera 1995

Sagada, Mountain Province

Sagada 1 Sagada 3

Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte

Siargao2 Siargao 4

Now, I want to see these places again! One of these days, I will!

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The Quezon Heritage House

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I returned to the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC), one morning, to check on the museum underneath the Quezon Memorial Shrine. Unfortunately, it was closed to the public as it was being renovated. I asked the guards in the area if they have an idea when it will open again. They can’t give me a date, though. Maybe, seeing I was a bit disappointed, they told me that I could visit the Quezon House instead, and pointed me to it. At first, I was hesitant as I have set my mind on seeing the museum. While walking around, thinking what I would like to do next,  I made up my mind and decided to check out the house, which I didn’t notice in my previous visits to the park, since I was already there. I’m glad, I did!

I love very old grand houses, and I have been inside several ones – from Taal, to Vigan, to one in Nueva Ecija, and one in Manila which was converted into a beautiful fine-dining place. While the house of President Manuel L. Quezon inside QMC is a reconstruction of the vacation house originally built at New Manila, Quezon City, it contains pieces of furniture and materials, including the Machuca tiles, from the original house.

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Stepping inside the house with my tour guide, a Tourism student from one of Manila’s universities on practicum, felt like stepping back in time.

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The spiral stairs leads to the ground floor of the house.

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The door leads to the grounds of the house.

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Entrance to the place is free. However, should one wish to donate some amount, there is a donation box just before you exit the door leading to the grounds of the house.

For more information on the place, click on the following links:

° QMC’s must-see attraction: The Quezon Heritage House

° The Quezon House at QMC

° Quezon house now in Circle

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