Archive for category Travels

I’m back! (for the nth time!:-))

Bench by the Lake

It felt like it has been ages since the last time I really log into this site. I miss being here and interacting with you. My apologies for disappearing so long. The updates are slowly coming together and I hope to upload one or two in the next couple of days.

I had a wonderful vacation, one of the longest my family and I took in a while. The photo above is from one of the relaxing places we have been to. When we got home, I had a difficult time recovering from jet lag. It took weeks for my sleeping pattern to return to normal. (How come it is getting more difficult to recover from jet lag as one gets older)!

Yes, I also turned a year older weeks ago! 🙂

My little one went back to school, and I got busy doing a major spring cleaning afterwards. It was also a way to clear my head. Just like I have written before, I do it from time to time to clear the mind! I am not completely done with that, but that is for another day. For now, I am back to writing to keep me sane! 🙂

Cheers and good vibes! I hope everyone is doing well and that you are still all there, following this blog. 🙂



Good morning!


Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well! It has been over a month since I last posted and it was not my intention to let it that long. My apologies! I got busy preparing for a trip that my family and I decided to take. I just want you to know that I’m still here and will resume writing as soon as I can, and that I didn’t just disappear from the face of earth! 🙂 I do missed writing very much but I am still settling in where I am at the moment after frantically preparing for the trip in less than a month. I will go back to it in the next couple of days. Cheers and good vibes always!

❤ Antigone ❤


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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Sugar rush, bucket list, and ‘Everyday I Love You’


The Ruins, Talisay City, Negros Occidental

Balay Negrense, one of the ancestral houses of Silay, Negros Occidental

Balay Negrense, Silay City, Negros Occidental

View from Bacolod Baywalk!

View from Bacolod Baywalk!

Yummy ube piaya!

Sugar rush! All of these, and so much more, when I’m trying to lose a couple of pounds!

It all started over coffee, one afternoon. I told one of my best friends that one day, I would like to go to Negros Occidental and see for myself the beautiful ancestral houses there. I told her that, in particular, Silay City is on my bucket list of places that I would like to see in my lifetime. Since I have been to Vigan three years before, Silay is my next goal.

She sipped her coffee, smiled at me and then she said, “Tara!” I looked at her, quite surprised as normally, being a mom like me, she needed to arrange things at home before we can go somewhere, even for our ‘coffee and movie dates’. I asked her again to be doubly sure that she would like to go with me and that we will do it now, instead of in the future. She said yes! And so we planned our trip, the first out-of-town one we took together.

I got in touch with one of my old friends who is now based in Negros Occidental, as well as a former colleague who is from Bacolod City. My friend gave me a list of places I can check out when I asked him for a recommendation on accommodations. My friend and I would like to stay within our budget, so a simple, clean one will suffice. We only need the place for sleeping and to park our things. However, I have another requirement – that it should have a TV as I don’t like to miss an episode of On the Wings of Love, even while on vacation!

He also suggested we base ourselves in Bacolod as the places I want to see are not that far from the city. That way, he said, we can travel around, and at the same time explore Bacolod. His idea is actually brilliant and it saved us from packing and unpacking and moving from one place to another. That way, we also got to explore more places, like he said. I chose the cheapest on his list, if I remember correctly, and the most accessible from Bacolod’s main street. I also read the reviews, looked at photos online, and the place seemed okay.

We took the first flight out of Manila via Philippine Airlines towards the end of September as it was cheaper than the other schedules. By taking that flight, my friend and I had our first ‘Everyday I Love You’ moment, as Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano were on the same flight!  We wondered if they have a show in Bacolod since it was around the start of the Masskara Festival season. Our question on where they were going was answered two days after, when we made it to Silay.  We saw Enrique getting out of the pick-up they used in the movie near the church there! He and Liza were in the area for the location shoot of their movie!

We landed at the Bacolod-Silay International Airport more than an hour after we left Manila. I was told by the pension house where we will be staying that there are shuttles from the airport going to hotels and inns in Bacolod at Php 150 per person. However, my friend and I opted to take a taxi as it would just cost Php 100 extra each on our part. We have one luggage each, plus our carry-on bags. The taxi costs Php 500. The guys manning the taxi line were very nice and as promised, and after passing through a bit of only sugarcane fields and not much houses, we arrived in Bacolod, and at Pleasant Travellers Pension House after 30 minutes or less, I think.

Pleasant 1

The place is a bit off the main road, but just a short walk from Lacson St. It is quieter here than Bacolod’s main street.

Pleasant 2

Sitting area near the lobby and the ground floor rooms towards the front of the inn.

The check in at the pension house is at 1PM so we had to wait. We were unable to check-in early as our room was not yet available. The staff showed us to the area where we can rest and wait. We left our things there to eat breakfast. First, we checked their canteen, but the food there didn’t appeal much to our stomachs at that time. We decided to venture out to Lacson Street,  Bacolod’s main street, even if was raining a bit. Luckily, a taxi dropped off some people at the pension house when we were about to brave the drizzle. The first place we checked out, base on my Lonely Planet guide-book and my map, was undergoing renovations, so we walked a bit more, and found this very nice coffee shop at the L’ Fisher Hotel complex. We thought it would be on the expensive side, it being in a hotel complex, but it’s not. They offer nice and very filling breakfast meals, breads and mouth-watering cakes and pastries, and nice coffee too!


C’s at the L’ Fisher Hotel Complex. Their cakes and pastries are a feast for the eyes!

C's Breakfast

For this much food, and more, it only costs us less than Php 300 each per meal. We were not able to finish everything, too much for our tummies! We ate three of our four breakfasts in Bacolod in this place!

We went back to the pension house after breakfast and waited until we managed to check in past 12nn.

Pleasant Rooms

Our room is at the second floor, at the back part of the inn.  It was okay, big enough for my friend and me, with two single beds, a bedside table, a closet, a dresser, a bathroom with hot and cold shower, and of course a TV! The place is clean and cost Php 780 per night (the one without a TV is around Php 200 cheaper). The blankets were thin (those white ones, and it got very cold at night, even if we adjusted the air conditioning). We requested for extra blankets (and pillows since there was only one each) at an extra, but minimal cost. I also wore socks to bed. Problem solved!

LC 2

Lacson Street. Photo was taken while at the overpass going to Robinson’s Mall, streets away from where we stayed. It took a 10 minute or less jeepney ride to go to this place from our pension house! We needed umbrellas as we forgot to bring one.

Lacson Street 2

Bacolod’s streets are laid out in a grid form, along Lacson Street, so it is easier to find your way around. Our inn is at 13th street, parallel to Lacson. We usually just walk to Lacson and travel from there. All jeepneys and taxis pass through this street. My Bacolod colleague told me that Lacson is also their national highway. Indeed, you can access the North Terminal going to say, Talisay, Silay, through Lacson.

In between traveling to Silay and Talisay, we managed to explore quite a number of places Bacolod in the four and half days we have stayed there. Here are some of the activities we did, and you can do, while in the City of Smiles:

Food trip/coffee time moments along Lacson Street. Aside from the usual chains of restaurants you can find in Metro Manila and other urban centers, there are quite a number of local restaurants, and cafes along this busy main street. Here are some of the places we have been to:

  1. Ann Co Cakes
AC 1

We checked out Ann Co Cakes on my friend’s recommendation! This one in Bacolod is a branch of the much bigger and more beautiful one in Silay City!

AC 2

The cafe has a very nice, and very interesting, art interiors. I love the paintings on the seats!

AC 4

AC 4

I chose the Toblerone cheesecake, and unable to resist the macaroons too! The cheesecake was to die for. The coffee was also good. Two cups coffee, two heavenly cakes, and the macaroons cost only a little over Php 400!

2. BongBong’s


Buy mouth-watering pasalubong that would send you to instant sugar rush at this pasalubong center. The place also serves coffee, piaya and some delicious basic merienda staples like pancit. All three only cost less than Php 100!



Bongbong Coffee

3. Calea 

Choices, choices and more choices!

Choices, choices and more choices!

Calea 2

Calea 3

I felt like I landed in cake heaven when I entered this place one evening!

Calea 5

My yummy strawberry cheesecake and cafe americano cost less than Php 200!

4. C’s at L’ Fisher Hotel

Mind boggling cakes and pastries! A friend who has a very sweet tooth will really go crazy at this display!

Mind boggling cakes and pastries at this nice coffee shop! A friend who has a very sweet tooth will really go crazy at this display! I didn’t get to try any of these anymore, just the pastries that come with the breakfasts we had at this place!


5. Starbucks (for the Bacolod mug)! 


I checked out the Starbucks in the city since one of my friends asked me if I could get her a Bacolod Starbucks mug for her collection. Well, I was not able to resist my favorite caffe americano as well!

Starbucks 2

So cute, I bought one for myself too!

Walk around Negros Occidental Capitol Park and Lagoon!

Negros Capitol 1

Negros Capitol 2

Negros Capitol 3

Negros Capitol 4

Negros Capitol 5

Negros Capitol 6

 Visit the Negros Museum.

NM Facade

The museum is behind the provincial capitol!

NM Opening Hours

The museum entrance fee is Php 100 per person. Take the guided tour.

NM 1

The guide will walk you through pre-colonial Negros through the murals on the walls on the ground floor, before going up to see various exhibits in connection with Negros history!

NM 2

Replica of a train used in transporting sugar canes from the fields!

NM 3

The way to mill and refine sugar canes in the old days!

NM 4

NM 5

NM 6

The exhibit on Cinco de Noviembre.

NM 7

NM 8

Don’t miss the special section of the museum (sorry, not allowed to take pictures in that part of the museum). You are in for a treat. Inside this section, beautiful toys and other collectibles from all over the world from the collection of Ms. Mara Montelibano, are on display. Your tour guide will take you there towards the end of the tour!

Have another coffee time at the Negros Museum Cafe.

MC 1

MC 2

MC 3

MC 4

MC 5

MC 6

MC 7

Cooked Talisay Ham Sandwich!

MC 8


• Explore Downtown Bacolod!

BC 1

Take any Libertad bound jeepney/taxi and get off at the cathedral.

BC 2

My photo of the beautiful interiors was blurry! 😦

BC 3

SM Mall

Walk through this mall and you will see the John Paul II Tower!

JP II Tower

We didn’t go up the all-glass building, as it was already a bit dark, but the view from up there must be incredible!

JP II Tower 2

Bacolod Baywalk

Beyond the John Paul II Center is the Bacolod Baywalk. I can’t remember how much is the  entrance fee to this place But it is just either Php 10 or Php 20!

Bacolod Baywalk View 1

Bacolod Baywalk View 2

Bacolod Masskara 1


Bacolod Masskara 3

Dine at Aida’s Chicken at Manokan Country

Manokan Country


Taste the best inasal in the city at Aida’s! This, on the recommendation of my local friend. Manokan Country is just before SM Bacolod and after the Cathedral!


Shop for souvenirs and pasalubong at the Negros Showroom along Lacson Street. The place has a lot of beautiful and very nice local products. Aside from these two, I also bought a beautiful abaca bangles which is now a favorite accessory!

Negros Showroom 2

Canvas tote bag with hand painted design I found at this place.

Sugar Rush Logo

Print on the t-shirt I found at the Negros Showroom!

Go to Panaad Park and Sports Complex. Our Negros Museum guide told us that a real train that was used in the transporting sugar canes in the old days can be found in this place, so off we go, especially after we decided not to go to Victorias Milling on this trip. I was also curious about this place as I remember that a Philippine Azkals game was played at the Panaad Stadium. Panaad is far, if we will measure the distance from where we have been, which was the Negros Museum.


Panaad Train

Panaad Bacolod Replica

Replica of the Bacolod City Hall. You can find the  replicas of all the town and city halls of Negros Occidental in this complex!

Panaad Bago Replica

Panaad Grounds

Panaad Silay Replica

Mall fix at The District. Getting out of Panaad commuting became a bit of a challenge as we were not familiar with the jeepney routes, and the area itself, anymore. Not much taxis either in that area. Luckily, we found this very nice taxi driver after a while. We asked him to take us to The District in the neighboring Talisay for our mall fix. He was also the one who took us back to the airport the following day for Php 500. We ate lunch there, had coffee, and then just went around.

The District 1

The District

The Art District in Mandalagan. We managed to reach it after getting lost. We missed the stop to Mandalagan. There was not much activity in the area when we went there in the afternoon. Maybe, it is best to go there in the evening as I noticed there are several places where you can sit out and drink.  After braving a dark stairway, we found the Gallery Orange and the current exhibit there.







Next, and that is after I have written the update to my fan fiction, my trips to Talisay and Silay! 🙂


Note: Sorry, this one is very long post. I put more information and photos, more than I would normally do, (including rates, prices of stuffs, fees, and also some links for more information) for those of you who would like to go there as well, and also for people who will end up in this blog, looking for information, like I do, before going to a place. I hope you will find this post useful!  


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