Narra-frame glass doors swing open to the dining room set on a transparent floor that gives diners a full view of the water underneath. The dining room blinds open to the view of the swimming pool behind. –PAUL SANJUAN
The grand homes in Bacolod City are becoming tourist attractions.
Of particular interest are the ancestral houses of families that dominated the sugar industry. The most prominent among these is perhaps the ruins of the turn-of-the-century mansion built by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson and his wife, Maria Braga Lacson.
Now known as The Ruins, it is a popular tourist attraction. It’s actually in the nearby town of Talisay, yet when seasoned travelers think of Bacolod, it’s that house that comes to mind.
But the people of Bacolod aren’t dwelling in the past.
Today’s affluent families are building beautiful houses that are distinctive architecture statements.
Among these is the house designed by Bacolod architect Antonio Zayco. It is a two-story update on the traditional ancestral home.
With its impressive architecture and impeccably landscaped entrance, the house is hard to miss. At the main entrance by the circular driveway is a small garden accented by boulders and huge Burmese jars, and a koi pond.
The imposing narra front door serves as introduction to the modern architecture and the minimalist lines.
The use of narra and imported sandstone adds a special texture to both the exteriors and interiors.
The house is unmistakably a tropical home designed for the Philippine setting.
According to the lady of the house, she and her husband (who both preferred anonymity for this story) had wanted a Bacolod architect like Zayco to build their house.
She said, “We told him that we wanted a house that was conducive to parties. We love to entertain friends, business associates and relatives. So we needed lots of space, both inside the house and in the garden.”
They commissioned some of the most prolific names in design. Aside from Zayco, they tapped the acclaimed sisters team of designers, Cynthia and Ivy Almario, to do the interiors.
For the garden, they asked the foremost but low-key landscapist Ponce Veridiano.
The main living area is airy and spacious, with a high ceiling and clean, linear look.
But the Almario sisters turned the vast social area into an intimate living room, with long and low-slung sofas and linear tables, several throw pillows and the owners’ personal art collection.
What lends the house its distinct design is how the vast living room is made to look like it frames the dining room beyond—with the use of pivoting massive wood-framed glass doors.
The swimming pool is in full view from the formal dining room. This is an inventive example of how to bring the outdoors indoors.
But the house takes this design to a new level—the pool extends into the house itself.
The dining room floor uses transparent glass—to make you feel as if you’re walking on water in the dining room floor and that you’re having dinner on the pool. It’s a unique feature that adds panache to the setting.
This design feature creates a soothing environment conducive to meditation. The sight and sound of running water, both in the pool and the indoor koi pond, can lull you to sleep.
What makes the interiors and exteriors look distinct is the special material used to cover the walls. The Almarios recommended the use of sandstone from Egypt.
This sandstone has a warm color that approximates the look of hardwood, particularly narra. This way, the reliance on real hardwood is minimized.
The owners’ passion for unique artifacts is evident in the living area.
The pièce de résistance is the authentic Maranao drum ensconced in the living room by the front door. Shipped in from Lanao del Sur, the drum is roughly 10 feet high. It adds an exotic touch to the surroundings and despite its enormous size, it surprisingly doesn’t dominate the interiors. It’s a dramatic accent to the abundant space, the height of the ceiling, and the sleek interiors.
Both the living room and dining area lead to the lanai, which is yet another venue to entertain guests. Modern circular-shaped sofas distinguish this room from the living area. They’re positioned to look out to the garden lined with royal palm trees, all of which were purchased from the Cojuangco estate.
Looming over 15 feet high, the palms give the garden a glamorous Beverly Hills vibe.
But the overall look is exotically Asian. It’s a home that feels like a vacation house where one can eat, pray, love and celebrate the night away. –CONTRIBUTED