Barcelona, Sorsogon: Fragments of the Past
No, it’s not Spain’s second largest city, not even the football club of the multi-decorated Argentinian forward, Lionel Messi, and definitely, not the local brandy “Manoy” Eddie Garcia is endorsing (he’s from Sorsogon City, though). But in fact, the town was named after the nostalgic sentiments of Spanish conquistadores longing for home. A quick historical detour in Barcelona, Sorsogon tells us how the town got the name and the fragments the Spaniards left.
Facade of St. Joseph Parish Church of Barcelona, Sorsogon commonly known as Barcelona Church.
A thriving community of hunters and fishermen called Danlog once settled at the river mouth of Danlog River. When Spanish expeditions set out in Sorsogon (still under Albay during that time, and Barcelona was a barrio of Bulusan), the small tribe was overthrown while the invaders claimed possession over the land. The coastal topography of the conquered land resembled that of Cataluña‘s capital city, Barcelona. Thus, the homesick explorers coined the town after España’s second largest city.
Stained-glass art of religious images on Barcelona Church’s windows.
Soon after the Spanish conquest, the Franciscan Order built St. Joseph Parish Church, or commonly known as, Barcelona Church, which today stands as one of Barcelona’s main attraction. Materials used in construction were coral stones, beaten egg whites, and a local wine called “tuba“. Many renovation and restoration projects were conducted but the original facade, the walls, and the bell tower were completely left untouched. Barcelona Church is considered among the oldest churches in the Bicol Region.
Interior of Barcelona Church.
Across the church vicinity lay the ruins of the “Presidencia Building” and an elementary school built for the Spanish and ilustrados. During the Japanese occupation, a devastating typhoon ripped off the buildings’ roof and was abandoned from then on. Today, the stone buildings stood silently facing the sea and remains a mute witness to Barcelona, Sorsogon’s history.
I think there will be restoration efforts to avoid further vandalism of the ruins.
I’ve always been fascinated by age-old structures, local museums and historical monument. These tell us not only about a town’s past, but also its present and the future. The 30-minute side trip to Barcelona, Sorsogon, though quick and cut short, somehow gave me an overview about the town’s rich past which gave more color to these historical monuments.
Now, here are some fast facts that may help you on the road trip:
1. Commuting directions to Barcelona, Sorsogon: From Sorsogon City, take a jeep bound for Gubat, then take another jeepney bound for either Barcelona or Bulusan.
2. Avoid vandalism.
4. Please Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook.
5. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter.
6. Drive safely, and enjoy your trip.