What’s our next destination?
We’re not talking about the second largest city in Spain. Actually, we were on the second day of our backpacking trip in Bicol. We were in Sorsogon. So how on earth a van could travel all the way to Europe? Haha!
Europe is a dream. Europe is a goal. But right now, let’s travel the Philippines. Let’s explore our very own country before we travel the rest of the world.
Yes, there’s a town in Sorsogon called Barcelona. A town’s name that is rich in story and history.
The moment we got off the van, the first thing I noticed was some cars parked on the side of the street. It’s a sign that the old town is slowly becoming a tourist destination in Bicol.
Then lo and behold, these huge red and white letters of Barcelona Sorsogon caught my attention. Placed in the middle of the park beside the beautiful sun flowers and overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean, it was definitely a must photo op for everyone.
There were a lot of tourists. Then after a few minutes, the travel buddies Harold and Glenn were able to snatch the limelight. Haha!They were taking some selfies and groufies when I got a chance to post solo. I was just happy for this photo!
Across this park is the Barcelona Church, one of the oldest churches in Bicol. Just beside the Barcelona photo op is a ruins of a Spanish era building. I looked for the history details on the structure. Usually an old building has this plate where you could just read its history. But I found nothing. Good thing I saw this small structure that says Municipal Tourist Assistance Office.
I went there and talked to the Tourism Officers. They were very accommodating. They told me they’re happy to see someone like me who’s really interested about their town’s history.
Of course! Hehe
The History of Barcelona, Sorsogon
Just like most of the towns in the Philippines, the early settlers of Barcelona are the tribal communities of Danlog. They were mostly hunters and fishermen.
In the early 1800’s Spaniards arrived and claimed the entire community. They later named the place “Barcelona” in honor of then Capital town of Spain which is Cataluna.
They later constructed the church which is just across the Ruins Park, they call it St. Joseph Church which is now popularly known as Barcelona Church.
I just walked across the other side of the road and found this old church.
What is so amazing about this church is its old design and feel, which later confirmed by the tourism officers that the original façade and look of the church remains unaltered.
It was built in 1874 by then Governadorcillo Juan Evasco, which is made of coral rocks. Looking its façade makes you feel that you were transported back to the Spanish era of our country.
I went inside the church to say a little prayer.
I always do this whenever I visit a church in my travels. I don’t know why but I have become prayerful this past years especially when my father died last January. It was one of the darkest, saddest moments of my life and for my family. So whenever I visit a church I always think of him. I always pray for him, for my family. And I am always thankful for my life. My travels and personal experiences have made me the appreciative and grateful person that I am today.
The Ruins of Presidencia Building
Across the church is what they call the Barcelona Ruins Park. One of the noticeable structure is the old ruins of “Presidencia Building.”
This used to be the seat of government of Barcelona much like a municipal hall nowadays, and also a fortress from pirates’ attacks. Imagine that! The tourism officer told me that there are underground tunnels from the structure going to the church which was used during the war, but it’s not advisable to explore it now for safety reasons.
After the Spanish and Japanese wars, Presidencia building was reverted back as seat of the municipal government, but due to series of typhoons that hit the town during the years the walls and the building were totally destroyed. But still this has become a historical landmark for the town.
After a few minutes, I heard someone called my name.
Yeah! The gang was complete and ready to take a group photo of the famous Barcelona Sorsogon. It was fun to be with these people. It was my first time to meet all of them but since we were together for 3 days straight, we’ve become friends. Thanks Nhel for these group photos. Look!
When I became a traveler a few years back was the only time I’ve become aware of Barcelona, Sorsogon. All these years, all I know is Barcelona, Spain. Haha!
And seeing it the first time was not just a delight but more like a travel to the past with its old structures. It has always been a pleasure for me witnessing and learning history through travels.
Just in case you’re going to travel to Sorsogon, visit the historical town of Barcelona.
Barcelona, Sorsogon – How to get there?
Just 45 minute fly from Manila to Legazpi or ten hour-road trip from Manila to Barcelona. From Sorsogon City, ride a jeepney going to Barcelona for one hour travel time.
You may also contact below from the Barcelona Municipal and Tourism Office.
Atty. Manuel “Wowo” Fortes
Chairman, Tourism Trade and Industry
Joyce Anne Gerona
Municipal Tourism Officer
09089276481 / 09173487084
Source: Barcelona Tourist Assistance Office
Barcelona Sorsogon Map
Travel Guide to Sorsogon? Please check this post , Sorsogon Tourist Spots in Two Days