Poctol, Bulusan, Sorsogon
by lakwatserong tatay
After our journey to Lake Bulusan, we headed to the town of Rizal and Gutbat, Sorsogon, but before going exact to that placed. We missed not miss this opportunity to see the one of the historical sites of Sorsogon. Also known as Bulusan's Belfry and the Parish Church of St. James the Greater of Bulusan, Sorsogon.
This tower is the biggest among the five baluartes de piedra (stone watch towers) which, together with the thick and high stone walls, comprise Punta Diamante, the stone fort that encloses the church & rectory of the Parish of St. James the Greater in Bulusan, Sorsogon.
Believed to have been built even before 1799, the tower now serves as the church belfry, with the old bells still intact.
The "campanario" as it is locally known, is also a good vantage point wherein one could enjoy a commanding view of the poblacion, of the Tawog Point, Bulusan Volcano, and the wide expanse of the Pacific. Gone were the Moro piracy days but one could still imagine their colorful sailboats coming up the sea, bringing terror to the inhabitants.
Under its bells, Buluseños and evacuees from other towns sought refuge inside the stone fort -- for Bulusan was then considered to be comparatively affluent and well-protected, as evidenced by its watch towers.
After two centuries, the belfry at Bulusan has been serving more than its purpose. Standing tall and proud amidst the ages, it has and will always be a symbol of pride & unity for the Buluseños, and the Sorsoganons at large.
|St. James the Greater Parish Church|
First and foremost, the church in Bulusan, Sorsogon is dedicated to St. James the Greater, not St. Joseph (although one of Bulusan’s current visitas is indeed dedicated to this saint).
The church had already seen a major renovation in the sixties up to the year 1970 - when the new facade totally eradicated its original baroque appearance. Prior to these renovations, the church at Bulusan had been one of the oldest in the present province of Sorsogon, and the former province of Albay. Sorsogon as a province was once a part of Albay, until 1894 when it gained independence.
The old Spanish church must have been erected sometime around 1760, when the townsite was moved to its current location in the plains - from its original upland founding site. It had been already established though that the town indeed was once a mere visita of Casiguran until it became a separate parish in 1630, and became the first pueblo civil among the present-day Sorsogon towns, when it was elevated yet again to this status a year later.
Other visitas that would later become separate parroquias/pueblos were: Gubat (1771/1764), Matnog (1785/1800), Bulan (Gate - 1690, rebuilt 1801), Barcelona (1867/1866), Irosin (1873/1880), and Santa Magdalena (1890/1894-from Bulusan then under Matnog).
Today, the walls are almost still intact. There were a total of four baluartes de piedra included in this development - the biggest of which now serves as the church belfry.
|in photo session mode|
|left side of the church|
|Here is the cemetery area on this Church|
|Balaurte de Piedra|
|Church bell on this tower|
|it's been XPLORED|