My townmate friend commented in one of our conversations that Barcelona town is way ahead when it comes to heritage management (tangible structures) than Bulusan. He voiced this fact after my series of photo blogs featuring the beautiful Barcelona heritage structures – old Barcelona church and the ruins of old buildings fronting it. Yes, even old ruins can be potential tourist draws.
In contrast however, the Punta Diamante in Bulusan with its more intact form is seldom visited if not totally forgotten as a heritage tourist attraction.
Bulusan cultural heritage as a tourist draw is in itself very attractive and interesting if you know where to look. The town is dotted with these ruins from end to end of the Poblacions – Sabang to Dapdap. The Punta Diamante for one in the Church compound is a sprawling piece of historical gem. Then why is it not picking up as a tourist must-visit site just like the Barcelona ruins?
The answer maybe is as simple as this: It is because the main attraction was not there for a long time – the old Bulusan Baroque Church (photo). It was demolished long time ago to give way to a new chapel-like structure for reasons that the present generation of Bulusanons have no knowledge of. The existing church structure though a practical substitute seems to make the remaining historical structure less visible. It highlighted the new structure rather than the old. In fact the old ruins at the back of the church (next photo) remained hidden from view and recently converted into a cemetery ground.
The nearest architectural style of the old Bulusan church is the Lazi Church of Siquijor – a national heritage site included in the tentative list of Baroque Churches of the Philippines for world heritage structure inclusion by the UNESCO. The old Bulusan Church complex however is more than just a place of worship. It is a Fortress of which the Punta Diamante – a diamond-shape defense structure of thick stone walls encloses the compound. It can be seen today except for the old church structure.
Photo of the Old Bulusan Baroque Church courtesy of Bulusan Heritage Enthusiasts’ FB site.
Photo of the remnant back wall of the Old church of Bulusan by Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines.