In this Southernmost part of Luzon lies a forgotten cultural and historic jewel that is – Bulusan’s Punta Diamante.
Punta Diamante and its entire fort complex is the only remaining structure of its kind in the province of Sorsogon. Still intact today, it is a testament of Bulusan’s days of glory and prominence. It was constructed at a time when neighboring municipalities including Barcelona town were still part of the Old Bulusan which covered almost all the entire second district of the Province of Sorsogon.
The Kampanaryo (belfry) is the most prominent structure of the muralla enclosing the vast expanse of the churchyard. The entire defense complex including the forgotten watch towers dotting along the Pacific Ocean shores of Bulusan are truly marvels of cultural and historic significance not only for Bulusan but for the entire Bicol region and the country.
Wikipedia’s Bulusan article reads:
“In 1799, as a defense and warning measure against the Moro pirates, the principalias [leaders] of the different coastal towns of Albay – convened in their respective town halls and drew up plans for the building of baluartes (watchtowers) in strategic locations along the shore. On April 20, 1799, Bulusan’s leaders decided to build two lanchas cañoneras [armed ships] to be commanded by actual gobernadorcillo Don Juan Macsimiano and ex-gobernadorcillo Don Juan Tomas. The town of Bulusan built the most number of baluartes de piedra [stone watchtowers]. The town erected watchtowers, one each in Macabare, Tawog and Layog (now a part of Barcelona).
Near the community of Dapdap, a bigger triangular muralla [fortification] called Punta Diamante which encloses the church and rectory of the Parish of St. James the Greater was erected. Punta Diamante has around five watchtowers with high and thick walls, making it an ideal place for refuge during Moro attacks. Unlike the other watchtowers which are cylindrical & of circular bases, the one facing the sea has a base shaped as a diamond (with 8 sides) and tapers upwards in alternating tiers, hence the name Punta Diamante. This watchtower now serves as the church’s bell tower, with the old bells still intact.”
My photos are just small sections of this historic complex.
To rectify this historical remissness, Bulusanons are currently lobbying for Punta Diamante’s inclusion as a historical landmark with the official marker from the National Historical Institute (NHI) now NHCP or the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to be installed on the walls of this historic gem.
Photos: Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines