May 19 is the Feast Day of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of Barcelona, Sorsogon. The town is adjacent to Bulusan and share the same beautiful eastern sea coast of Sorsogon province.
Barcelona town was formerly a part of Old Bulusan during the Spanish rule when almost all towns of the second district of the province of Sorsogon were under the political and geographical territories of Bulusan. This changed however in the late 18th century and early 19th century when several towns including Barcelona were given their own parroqia. Barcelona became a separate town in the year 1866.
Nevertheless, the local culture and the dialect remain intertwined with Bulusan up to the present.
Barcelona is currently the toast of the province’s cultural and heritage tourism thrust mainly because of its intact Spanish colonial period church. It is said that Barcelona Church is the most photographed heritage structure in the whole province of Sorsogon – a fact I was able to observe as true with several visitors passing by the area just to get photographs of the church and the ruins of the old Presidencia building just across it.
As usual, I visited the church to offer my prayers and light candles (pailaw) to Saint Joseph after the peak hours of the fiesta. It was around 3:00 PM when I arrived at the church. The afternoon’s breeze from the sea across the street fronting the church mingled with the quietness of the place. There were few remaining devotees to Saint Joseph quietly praying with some visitors coming in trickles for some photo ops and selfies.
It was a memorable visit and a chance to thank the Saint for prayers answered.
Photos: Alma P. Gamil