What it means to defy the sands of time

In 1874, nine years after the town of Barcelona in Sorsogon was officially established, the Franciscans built a parish church dedicated to St. Joseph near the banks of the Danlog River—an establishment that would later defy the sands of time and weave itself into that of both the town and the region’s history.

Crafted with coral, river stones, and a mortar fortified with lime, egg whites, and the local coconut wine called “tuba,” this timeless masterpiece, currently known as the Barcelona Church, stands as a sacred relic that reflects the town’s stories of the past and the lives lived by its people.

Aging approximately 150 years old, Barcelona Church has long been considered as one of the oldest churches in the Bicol region. This venerable structure, despite such temporal passage, remains remarkably well-preserved. Its original walls, belfry, and facade have weathered numerous repairs which did not, in any way, detract its historical significance—retaining the church’s historical integrity, adding to its timeless charm.

In 2020, the church was declared as an important cultural property under RA 10066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009. Under the guidance and with the assistance of the National Historical Commission, Barcelona Church underwent significant restorations.

Said meticulous restoration not only breathed new life into this architectural gem but also paid homage to its rich history and structural authenticity by simply focusing only on refortifying its overall exterior. As for the sanctuary hidden within its doors, it has become a breathtaking work of art where various religious scenes are painted on the ceiling, harmoniously linked together by ornately painted patterns.

Apart from its storied historical essence, Barcelona Church truly is a sight to behold, which is why the next time you find yourself in the region, make sure to visit this classic work of art and enjoy its eternal grandeur. | Kian Kirby F. Florano