Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Old Abran Capital: Bucay

(This post is part of my Abra Townhopping last June 15, 2013)

I left Bangued for Bucay at about 8am. The tricycle terminal from Bangued to Bucay is just a few steps away from the entrance of Victoria Park, across a gasoline station. We reached Bucay after about 15 minutes, passing through the town of Peñarubia.

You will know you are already in Bucay through two things: the first one is the orange and red colored town welcome arch heralding Bucay as the first capital of Abra. The other one is the big letters, spelled BUCAY, ABRA perched at a hill’s side akin to the famous Hollywood mountainside landmark.

Bucay was the capital of Abra for almost 17 years. The moment the province of Abra was created, Bucay was also made the capital, instead of the older and more populous town of Bangued. The picture below from Mr. Jose Perdigon’s website shows how Bucay was planned as the capital.

On the year 1863, the capital was moved to Bangued through the clamor of some town mayors particularly of Bangued, La Paz and Tayum. From then on, Bucay became just a regular municipality.


Upon reaching the town proper, I immediately embarked on a very short walking tour around it. I noticed the newly and beautifully built municipal hall of Bucay and the spacious town plaza in front of it. I also saw the town church on the other side of the road but I didn’t got to check it out because I am looking for something.

The very reason I went to the town of Bucay is to have a glimpse of the old Casa Real of which only the façade is now standing. I asked the tricycle driver whether he knows where it is but he said no and told me that we will just ask the people in the town. We asked some people and they also said they don’t know. I told the driver to drop me off at the police station. And my decision was right because the officer on duty readily pointed me to the ruins.

The Casa Real façade is actually just some steps away from the municipal hall. If you are facing the municipal hall, you just have to take the road on the left side and 25-30 steps are enough to reach it. I did just that and, voila!  The remnant of the past is now standing in front of me.

I was amazed because that was the first time I saw a Casa Real ruins. Some of the Casa Real I saw, Casa Real de Malolos for example, doesn’t have that kind of façade. It was just sad because that façade is the only remaining part of the old glorious Casa Real de Bucay. Parts of the casa real were reportedly destroyed when the river at the back swelled and ate up some of the soil where the casa real’s foundation is.

The topmost part of the façade even clearly shows a Spanish Coat of Arms, a symbol which reminds the people of the golden years of Bucay.

I hope that the people of Bucay rediscover the lost history of their town. The knowledge of the historic Casa Real can be a simple first step. The local government should have an information drive about the town’s history and the importance of that surviving Casa Real façade. I felt sad when some of the people we asked don’t know where the Casa Real is. I hope next time a traveler asks them where it is, they can readily point him to the place. And I also hope that the local government ensures the existence and preservation of the façade for the coming generations.

After some 20 minutes of exploring the town proper, I immediately get back to Bangued because I was already hungry and would want to have a taste of their very own mami. The fare from Bucay to Bangued is 50 pesos as well as the fare from Bangued to Bucay. That is if you are willing to wait for other passengers. Because I want to visit Bucay as early as possible, I contracted the driver for 150.

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About the Author

I am ROMEL RAFOR JAIME, the man behind San Josenyong Gala. My travel blogger name came about because I am a proud resident of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. In real life, I am a licensed librarian who works in a college in Gapan, Nueva Ecija as a librarian and teaches general education subjects from time to time. My goal is to visit all the 81 provinces of the Philippines before visiting other countries. As of 2017, I have already visited 73... :)

1 comment :

  1. you did a good job on showing the beauty of bucay, abra =) i wish i can visit casa real de bucay someday . - jonalyn racelis