The 105-year-old Provincial Capitol of Sorsogon finally got its much-awaited facelift.
The all-white edifice, inaugurated recently, has been restored and renovated to its original neo-classical design. It bears a striking resemblance to the United States’ White House and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, with doric columns that were prominent during the American period. The entire building stayed true to a singular motif.
The structure dates back to 1916 and was designed by architect William Edward Parsons, the man behind many of the public buildings in the Philippines, including the Gabaldon schools.
The building was constructed during the administration of Gov. Victor Eco, under the tutelage of American contractor Engr. B.T. Mills and the supervision of then-Sorsogon Dist. Engr. Henry B. Lilly. Notable Filipino architects Juan N. Arellano and Tomas Mapua were responsible for its maintenance beginning 1926.
The structure, however, never really reached completion when one considers Parsons’ original design. It was only finished when Chiz Escudero took office as governor of the province.
The vision to fulfill this century-old dream began when Gov. Escudero retrieved the original architectural plan of the Sorsogon Provincial Capitol from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). To keep faithful to the building’s original design, he sought the expertise of the Commission’s architects and designers and Centerways Construction’s Chino Lubiano throughout the execution of the project.
The Capitol’s lobby evokes the image of a hotel foyer, with ornate railings leading to the second-floor. It has spacious offices and five conference rooms. On display at the biggest conference room are portraits of the province’s past governors and vice governors. The building is also equipped with an elevator, making it PWD friendly.
Escudero says the two-storey structure will be a one-stop shop that will house all of their provincial department offices.
During his speech at the inauguration, Escudero said he envisioned the Provincial Capitol to be open 24 hours so that people can visit, walk through its corridors, and hallways, and see the paintings on display done by local and regional artists.
But more than being a landmark and a tourist spot, Escudero said he would like the Provincial Capitol Building to be a symbol of good governance and genuine public service. “It is my hope that future governors of this province will hold it in their hearts what this century-old buildings stands for, mabuting pamahalaan at tunay na serbisyo publiko para sa ating mga ka-probinsya,” he said.
The structure stands in the middle of the 12-hectare capitol complex and was rebuilt thru funding from the national government. An article published by Bluprint magazine said the NHCP had already recommended the site as a historical and cultural landmark.