Restoring Gabaldon schoolhouses

|August 03,2015 - 01:01 AM

When super typhoon Nitang struck Cebu in 1984, a Gabaldon schoolhouse in Jampang, Argao sustained massive damage.

Five years later, the building that housed the Jampang Primary School in the early 1900s was still in disrepair.

It had gained a reputation of being haunted.

But 74-year-old Simplicia Camporedondo still remembers the schoolhouse with fondness. A retired school teacher, Simplicia spent her grade school years in the Gabaldon schoolhouse.

When it was finally restored in June this year, Simplicia was more than happy.

“I have seen how beautiful the Gabaldon school buildings used to be. But now, it is even more beautiful and can even accommodate up to 70 pupils,” she said.

Gabaldon schoolhouses are heritage buildings constructed in the Philippines between 1907 and 1946 based on the designs of Architect William E. Parsons.

They were named after the late assemblyman Isauro Gabaldon of Nueva Ecija, who authored the Gabaldon Act which appropriated P1 million for the construction of modern public schools nationwide.

It was in these Gabaldon school buildings that Filipino students in the early part of the 20th century learned how to read and write. Most of these buildings have been damaged and left unused.

To restore these buildings, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) has partnered with the Cebu provincial government and the host local government units. A P40-million restoration project was  initiated in 2011 and will run for 5 years.

The Gabaldon building in Jampang, built in 1939, was among five schoolhouses restored since last year.  Eight more buildings will be restored  this year.

“We, Jampanganons, are very happy with the restoration of the Gabaldon building. We owe much gratitude to the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.,” Simplicia said.

She said the Gabaldon schoolhouse has seen many Jampanganons complete their primary education.

“Happy kaayo ko kay ang akong mga students sa una kay teacher na pud ari sa Jampang (I am very happy because my students before have become teachers in Jampang as well),” she said.

To be restored by RAFI and the local government units are the Gabaldon schoolhouses in Bantayan Central School in Bantayan, Catmon Integrated School in Catmon, Elpidio De Dios Elementary School in Carmen, Inghoy Elementary School in Alegria, Lepanto Elementary School in Alegria, Luyang Elementary School in Carmen, Madridejos Elementary School in Madridejos and Pinamungajan Elementary School in Pinamungajan./ Jay-Ileen Engalla, PIT Intern

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