Gabaldon Stride

Gabaldon Schoolhouses is a collective term for heritage schoolhouses built in the Philippines between 1907 and 1946 that follow standard plans. The structures count by the thousands and are spread out all over the archipelago, with some towns or cities having two or more.

Fifty-one “Gabaldons” were completed by 1911 and by 1916; four hundred five more were constructed bringing the total number of classrooms to one thousand eight hundred fifty-two. Three hundred twenty seven of these “Gabaldons” were made of concrete. In the Gabaldon-style school, there was architectural harmony between the main building and other accessory structures. As it turned out, an elegantly-designed school instilled in both teachers and students a certain pride and an appreciation for the finer things in life.

Many of them run down by time, the elements, looting and neglect, are enjoying a restoration boom with a strong thrust for conserving the original, functional design.

Here in Iloilo City, we also have a lot of gabaldons. Schools like Rizal Elementary School, Iloilo National High School, West Visayas State University and many more.

Others served as hospitals, town halls or evacuation centers in times of war and calamities.
More importantly, it was in the rooms, libraries and wide grounds of the Gabaldon buildings that American and Filipino educators helped unlock the potentials of students.

Being a former student of IHNS and present student of WVSU, where there is gabaldon that makes the center of the campus and it is the most vintage style of architecture

INHS Gabaldon’s center room was huge and wide, it has mini stage like to be used for small activities of the school and its window divided by a wooden partition that could be folded.

In fact, it’s a mere one-story affair, but I looked at it with awe. Its ceiling was high, about five meters. I thought giants walked through the corridors of Gabaldon. It had a long five-tread flight of stairs leading to its elevated portico, which we used as stage on special occasions.
But perhaps one of the most poignant memories of the Gabaldon and a vivid description of the edifice comes from one who passed through its halls.

Its original construction of wood supported by a concrete base survives. A verandah wraps around the ground floor and an old acacia tree shades its open second story.

Large sliding kapis windows above ventanillas that reach to the floor open up large sections of wall to the outdoors. To maximize the interior airflow, interior partitions have rows of pierced wooden fretwork panels that meet the high ceiling, allowing air to freely circulate within the building.

Its high-pitched, galvanized-iron roofing sweeps way past windows and walls with a generous overhang that shades the building and keeps rain away.

Its rooms were big and wide, with lauan floors. Its doors were imposing and made from thick and heavy narra. It had a cavernous basement, also home of the bats, snakes, and giant rats.

The building is breezy and cool. Being inside the restored building today proves that old-style tropical architecture is still the best for our climate

The building is breezy and cool. Being inside the restored building today proves that old-style tropical architecture is still the best for our climate.

Mature shade trees cool the breeze that once again flows through the large windows.

The restored building shows that instead of being rendered obsolete, old structures can still be recycled for modern academic uses. The ground floor of the newly restored building will house a state-of-the art computer laboratory, a music room, and administrative offices.

A pioneering partnership by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) has been implementing the Heritage School Building Restoration Program.

The rationale behind the program is to make history come alive for teachers and students by recycling historic structures not as ivory-tower museums but as classrooms and laboratories for everyday use. The program projects heritage as touching all aspects of daily life, not as an irrelevant, elitist notion as the common misconception has it.

So that teachers and students will be more comfortable in using again the heritage building.

School buildings with historical importance like gabaldons, we should maintain its beauty and elegance. Because it is the only thing that alumni could remember in every almamater.



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