Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Silay City "Gabaldons"

The City of Silay has three certified Gabaldon school buildings, although I still have to check if the Gaston Elementary School (1936) is also a Gabaldon.  What are Gabaldons?  In 1907, the Philippine Assmbly passed Act No. 1801, authored by Assemblyman Isauro Gabaldon of Nueva Ecija, widely known as GABALDON ACT. This act appropriated a budget for the "construction of schoolhouses of strong materials in barrios with guaranteed daily attendance of not less than sixty pupils…"  These schools were known as "Gabaldon School Buildings" or simply "Gabaldon," long after the expiration of Act 1801. They followed standard plans designed by Architect William Parsons and were built between 1907 and 1946. The earlier ones were built of wood, while those that came later were partly made of cement. The North Elementary School was completed in 1907 while the South Elementary School was finished in 1919.

In 1960, our small family moved to a rented apartment right across Silay South Elementary School. I was not in school yet and so it was my daily routine to go and play in that wide expanse of grass across the street. I spent many happy, carefree days here playing with my childhood friends and neighbors, Daiding and Chona.  I remember that there was this really humongous well at the south side of the front yard of the school which we were not supposed to go near, but then curiosity got the better of us. My "yaya" (nanny) would come with us to look at it and tell all kinds of horror stories which scared us enough never to go near it unless "yaya" was there.  During weekends, this was our private playground and the 3 of us had the time of our young lives, running up and down the corridors, the quadrangle, rolling in the grass, playing hide and seek, and making my "yaya" a nervous wreck!  It never entered our young minds that this school had a lot of history and was a future heritage structure.  Later, as a voting teen (our polling place was located here) I revisited the area and that well did not seem to be that big anymore, but I  guess when you are 4 years old, it was pretty huge.

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The North Elementary School besides the public plaza was the school where my father spent part of his elementary grades.  Their ancestral house was just on the other side of the plaza, behind the city hall and less than a one minute run away. Although I never got to enter the premises, it was an imposing structure being located right at main street at the center of the town.  The main building was condemned a few years back and I thought, it will be gone one of these days...but last week, I was happily surprised to see that it was being repaired and restored. I heard that this was made through the efforts of the current DepEd Director for Region 6, Mrs. Mildred Garay who is an alumni of the school. Thank you, Ma'am!

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and so....I am happy to say...Finally, this Gabaldon will live again!

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