USC, RAFI conducts seminar on conservation of Gabaldons

USC, RAFI conducts seminar on conservation of Gabaldons



The University of San Carlos College of Architecture and Fine Arts-Conservation and Heritage Research Institute and Workshop (USC CAFA-CHERISH) and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) held a seminar on developing a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) last March 17 at the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center.

A pool of architects from the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Cebu District attended the one-day seminar, which aimed to present the historical and architectural significance of Gabaldon schools; raise awareness on the importance of conserving heritage structures; and impart knowledge on the preparation of a CMP.

The CMP is a pre-requisite in the restoration of Gabaldon school buildings. Gabaldons are post-American war era school buildings built in 1899-1911. They symbolize the start of the formal public education system in the Philippines. Gabaldons are big school buildings made of wood and strong materials and have wide corridors and lofty ceilings.

An old dilapidated Gabaldon school building in Carcar, Cebu was restored through the School Rehabilitation Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI).

“The fact that we, Filipinos, have these Gabaldons is something that we should be proud of. Gabaldons are our legacy that need our care,” architect Carlos Pio Zafra, manager of USC-CHERISH, said in his lecture on the historical and architectural significance of Gabaldons.

In the afternoon session, the architects were taught about the process in crafting a CMP.

“The CMPs will be our guide in ensuring proper conservation of our Gabaldons,” Anthony Dignadice, executive director of the Education Development Unit of RAFI, said.

Concerned about the construction of toilets in some Gabaldons, engineer Victor Yntig, physical facilities coordinator of the Department of Education (DepEd), signified his support in the advocacy by committing to send a directive on the proper conservation of Gabaldon school buildings to school administrators.

“As early as now, it would be better to have an information drive about this conservation project to inform the schools and the parent-teachers associations that we are doing something for the Gabaldons,” added architect Panfilo Castro of UAP Sugbu Chapter during the seminar’s open forum.

Officials from the DepEd and municipal engineers from selected local government units in the province of Cebu also joined the lecture-seminar.

In partnership with the USC-CHERISH, RAFI will be conducting another CMP training for volunteer architects from the four UAP Chapters—Sugbo, Cebu, Rajah Humabon, and Lapu-Lapu chapters. These architects will be crafting the CMPs for the Gabaldon school buildings that will be restored under the Gabaldon Restoration Project of RAFI.

The Gabaldon Restoration Project is a sub-component of RAFI’s School Rehabilitation Program, one of the initiatives of RAFI under its Education focus area, believing that shaping the next generation of talent begins with nurturing the love for learning. Other focus areas of RAFI are Integrated Development, Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship, Culture & Heritage, and Leadership & Citizenship.

For more information about the Gabaldon Restoration Project, or to purchase Mugna-Lambigit paintings, majority of the proceeds of which will go to the restoration project, please contact 418-7234 loc. 209 and look for Jicel Reve Gabriel, or visit or




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The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation’s vision, in its 48 years of existence in development work in the Visayas and Mindanao, has consistently been “Touching People, Shaping the Future.” It has worked towards elevating lives through a comprehensive approach that champions best practices in community development.

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