Isauro Gabaldon was the man behind the Gabaldon school houses. He was born in Nueva Ecija to a Spaniard and a Filipina. His family had the means to send him to study in Spain where he completed a “bachiller en artes” degree at the Colegio Villanueva de la Jara. Gabaldon also finished with a law degree at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. He went on to become the governor of Nueva Ecija before he became a member of the Philippine Assembly. As an assemblyman, Gabaldon authored the law that led to the construction of school buildings in different parts of the country. The law, or Act No. 1801, is popularly known as the Gabaldon Act.
The Gabaldon school buildings followed a standard design made by Architect William Parsons. The elegant designs of these school buildings instilled a sense of pride among the teachers and students who used them. They also started to appreciate the finer things in life. Many Filipino children first learned to read and write in these schools during the early part of the 20th century.
The Gabaldon buildings in Cebu have become a part of the history and culture of the towns where they are located. Aside from serving as a venue for the education of young children, these structures are also a part of the life of the residents of these towns. The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc (RAFI) is working with the local government, the provincial government, and the Department of Education (DepEd) to preserve these historically-significant school buildings. Nearly thirty of these buildings were already restored and the restoration of the rest is underway. Some of the Gabaldon buildings that were already restored are located in Argao, Asturias, Carmen, Alegria, Pinamungajan, and Madridejos, among others. The restoration efforts also enjoy the support of the League of Municipalities – Cebu Chapter and the USC School of Architecture.
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