Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ilocos Norte: Save the Laoag Central Elementary School!

Another heritage school could soon become a victim of misplaced priorities if nothing is done to stop the rampage. The City Government of Laoag and the Diocese of Laoag have both agreed to demolish the Laoag Central Elementary School (LCES), a Gabaldon school building built in the 1924, to give way to a shopping mall! In fact, there are two Gabaldon buildings in LCES, the other being the Home Economics Building.

The bishop is so excited about relocating the school to a different location because of the income the mall lease would generate for his diocese. And so is the mayor for reasons only he knows. But the parents and teachers of the LCES, and a majority of the Laoag business community expressed strong opposition to the move in published manifestos printed in The Ilocos Times in November and December respectively.

In their manifesto, the parents and teachers of LCES said, "The Laoag Central Elementary School (LCES), for its more than eighty (80) years of existence, has become a historical landmark of the City of Laoag as a "Bastion of Education."

They said further, "Education should never be sacrificed for commercialization, no matter the perceived increase in income that the Roman Catholic Church and the City of Laoag will realize from the conversion."

The business community, in its manifesto, gave fifteen points, among them the negative economic effects on small business establishments and stalls in the Laoag City public market, the displacement of pupils considering they live within striking distance of the school, the worsening of traffic in the central business district, and the destruction of the historical fabric of Laoag since the mall will obscure vital historical, cultural and religious landmarks, particularly the bell tower which is right beside the property. They also said that if the mall was constructed in the outskirts of Laoag, it will be a catalyst for development there and will lead to an expansion of business opportunities.

It's time to put a stop to this foolishness and greed! No to the demolition of a heritage school house! No to a shopping mall in Laoag's already-congested historic core! Save the Laoag Central Elementary School!

Update: The Philippine Daily Inquirer came out with two articles: Death of a Laoag heritage school and Laoag exec defends school transfer

In the second article, the statements of Raul D. Umengan just show us how shallow and uninformed a good number of our government officials are. True heritage advocates know that our country's heritage extends beyond the list of the National Historical Institute (NHI). He should read the definition of heritage before he makes these flimsy statements again. Heritage need not be declared by the NHI for it to be considered heritage. Many LGUs know this and have a lot of heritage sites not in the NHI list but which they value and safeguard. It is sad that Umengan and company do not know what heritage is! And to think I looked up to you as a teacher in grade school. Didn't you teach Araling Panlipunan?

Related entry
Statement of the Heritage Conservation Society on the Laoag Central Elementary School


  1. We have to consult the Dept of Tourism prior to implementing the principle of eminent domain. The subject of the property that shall be developed into a private entity, favoring only the few, will be on question. The students, the learning and the historical value of the property should be considered because it has a phenomenal impact to the next generation filipinos. I bet, this is a great insult to humanity, to history and to the concern citizens of Laoag. I am not an Ilocano, but I bet those heritage are wealth, more valuable than few people think, thinking only for their own selfish benefits.

  2. Anonymous19.12.08

    Thank you for blogging this, sir! I've been ignoring this issue but now I feel I should take part in whatever movement to help save the LCES. I visited it yesterday after your talk in DWCL and it's only then that I noticed how majestic it is.

  3. Anonymous19.12.08

    What They have done to Jose Abad Santos High School (JASHS) and Raja Soliman High School in Manila as well as to C. Apostol Elementary School in Caloocan City should be prevented to Laoag Central Elementary School!

    School is the open book of our future. We should not let them continuously steal the loving memories, history and heritage of communities, students, alumni and teachers.

    What values we can get from stealing the loving memories of generations?

    It is not just about attachment to memories but honoring history and public property that is supposed to be owned by the public? The government should protect it supposed to be and not to own and privatize public property in the name of the public for the sake of profit.

    Schools are sacred grounds for learning and educating across generations, and the habit of relocating academic sites to give way for profit, and unsustainable development should be stop not only by Ilocanos or Manilenos but by all patriotic Filipinos.

    Prof. Albert Banico

  4. I hope this gets national attention para talagang mahinto yung pag-demolish sa school.

  5. Anonymous20.12.08

    What we need is a careful balance between conservation and development.

    If it is any consolation, there's a Gabaldon in almost every town, so that architectural delight won't really missed.

    You preserve some, you lose some.

    This world thrives on compromise.

    Material culture evolves. This is just a zoning issue.

    No more 'black or white' fallacies, please.

    While I feel for conservation, I strive, as Aristotle would urge, for the golden mean.

  6. Anonymous21.12.08

    It's the business community in this context that has more sense than the bishop and the politicians.

    I know Laoag well because I used to do my fieldwork in the nearby bgys.
    1) Indeed a mall will kill the local businesses, particularly around the market,
    2) It will add to the present congestion.
    3) It will make it harder for students to go to class.
    4) It will destroy the dignity of the belltower, Laoag's landmark, since it will be too close to it. If I am not mistaken the huge belltower figures in the city logo.

    Once more church officials have revealed their commercialism. Yes, we understand the need to raise more revenues for the church. But must all other considerations be abandoned?

    It's unfortunate that church officials have too much theology in their training, and not enough exposure to the social sciences. They must learn to situate their decisions within a wider social context.

    Fernando Zialcita

    P.S. BTW: The biggest billboard in the world is supposedly the one that stands at the bottom of the cliff at Guadalupe, Makati. Is it true the church owns it and leases it to a busnessman? It has covered a sacred landmark of Makati: the STATUE OF OUR LADY ON A TOWER. This situation is a fitting metaphor for the inconsistencies of the church, as well as the problems of our country: the conflict between crass commercialism and pious words about the divine.

  7. Herdy, while I agree with you that some structures will inevitably go, I do not agree that heritage should be sacrificed in the name of development. Have you been to Europe or even our neighbors like Singapore and Malaysia? Look at the way they preserve heritage in prime real estate. As an urban and regional planning major, I believe that heritage conservation plays a strong role in the development and progress of any urban area. Sadly, many politicians in the Philippines are blind to that reality.

    On the Gabaldon in particular, we fight to preserve the best examples in the country. And LCES is one of the best! It's not the ordinary Gabaldon you just see in every town. So your argument does not hold.

  8. Anonymous22.12.08

    The clergy sometimes acts like congressmen or an old boys club. They will not hesitate in dishing out criticisms and give unsolicited advice (but I guess it's their job) but will take criticisms towards them as an attack on the whole institution. They will close in to protect their own and stone wall the whole process.

    I've probably mentioned this before, but as a classic form of stupidity of a member of the clergy, a suggestion was made sometime ago to demolish an old convent, to make way for a ruins and a garden. (Instant ruin yata gusto).

  9. Anonymous22.12.08

    Yes.... This is big problem...

  10. Anonymous22.12.08

    Ivan, I agree that heritage should not be sacrificed in the name of development.

    Yes, have traveled to Europe and to our neighbors, and understand what you mean.

    Unfortunately, there are times when art becomes a baggage so heavy to be borne by a third-world nation struggling for survival.
    Yes, it does not help that we have a dearth of thinking politicians.

    Let me make it clear where I stand. I am not for the mall construction in the Central lot, but my opposition is not fueled by the conservation advocacy this time. I think it's so burgis.

    I am against it for three reasons.

    1. I don't believe it will deliver what it promises--More revenues, more jobs. It will only favor big business.

    2. I love downtown Laoag's maaliwalas feel, something the mall will rob us of. (And no to more pollution,too.)

    3. Third and most important--I abhor the message it sends: that the church meddles with things so material. It's bad enough that the spiritual-political divide is a blur. Don't add "commercial" to the picture as well.

    "Of course, it's about the money." the Bishop Utleg was candid enough to tell me.

    The other year, they built a swimming pool in the bishop's residence. What do their hearts yearn for this time?

  11. Thanks Herdy! One of our advocacies in the HCS is bringing down heritage conservation to the grassroots, taking away the burgis tag from it.

    Cultural tourism has become a powerful tool for poverty alleviation worldwide. So to say heritage conservation is a burgis advocacy is not fair. Here's a copy of the Hue Declaration on Cultural Tourism and Poverty Alleviation which you might like to read for your reference.

  12. Thanks Herdy! It is indeed disturbing that our GOVERNMENT and the CHURCH is giving away so casually the heritage that LCES represents among the residents of LAOAG!

  13. Anonymous26.12.08

    "It's unfortunate that church officials have too much theology in their training, and not enough exposure to the social sciences. They must learn to situate their decisions within a wider social context."

    touche! this razing of a solid historical and useful community landmark in favor of another monstrous monument called the mall is further proof of this church's inconsistencies. centered in this issue is really just a pack of old men, thinking in a miasmic manner and not attuned to the real social needs of those around them. thinking that big business comes big bucks and the trickle down effect of the benefits (to the few) outweighs the negative impact (to the many) simply elicits a dumbfounded "wow". just wow...

  14. Anonymous1.1.09

    just wandering why not they build the mall inside the st william church compound or demolish holy spirit academy they both belong to them.... it's a shame that people tend to value money than history. we must remind them that without the past there is no future.

    LCES alumni

  15. That would be an equally-devastating travesty to heritage. Plain and simple, the mall should be built outside the congested areas of Laoag to spur development there.

  16. Anonymous1.1.09

    Hi Ivan,
    I didn't really mean they should build the mall inside the church premises or @ holy spirit... it's just a metaphor, the 2 building is as important as LCES. I just find it funny that they don't see that LCES is somehow connected to the Laoags history... taking in consideration that the sinking bell tower is just at the back corner of LCES. And I agree that it will create more problem than good since that is the main road (crossing) going to the nort (cagayan) and western part of ilokos norte (sarrat). why don't they build the mall near barangay 1... then they will mean real bussiness.

    LCES alumni

  17. Yes, I saw that. But let's not give them any bright ideas. Hehe! When the clergy become businessmen, you'll never know what they are capable of doing :(

  18. When people are jobless, desperate, hungry and sick, saving a building is the least of immediate concerns. NSO reports more than 40% poverty rate, and more than 60% underemployment - all these support the view that jobs take precedence over aesthetic values of physical structures such as this school.

    it is easy to shout "save this school, this building, etc." when one can afford the basic necessities of life. but for those who are hungry, saving a building is the least of his concern - no matter how precious that building is.

  19. Now tell me how the new mall in downtown Laoag will help with the unemployment problem. Ah yes! The mall will bring a lot of new jobs! But how about the jobs that will be lost because of the small businesses that will close as a result? How about the businesses themselves? You want to throw them into the unemployment margin?

    How about the school children that will be displaced? How about the quality of life that will be diminished as a result of the loss of this heritage?

    Sad to say, ang ibang Pinoy, mababaw mag-isip, lalo na kung pera ang katapat. Mas mabuting masaya ngayon, bahala na kung sira ang buhay bukas basta kumita ng pera ngayon.

    Throw that mall in an undeveloped area to spur development there. Now that's what is logical! Unless people are thinking of campaign kitties this early or building another swimming pool, I don't see any decision wiser than placing the new mall in a new development to spur progress.

  20. Anonymous7.1.09

    I think we are preserving to much Gabaldon Bldg. Almost every town has this one and I dont really find them a historical landmart. I studied at LCES, and I find the Gabaldon Bldg as an eye-sore. That Gabaldon Bldg. is no longer safe for the students. Are we going to sacfice thear lives?

  21. Who are you to say it's an eyesore? Are you a restoration architect? It's a great example of a two story Gabaldon that's why it should be preserved. You should have seen the Rizal Elementary School in Bacolod before it was restored. That was badly dilapidated and now it's charming! In Pampanga High School, the floor collapsed. But we did not use it as a reason to demolish the Gabaldon. Instead, we restored it and look at PHS now!

    Besides, heritage is just one aspect of this issue. Yung mga kumita at kikita, manahimik na kasi! :P

  22. Anonymous7.1.09

    Hi Ivan, I read Inquirer's news article about the LCES. I am reposting the article to my blog ( and, with your permission, along with your pictures of the school with a link back to your post.

    I hope that would be alright. :)

  23. Yes, go ahead. We need to raise awareness before it's too late.

  24. well, what can we do, its so sad. reading the article about this, and the mayor's comments. is just to show how they are not concerned about it. and he is just clueless of the importance of this building.

    the building is about 80 % intact. yes there were renovations made in its interiors. but the fabric is obviously still there.

    what awed me in the building is that it is well maintained. and the sentiments of the people there.

    well, its a done deal. i just hope that the architect / designer of the developer will just integrate the building to their plans, and not tear it down. and magising na lang sila one day with a right mind not to continue with this.

  25. the fear of local business closure because of the mall-opening has always been there everytime big corporates expand to new areas. SM City Davao was criticised the same way but eventually, the fears were found to be baseless.

    In the Philippines, the presence of big malls in a city/locality signals the place's positive business environment which will entice more business, hence propelling the local economy.

    we need to be practical nowadays in the midst of economic crisis.

    the 'gabaldon' is even a misnomer. we should address those buildings after the architect, was it an American named Parsons? Gee, It's not even Filipino that we are proud of.

    Im glad the local parish head and LGU decided to put aside sentimentalism in favour of stimulating local employment.

    There are a number of Parsons' structures in Davao City. Honestly, they no longer fit current demands: the space they occupy could have been used for more eco-friendly, modern, ergonomic, space-maximising structures (e.g. buildings) in the light of current resource scarcity.

  26. Anonymous8.1.09

    :) Thank you Ivan.

  27. The Gabaldon is an important part of Philippine architecture of the American colonial period. The design elements are most definitely Filipino even if the standard designs were done by Parsons. There is no other country in the world where you'll find these capiz-windowed school buildings designed for tropical climate, not even in the US!

    Second, we're not against malls! But we're against malls that will be built in already congested areas. Wasn't SM City Davao built in an undeveloped area? That's what were calling for here in Laoag. Build the mall in an undeveloped area to spur development.

    Finally, of course the LGU and church will say yes! You should ask the local residents why they are so eager.

  28. Anonymous14.1.09

    What's happening to Laoag is very sad. Little by little, memories of its past are being erased and eventually put to oblivion. If I may quote a writer, Laoag is a candidate to "a city without old buildings is like a man without a memory". Are its people not proud of the city's heritage that they are happy to demolish physical evidences that tell the story of their place and of the men and women who lived here? How can Laoag residents ever relate to the next generations the evolution of a former town into this present city without physical evidences?Heritage structures show and give character to a place. They are proofs of the city's struggles and survival into what it has become and the kind of people who reside in it. Otherwise, what is there to help a person learn about Laoag in a few hours without its church, its belltower, its few remaining ancestral houses and public buildings that include these heritage schoolbuildings? Certainly, it will just be any other city one visits elsewhere in the country with generic-looking buildings. How sad really...The proposed mall can be situated in Laaog's less developed areas to decongest this city's old section and maintain its character and urban layout. Laoag residents, have a heart before all sources of great stories of your place are lost forever!

  29. Anonymous15.1.09

    sayang naman pag nagkataong itutuloy ito...

    hope these people will not be blinded by money. huwag sana nilang ipagpalit ang heritage na ito sa pera. they should have think of an alternative location for that shopping mall if they are really pursigido sa pagappatayo nun.

  30. kudos to ivan for championing this cause. the destruction of LCES should not be allowed not only because we will lose yet another heritage site, but also because it will set a precedent for other cities and towns to follow.

  31. Anonymous16.1.09

    I've been quiet about this issue for sometime. I am an ordinary citizen of Laoag who happens to be working on a Master's Thesis(Master in Architecture) in UP Diliman, focusing on a framework for a Conservation Plan of the city. I've been mapping out the built environment of the city and I think the LCES is one major heritage asset which is worthy for preservation.

  32. Anonymous17.1.09

    What about a compromise? Could the government of Laoag do structure relocation? They could disassemble the whole building and then reassemble it at another place or they could transport the whole building to another location using flatbed trucks or such. This is commonly done when it is necessary to preserve an important building in a fragile environment.

  33. commercial bldgs in the vicinity of the cathedral already hide the two most important historical edifices in the city. govt officials also considered the bell tower as one of the landmarks of the city (kaya nga nasa logo ng laoag ang tower, now, they want to remove another edifice with historical value? what kind of thinking does our church & city govt have? are our leaders know about the law to preserve our heritage? if they push through with their plans, they will not only lost one but other edifices will be casted away.

  34. Anonymous19.1.09

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I believe that the Laoag Elementary School should be preserved not only to provide a specific identity to a certain place, but to also provide a seamless if not harmonious urban scape in the town of Laoag.


  35. Anonymous22.1.09

    This bldg is only worth preserving if it is visited by tourist. Wala ngang nagpapa-picture sa lugar na yun, bakit pa iprepreserve?

  36. That's what you call shallow. I need not answer that. You can read about best practices in other countries.

  37. I come from Caloocan City and I most definitely favor saving the LCES!

    We have a similar situation right here in Caloocan City wherein the Bonifacio Monument (also known simply as the Monumento) faces serious threats from the "closing of the LRT-MRT loop" and the giant billboards which have proliferated in the area. It's true that they won't take out the Monumento. They'll do something worse. They will imprison the greatest monument to valor and to love of freedom on earth!

    We've launched the Monumento World Heritage Global Campaign and set up an online petition at We hope you can sign in. It will be a privilege for me to help put up a similar petition for LCES.

  38. Anonymous27.1.09

    I 100% agree that the LCES should be saved.

    I 100% agree in HCS' goal to save heritage structures. You have done a lot of amazing work!

    But I sometimes don't agree with the way heritage advocates go about in saving these structures.

    You just don't go to a town or province and impose on people how to save these structures. That is what I think should be well understood by the people at HCS.

    For a person to be successful in his goal for a community, you should understand first the mindset of a community, not impose your views outright.

    In this case, you FIRST talk with them and understand the reasons why they are going to do something on a structure and see it the way they see it.


    Because these people are the people who live there, not you. They know their problems well. They may be misguided in destroying an old school, but you just DON'T condemn them right away. You understand first why they want it demolished and then work out a solution from there.

    A very simple analogy: when you see a family having a problem, do you just go to their home and tell them to fix things up? No. You go first to whoever is the head of the family and understand first the facts concerning the problem and then present your solution.

    How would you feel if an outsider just came to your home and did just that?

    When Bea Zobel, Jr. started redeveloping the Spanish-era Dauis church complex area in Panglao Island in Bohol, she brought in so many people from Manila to develop the area and yet did not tap or engage in deep dialogue with the local people directly instead.

    It's like saying to a a confused housewife, "tomorrow, open the door because I'll bring my friends to decorate your house, you're not that good at it."

    As a result, resentment among locals went high. It's now been fixed but Ms. Zobel admitted she learned her lesson in starting with the wrong footing.

    As she stated in an Inquirer article last Sunday, January 25, “You don’t come in with people from Manila and take over a whole site.”

    Ms. Zobel had the best intentions and I agree with her, but it was her methodology that had to be revised.

    Remember the renovation of a beautiful centuries-old church somewhere in Batangas? Heritage advocates were angry that the church was being expanded by putting additional aisles outside the historical fabric. And I fully, fully agree it wasn't a good idea.

    But the parish priest had (to him) a valid concern: the amount of parishioners was increasing and there had to be a way to accommodate them. Yung iba nauulanan na just to hear Mass. In other words, you have to understand where the parish priest's reasons where coming from. And you just don't say, it's culture, history, etc. You have to address other valid points, too, and then work out solutions from there.

    Again, let me state it well: as an Ilocano at heart, I AM AGAINST THE DEMOLITION OF LAOAG CENTRAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL and other heritage structures. But the way you should go about in saving it is to understand and discuss and immerse yourself in the community first to understand their viewpoint.

    HCS has done a tremendous amount of laudable work. You just need to update the methodology on some causes.

  39. First and foremost, this campaign to save the Laoag Central Elementary School is a result of public clamor in Laoag which the City Government has systematically silenced. Several local groups had already expressed their strong opposition to the transfer. For you to say that we did not talk with them is an assumption without basis. As we speak, the local community there is moving. In fact, they shared with us the off-the-record the reasons why the proponents are very eager to push for the project.

    Second, Ms. Bea Zobel is not a member of the Heritage Conservation Society. Not all heritage advocates are members of the HCS. So one cannot generalize the actions of one advocate as the methodology of the HCS. But we do hope everyone joins the organization to strengthen the network of cultural workers.

    And I agree with you that no matter how good your intentions, you don't bring outsiders into the picture unless they've been invited. I should know coming from Pampanga where people are very parochial. My experience in the local government of San Fernando has taught me a lot about getting the local community on the side of heritage.

    So please don't lecture us about not being immersed without first finding out if indeed we have not spoken to the local community. Mind you, before I posted this, I personally went to Laoag, inspected the site, spoke with local leaders and concerned civil servants, the school administration, members of the local media (who gave us copies of the statements opposing the transfer) and residents of the city.

  40. Anonymous27.1.09

    hi. im from zamboanga city.. n ive bin to that place, that part of Laoag. and i'm at awe on how beautiful the place is...

    with the proposed plan to demolish the present Gabaldon school into a mall, masisira ang kagandahan ng lugar. promise!

    sana mamulat ang local government... e di ba Education ang kelangan kung bkit naghihirap ang Pinas? magisip-isip rin.. tsktsk

    tska sa mga pari, mahiya naman... kawawa ang mga bata.. pera lng pala habol niyo... magisip rin? is that what u practice on what u preach?! tsk..

  41. Anonymous6.2.09

    I love to see a new mall in Laoag City!!!

    But this demolition of a historic site and school is close to stupidity.

    Can't they build a new mall close to the Airport? And away from a very congested city? People up there, think more than twice...and I should say, WAKE UP!!!

  42. Anonymous11.2.09

    i think laoag city is left behind compared to other cities in the philippines when it comes to its business infrastructures. if this school is the reason why laoag city cannot move on, i think we better relocate it for some reasons; a. the school is not convenient and safe for children crossing the streets. b. the legal owner (catholic church) of the building agreed upon the conversion of the school. c. we don't sacrifice the school, it will be relocated to a safer place. d. the structure doesn't mark on the philippine history, it is only one of the million gabaldon structures. e. the school doesn't own the land, it is private. f. so many to mention. look at the brighter side laoaguenos! we need to move forward!

  43. You got something from the deal too? The Laoag Central Elementary School is one of less than 20 two-floor Gabaldons left in the entire country today. When you try to be sarcastic, make sure you know your facts first.

  44. Anonymous23.2.09

    If you are a keen observer, you will notice that there are so many historical and heritage sites that were already demolished. I am a LCES Alumni but I agree to the demolition of LCES. They will only transfer the said school and changed it to better one. This is for the development of the City and so with the Province. This will also help the problem about the unemployment. We have so many unemployed kababayans out there. I believe that the City Government want only the City to be one of the Cities who are in the top list and they want to solve the unemployment issue.

  45. We are keen observers. And yes you are right, so many has already been demolished. That's why what is left should be preserved, LCES included.

    Thank you for pointing out that so much has been lost. That is the very reason we should stop demolishing what is left.

  46. Anonymous23.2.09

    Kailan kaya mahihinto ang isyung ito. nakakahiya na sa karatig bayan. I am in favor of the demolition of the LCES.

    Heritage po ba? Isn't it there are some sites ng napalitan? There is also a Municipality na pinagalaw ung Munisipyo nila e kasama po yun sa listahan na nasa moratorium if di ako nagkakamalo h.

    I am not againts the Provincial Government nor a pro City Government. I am a LaoagueƱo who wants progress in our City and mahirap po maghanap ng trabaho. Ang dami namin na Alumni ng nasabing eskuwelahan but hey graduate na kami ng College marami pang walang trabaho. Isa pa tignan po natin kong safe parin po ba ang mga gusali ng LCES. Hindi po mawawala ang LCES puwede naman natin na i-request through our Mayor sa Investor na i-preserved ang hitsura ng school ngayun. Maingay narin po ang paligid ng school and tignan po natin ha isa po ako sa mga nasagasahan nung grade 3 palang po ako sa Central School. Hindi ba kayo nababahala dun?

    This is only my opinion. Putting up a Mall can solve the unemployment issue sa City natin.

    Pero ipasa batas nalang natin ang lahat. di po ba? Mas mabuti po iyon dahil malakina ang epekto nito sa mga tao. Sa radio nga may isyu na ng personalan. Masyado ng magulo kaya tignan nalang po natin NO ANIA TI PAGSAYAATAN TI KAADUAN.

  47. Wow! Sunod-sunod ang mga post! Obviously from one person :D

  48. Anonymous23.2.09

    Once again sir Ivan...Isn't it madami nang nadadamay sa isyung ito? If you noticed, nagkaroon na ng GAP ang Province at City.

    Why don't the stop this nalang. The important is ang pagtaas ng Laoag City. At ang pagsagot sa mga hinaing ng bayan na pagbibigay ng job.

    OO like what I said marami ng nawala bakit nila hinayaan? Bakit ang LCES lang ang hinaharangan? Isn't it WE ARE A KEEN OBSERVER? meron nga diyan on going ang pagdedemolish e. BAkit pinayagan yon? HMMMM di kaya may mali? Nagtatanung lang po. Bato bato sa langit ang tamaan huwag magagalot.

  49. Pwede naman itayo ang mall sa ibang lugar sa Laoag diba? Pero iba talaga dahil may kumita na, hindi ba? Wag na tayo magbolahan, yung iba diyan, sariling bulsa ang iniisip. Bato bato sa langit, ang tamaan, wag magagalit.

  50. The Heritage Conservation Society has a long record of unwavering advocacy. Shame to those who are spreading rumors that we're doing this for politics! When we find out a heritage structure is in danger, and something can be done about it, expect us to fight for its preservation.

    We're not stopping because we love our country and will protect the built heritage that are symbols of our nation!

  51. Anonymous15.3.09

    G. Henares

    nagpadala po ako ng email sa inyo sa ukol sa inyong artikulong ito. Nawa'y mabasa ninyo sa lalong madaling panahon.

    Salamat at isang mapagpalayang araw!

    Gerald Pascua

  52. Anonymous25.4.09

    what? that school? i'm from the clan of gabaldon. Is that what Isauro Gabaldon built?

  53. No, Gabaldon did not build any of the schools which are today called Gabaldon schools. He was the one who authored the law allotting public funds for the construction of the said school buildings.

  54. Anonymous9.5.09

    apo di lang mabalin nga ag-ilokano tayo katno agkikinna awatan tayo.....dimi ngamin maawatan ti sawsaeng yon...laoag kunayo ti pakasamakan na ket apay di tayo usaren ti ilokano nga lenguwahe tayo katno agtitinuos tayu amin....agsursuro kayo ngamin nga ag ilokano katno nasaysayaat met lang...dios ti agnina...dios ti kumuyog

  55. Ivan you posted this as a reply to a comment: "The Laoag Central Elementary School is one of less than 20 two-floor Gabaldons left in the entire country today."
    May I know if the Solsona Elementary School Gabaldon type building was included in that list? Correct me if I'm wrong - when the building I mentioned was still for renovation a calendar/poster(?)on Gabaldon type buildings was published (I think Gemma Cruz-Araneta was also associated with that project). Was that Gabaldon type building included in the research for that project?
    I finished gradeschool in the town's bigger public elem. campus but that building is a part of my childhood memories because we always pass by it on our way to the plaza.

  56. Anonymous21.5.10

    it's really amusing to read the reactions to this article. most of them, han pay taga-laoag. needless to say, pati po si ginoong henares. well, probably po (sir ivan) you have visited laoag lots of times but you don't live here like i do. but of course, i do realize that that doesn't prevent you from letting your opinion known.
    at first, i was skeptical towards the idea of putting up a mall where an existing elementary school is.(FYI: i live near the area, just a stone's throw away.) but having realized several factors, i find that there's nothing wrong with it. if you could only see how dangerous it is for kids to be crossing a very busy street. of course, i can't convince you with that point but then again that is not the only good point. matter of fact, i don't think any of those who commented negatively towards this project even bothered to find out what the good points are.
    i'm particularly struck by your sentence, "And so is the mayor for reasons only he knows."
    then why not, sir try to talk to him. he's a likable guy, i'm sure he'll be more than willing to talk to you.
    nga lang rin po, i wish to be convinced to your side as i am a visual artist myself. but having lived through a difficult life as an artist, i have learned that aesthetics can't be everything and living in the past won't get you forward much.
    laoag is headed for modernization, that's a fact and not many cities in the north have achieved what it has achieved, another fact. a lot of that due to innovative and proactive minds. and as a laoagueno i am very proud of that. minsan man lang, there are people who REALLY care about the place they lead. which i believe is quite rare in my lifetime.

    according to me, central school is a good school, but it can be a better school with better facilities. the school will not be faced out. they will only be relocated to a place where it's safer and more conducive to learning. still within laoag. true, that school was built during the american period but it was when that area was not yet too commercialized. parang ngayon nga, sha na yung out-of-place. if they will be relocated, they will have newer facilities. hindi ung nababasa ung classroom pag tag-ulan. and i was quite assured that the concerns of central will be addressed readily by those concerned.
    as for the comments about the diocese, again, find out their side. ung totoong side, and yes, the bishop may not be as approachable as the mayor of the city pero sa umpisa lang. he's a man of the cloth, don't get scared, talk to him.
    lastly, for the parents and teachers' manifesto saying that "education should never be sacrificed for commercialization," i strongly agree, but i don't think that the education of the ilocano youth will be sacrificed because the school will only be relocated.

    don't get me wrong, i am an objective person and i always try to be but these are my thoughts on this issue because i know more facts than most of you who have commented here and i just wanted to let you know.

  57. Another anonymous comment. Sign your name please. I don't like replying to anonymous comments on issues like this because it gives me the impression that you're just a staff of the mayor.

    Progressive towns and cities know the importance of preserving heritage. Those who say that heritage has to be sacrificed in the name of progress are the ones who think backward.

  58. Anonymous23.5.10

    my name is

    zeldrich c. antonio, father of two. my eldest almost went to central but she got accepted to a better school. i own a small business near the area and no, i'm not a member of the mayor's staff. i don't like government jobs, they put your morals to the test. i only got to shake his hand at a friend's function, once.

    preserving heritage, i totally agree with you there but laoag's not there yet and maybe this (the central school) could be one thing that needs to be done to be, like you said, progressive. for the common good, i'd prefer to call it.

    lastly, i'd like to urge those who are against a business estab being put up there to please suggest an alternative that would have the same benefit as what is being disputed.

  59. Thank you very much Zeldrich. I appreciate you signing your name. Sometimes I get some planted comments which is why I prefer to reply to people who don't hide behind anonymous.

    The alternative is always developing another area of Laoag so that progress is spread out. Why congest further an already crowded area?

    When SM & Robinsons built malls in San Fernando, Pampanga, they were constructed in empty fields. Now the area is booming. And what was previously idle land is now congested with traffic.

    So imagine what a mall will do to an already busy part of Laoag. If the mayor is after the development of his city, he should find other areas which could be developed so that other areas of Laoag benefit as well.

  60. No Gabaldon school building is too small or insignificant for protection. Those in Laoag who want to exchange their two-floor Gabaldon building for money should read this article on the Gabaldons in Camiguin province: Philippine-Australian cooperation restores Gabaldon-type school in Camiguin

  61. Hates how the mayor always sees efforts to save LCES as political. Come on, people. This is, Gabaldon or not (and I definitely think it is), part of out country's heritage! This building is from 1929, even older than the iconic Manila City Hall and perhaps, even the National Museum building!

    And if they really reaaaaally want a mall, do a MOA in Laoag. Mall of Asia wasn't built in the middle of the city; it was to grow in a sprawling site. Or, do a Tutuban Mall.


    [and, by virtue of being older than 50 years old, they are now protected by the National Heritage Act of 2009] :D


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