An Open Letter on the Gabaldon
Greetings from the Metro Infanta Foundation!
On behalf of the Board and its officers, Vacion & I sincerely wish you and everyone in your family well.
As you are probably aware, the Colorado-based Metro Infanta Foundation, Inc. in coordination with Infanta Municipal and Quezon Provincial governments as well as the Central Parents-Teachers Community Association embarked on a bold and unprecedented project of reconstructing the old Infanta Elementary School .
The building, also known as the Gabaldon type structure (named after Assemblyman Isauro Gabaldon during the Philippines-US Commonwealth regime), was built around the country for 1M pesos each during the early 1900s. As can be remembered by many it was the U-shaped concrete building that for decades, was the main landmark of school children who acquired their elementary education at the main campus. It was visibly constructed on the northeastern area or on the left-hand side as one enters the main gate of the school compound. The building used to be adequate to accommodate 9 classrooms, a library, administration office and with detachable partitions, a convertible social hall for larger gatherings during special occasions. Like other government buildings during the war, the Gabaldon also suffered damages during the Japanese occupation. It was however rehabilitated after the liberation with funds provided under the US War Damage Commission Act .
In response to the continuing student growth, smaller classroom units were built, sprawling along the periphery of the campus. They went well responsibly until a devastating typhoon in 1972 razed a number of them to the ground including the aging Gabaldon building. It remains unrestored since then, a span of 38 years.
In some stealthy way, these years went by swiftly with hardly anybody raising any concern. And now that we are at this critical juncture of reckoning, the same choice still prevails, i.e., that of accepting the obligation of reconstruction. Turning our heads in the opposite direction is both inappropriate and irresponsible.
Let us then accept the task of supporting the essential need of children’s basic education. It was the same aspirations that our ancestors originally dreamed of so that our own generation may also acquire a brighter start for the future. Remembering the Gabaldon era will lead us to recall a few of those early pioneer teachers. Memories of their lifetime professions and more importantly for being parents, grandparents, ancestors and/or beloved relatives of some of us are enough reminders of the time they pursued their profession solely for educating the children. They rightfully deserve our lasting gratitude. With renewed determination, we should rebuild the Gabaldon for their memories, so that from the ruins of nearly four decades we may raise again a beacon of the future, the iconic Gabaldon building at Infanta Central School campus.
With her circle of friends at St. Thomas More parish, M I F President Mila Glodava has always been clever to enthuse the rest of her flock the spirit of stewardship. For this project, a Victorian Tea Party last April 10 kicked off two other forthcoming events, the Viva Italia Dinner on July 23 and Grace Before Meals on September 10 with popular TV Rev/Chef Fr. Leo Patalinghug. As they have shown in the past, this steward-oriented community in Centennial, Colorado, has always been responsive to Mila’s appeal. It was also here that the children’s “Pennies from Heaven” fund drive raised $10,000 for Panukulan, Quezon church construction in 2005.
Any reasonable support to reconstruct this project will certainly lighten its total budget of Php.15M. In spite of the local and provincial governments as well as PTCA commitment to shoulder the 40% or Php. 6M, the other 60% still remains a formidable gap. The financial setback in the US economy also inflicted a substantial reduction in value of donated stocks intended for this project.
On a random basis, solicitation letters will still be sent to all reachable Infantanians. We are certain of your unfailing desires to share your blessings in some form or means to our native town and people. This is an opportunity, take it and enjoy a good feeling, you have done it.
Since E-mail is now a widely used communication advantage, MIF will consider the concept of delegating the fund raising task internationally. It will take either nominated leaders or volunteers from different countries where there is reasonable Infanta expatriates working and /or living. The task leader will be essentially responsible for identifying potential donors, collecting and remitting donations to MIF. Prevailing camaraderie among expatriates, will hopefully enhance personal and meaningful discussion/information about the project in their cluster to raise motivation and donation level.
Suggested action items contained herein will be discussed during the next board meeting and if confirmed, implementation follows immediately. In the meantime, we will determine prospective team leaders from various countries for consensual acceptance and agreement.
Hoping to hear from you soon. Please don’t hesitate to offer other suggestions or volunteer to lead your donation group in your area. Contact Mila or anyone of its board and officers through MIF at www.infanta.org
Poling & Vacion Derilo