Requiem for Nabua's Gabaldon Building
Text by Minasbad and Photograph by Dada Docot (from Nabua Forum)
Masimut ading Mayor Fer Simbulan na di! (ading text na di, kanako, Vic Nierva)
Today, we received final confirmation that nothing remains of the 100-year old Gabaldon building in Nabua. It is sad to hear that the few remaining links to our history in probably one of the oldest towns in the entire province of Camarines Sur had been torn down. An iconic structure that withstood the test of time had been reduced to nothing but a shred of a memory to the people who once roamed its august halls.
For the past nine months, Nabua Forum has fought a lonely fight trying to preserve the remaining link of the town to its colonial past. Our elders would probably have nothing but good memories of their years of education at the said Gabaldon building, the very first schoolhouse built in the town. Nabua Forum has raised the issue of saving the said Gabaldon Building not only as a testament to the legacy of a free and universal education during the American period but because of its exceptional architectural significance, belonging to the iconic designs reminiscent of the grandeur of that colonial era. Heritage Specialist Architect Melvin Patawaran declared the importance of conserving Nabua's Gabaldon building because of its unique five-room design. Thru the efforts of the Nabua Forum's founder, Dada Docot, the organization was able to solicit the participation of the Heritage Conservation Society and Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta, who wholeheartedly supported last year's public seminar on heritage conservation that was attended by various personalities not only from Nabua but the rest of Camarines Sur. In October 2008, Dada Docot was also able to secure an official letter from the National Historical Institute (NHI) restraining the Municipal Government of Nabua from conducting any activities that would be detrimental to the structure of the Gabaldon building. The NHI letter was given to the Mayor’s Office but sadly, the authority of the NHI has been ignored and completely disregarded by the town’s highest official. In January 2009, the local government constructed a fence around the Gabaldon Building, not to protect it, but to prevent Nabuenos from noticing the demolition of the historical building. This year, a shopping mall will rise on the site where the Gabaldon school once stood.
It is sad to realize that the municipal officials of Nabua, tasked to protect not only its people but safeguard its heritage as well, understand the concept of development and progress in terms of the construction of a shopping complex which not only will kill local businesses but which sacrificed the town's historical monument as well. While other political leadesr of such provinces like Tarlac and Ilocos Norte listened to the voice of their constituents and respected their clamor to preserve their Gabaldon schools, Mayor Fernando Simbulan preferred to disrespect Nabuenos and erase the remaining link to a glorious past they can be truly be proud of. Mayor Simbulan displayed a classic example of a small time politician’s arrogance by ramming through the local legislative council his idea of a “legacy” to the town as he completes his ten years of corrupt leadership. His tenure continues to be marred by irregularities and controversies and his action to destroy Gabaldon is not only an insult to the people of Nabua but a travesty of justice that should never be forgiven nor forgotten.
We grieve not for the Gabaldon but for Nabua's political leaders who put their selfish interests first rather than the good of the public they have sworn to serve.
Farewell to Nabua's Gabaldon!