Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Gabaldon Memories

See what a single photo can do? Joe Latar's shot didn't only resurrect memories that would have otherwise been forgotten forever, it also sent me to dig some more on the subject -- and to keep in touch with friends and relatives.

This blog forms Part Three of an unintended series of posts on the Gabaldon building of Dupax el Sur, Nueva Vizcaya. (The first,  posted in March 2011, was titled  "Goodbye, Gabaldon, Goodbye." The second, immediately preceding this piece, carried the title "Gabaldon Memories.")

Here's what I found from the yellowing and brittle 11-page manuscript titled HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF DUPAX that my dear mother, Mrs. Magdalena Pudiquet Castro, found among the files of my late father, Vicente Mambear Castro:
  • 1898 -- November 19. The American Forces (Cavalry) entered the town without any resistance.
  • 1901 -- Don Mariano Cutaran was made the first president of Dupax by the Americans. The first school where English was taught was also organized and established.
  • 1915 -- President Genaro Evaristo began the construction of the Gabaldon building of the Dupax Elementary School. It was completed during the administration of Don Torcuato Albano. The building was destroyed during the war and was rebuilt with war damage funds from America.
  • 1927 -- Dupax was linked with the other towns of Nueva Vizcaya by better roads. This was largely due to the efforts of the then incumbent Governor Alfonso Castañeda who is from Dupax.
  • 1942 -- June 25. The people of Dupax first saw the Japanese Imperial Forces.
  • 1946 -- June 6. The American Liberation Forces arrived in Dupax. There were no more Japanese soldiers reached as the Japs escaped to the mountains during the raids conducted the months before.
So you see, the Gabaldon building was part and parcel of the history of Dupax. This goes without saying that the ladies and gentlemen and children of the Evaristo and Albano clans should feel proud that their family names were etched in immortality with the construction of that building. I'm also sure the children and grandchildren of the dozens if not hundreds of Isinay, Ilocano, Tagalog and American workers (including carpinteros, labradors, peons, and capatazes) who labored to put up the building also felt proud that at long last Dupax had its own public school.

But then again -- ayyu, ayyu (what a pity) -- as shown in the photos below (which I shot last March 12, 2011) that monument is no more!
Front view of the missing Gabaldon building.

Back view of where the Gabaldon used to be. The rain tree may now be 70 years old.

From Brisbane, Australia, came this August 27 email which should represent the oldest personal recollection (unless an older one would come in soon) of how life was when Gabaldon was still the one and only elementary school in central Dupax:

How are you my Isinay friend? Hope you and your family are all fine. I saw in your Face book pictures and what really amazed me was the picture of the old Gabaldon building. I still remember those days during my childhood the things I went thru like in my studies, my childhood friends and my teachers. 

Speaking of teachers, I think I can still remember them mostly of which I presume have all passed away or some still with us. The teachers were the following:

Miss Boy, Miss Ambatali, Miss Cacacho, Miss Lopez, Mrs. Tating Fernandez, Mr. Imperial, Mr. Felix, Mrs. Magaway, Mr. Herminio Castro, Mr. Apolonio Latar, Mrs. Coloma, Mr. Coloma, and lastly Miss dela Cuesta my favorite teacher. She was a very pretty woman and the funny part was I was in love with her and when she left I even cried. I remember the day she left she was in this Rural Transit bus that passed by our house and she waved at me and I felt tears flowing from my eyes. 

Those were the days I will never forget.  Unga^ tay sirye bayaw ot dioy mot si gi^na lalo mo bavayi ri asaj on uwar lalo mo maserot. Hahaha.

If you recall the last time I mentioned I prefer to correspond thru email rather than Facebook because there are more things to say. Hope to hear from you. I hope I didn't bore you with this email. Regards and GOD BLESS. Alfonso C. Magalad

As a sequel to the earlier selection I made of messages posted in the "Isinay Friends" of Facebook, these further exchanges may interest you:

Oh...God! I have not seen the building since I graduated from elementary... It is kinda' sad at the same time it brings a lot of memories. My Grade 6 class room (Miss Lolita Campus - adviser) was at the right hand side of the building just beside the boys' workshop building and later on was inhabited by the Philippine Army battalion? Can anyone remember that? God! I witnessed truckloads of dead bodies killed by the Army (presumably NPAs' daw). Those bodies were dumped on the ground waiting to be identified. This scene horrified me as a young kid and up to these days I can still vividly see it my mind. It eventually caused me not to eat for at least a week... HELL YEAH... I WAS VOMITING AT THAT TIME... This is one memory that I will never forget and never have forgotten... On the other hand... there were good memories, too but I will be running out of space if I had to start recalling all of it.Editha de Guzman

O Edith that is so true. The Army used to be stationed at the lone old building called the workshop and you are right, they did bring the dead bodies of the NPA in that building. Gee... what an experience! Benilda Castro Almorade

Why can't I remember that incident? I remember behind that great building were mango trees? Going downhill to the river where as Benilda mentioned we drag/carry our desks to clean.Teresita Castro Bunal

That lone building used to be the 'ayuyang' of mr cenon asuncion as he was then in charge of carpentry, gardening and what not. it was the very same building where lots of dead NPA were brought but not sure where the bodies were brought from the building. could it be that they were buried in that building? if so, andojlan deet banih sirin banda... ua tessie, i think you were in high school then.Benilda Castro Almorade

Yes, third year na si Ate Tessie noon at fourth year sina Nancy kasi may mga classmates siya na nagkaboyfirend ng mga sundalo. First year ako noon at friends ko mga NPA lalo na si Kumander Narsing which turned out later to be a DPA (Major yata ranggo niya sa AFP). Yung mga pinatay ng mga military e, in fairness pinapabendisyunan sa church habang nasa ibabaw ng 10 wheeler which we call "Logging truck" tapos dinadala sa sementeryo pero sa labas inililibing.Judith Castro Dial

Although it's gone, the Gabaldon bldg., which we consider now as a thing of the past, has stood the adversities of times and has left an imprint in our minds that we could forever cherish. As I am writing these lines, I can't help but tend to be emotional for this gone monumental structure that played a vital role together with our teachers in moulding us into what we are now, useful citizens of this nation.Nemesio C. Felix

Uwa Charles, my last year in Gabaldon was when in 3rd grade so i knew and have seen the works that the students have to undergo in their Industrial Arts subject. Luckily, i got transferred to Los Banos in my 4th grade. During that time i concluded that it was a laborious task that they have to do and i didn't want to experience the same and since my family moved to Laguna, then i guess, i was able to escape the impending hard labor. And let me just add that i still rmbr Apu Gorio Felix, Uwa Neming’s father, who was the principal during our time. Lots of memories that i will never forget as long as i live.Arnold F. Bombongan

That's true Arnold, and who will ever forget the most challenging activity of all especially if the teacher is not around: going under the Gabaldon building and look for little holes made by a certain insect which we call "sunud-sunod"? Once... you collected more or less 5 of that insect, that's already considered a big accomplishment. In layman's term, "mababaw ang kaligayahan natin" but it paid off. You see? it became a part of our good memory of the old Gabaldon Building.Judith Castro Dial

Hi manang Judith! Long time no see! I've been busy for a while but tonight i feel like talking to everybody, hahaha! O yes, you just reminded me of that, it's one of our favorite hobby during recess time, and sometimes we get carried away and forget it's almost time to go back to the room and guess! Be prepared for the punishment awaiting for you.Arnold F. Bombongan

By way of temporarily capping the discussion, here's what I posted in Facebook:

Many thanks, inarun iiva on iinsan, for contributing to the memories of the Gabaldon building and vicinity. The recollections that the Industrial Arts building (yes, that's how it was called then) was once a "kuta" of the military (I guess it was the Task Force Lawin) and was a dumping place for the NPA fighters they killed are not only shocking but also new to me.

For all you know, that Industrial Arts building was also memorable to me. I first entered it when I was in Grade 5 and the intermediate grade pupils had a meeting where I was elected PRO with Daisy Galutera (or was it her brother and Grade 6 classmate Edgar?) as President. Neyyit tay sino^to sirye... in fact, I even didn't know what PRO meant and what the duties were, beyaw ot saon si imbotos da.

I remember Sir Cenon Asuncion (who was, peovos, nicknamed Pallek then) was in charge of the Industrial Arts building during my time and, probably because he was courting Ma'am Cording (Concordia Garcia, RIP) who was then teaching in Palob...otan and staying in my Pudiquet grandparents' house in I-iyo, he often assigned me as monitor (taga-release then taga-panat) of the carpentry and gardening tools used by Grade 5 and 6 pupils.

This means that, as a teacher's pet, I was often free from doing what my classmates then were required to do -- alimbawa na: 1) mamangbang si tuutu^ an pangittuan si posten si eyar siri as-asup Abannatan; 2) manlajari, mantaliling, mangkatam, on mamasaj si pa-repair urumar teachers an desks; 3) mangapyat project an dustpan boon ila ya sajar an tajtaj (silag in Ilocano; buri in Tagalog) fiber an omoy min eyan siri ittuan da Lajay Imong an Calacala; 4) mantamnang si maman-okke^ on pantanoman si le-e an payaw an danum nar ya mi^bus si panen si nuwang on tayo^toar siri solar da Ama Edo^ an Laccay; on 5) manubuj si cosmos flowers, Vietnam rose, gumamela, on de-e tay an nabovov-on an masetas siri ampi-theater garden an dioy si sajungon di Industrial Arts buildingar.

The building looks very different now from the one on whose right side I once had a sitaw (pole beans) plot that I went to weed and water even on Saturdays. I recall that even if I was not an attractive boy then (toy mango^ngot, nave^leng, on nais-isaw tay eyampay si Sarles an Castro sire), I was quite popular with the girls because of my gayya^ which they bought for 10 centavos per gomgom for use in their Home Economics cooking lessons under Mrs. Luisa Soriano!
-- Charlz Castro

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