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Conservation and Restoration of Gabaldon Schoolhouses and Other Heritage School Buildings

Attached herewith is Aide Memoire dated June 05, 2020, from Alain Del B. Pascua, Undersecretary for Administration, DepEd Executive Committee, relative to Conservation and Restoration of Gabaldon Schoolhouses and Other Heritage School Buildings.

Conservation and Restoration of Gabaldon Schoolhouses and Other Heritage School Buildings

Recognizing the importance of Gabaldon Schoolhouses and other heritage school buildings in the history of Philippine education, the Department of Education (DepEd) embarks on the conservation and restoration of these school buildings to prevent their further deterioration.

These schoolhouses are treated as important structures considering their architectural, historical, social, and scientific significance. The passing of Republic Act (RA) No. 10066 “National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009″ and RA No. 11194 “Gabaldon School Building Conservation Act” further proves the significance of these structures to Filipino heritage.

The classification of Gabaldon Schoolhouses based on their geographical and heritage value is the primary consideration for all these structures. Built in the salient features of traditional Philippine architecture and blended with the most innovative American construction technology of the early 20th century, these schoolhouses designed by Architect William E. Parsons generally housed significant historical events or were either visited or attended by persons of national and international prominence.


Cognizant of Gabaldon Schoolhouses’ importance to Filipino education and culture, DepEd, under the leadership of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, took the initiative to preserve their original architectural features and reinforce their structural integrity. In March 2018, the Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (OUA), through the Education Facilities Division (EFD), officially introduced the Gabaldon Heritage Schools Restoration and Conservation Project.

With the support and assistance from government institutions, DepEd is taking all necessary measures to classify and preserve the remaining Gabaldon Schoolhouses in all regions. These include the three cultural agencies – the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). and the National Museum of the Philippines (NM); together with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Local Government Units, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Gabaldon Schoolhouses and other heritage structures that are covered by the conservation and restoration are:

a. school buildings designed and built by the Bureau of Architecture and Construction of Public Buildings for the Bureau of Education from 1910 to 1940;

b. ancillary structures integral to the Gabaldon Schoolhouses; and

c. other heritage structures within the school complex.

The guidelines in the conservation and restoration of Gabaldon Schoolhouses and heritage school buildings mandated in the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 11194 of 2019 shall be conformed with accordingly.

As part of the IRR of RA 11194, the Department will implement:

  • the standard color scheme for the painting and repainting of previously renovated, rehabilitated, or restored Gabaldon Schoolhouses; and
  • the demolition of nearby structures that obstruct the facade of Gabaldon Schoolhouses.

DepEd Regional and Division Engineers shall oversee the conservation and restoration of these Gabaldon Schoolhouses and heritage school buildings. The OUA-EFD Gabaldon Heritage Schools Restoration and Conservation Project Team shall provide technical assistance in the preparation of plans and conservation and restoration procedures. Furthermore, The NHCP and NCCA shall also provide technical assistance in the implementation of the project, particularly in the conduct of consultation meetings with stakeholders to explain the importance of conserving and restoring these historical structures.

The Gabaldon Heritage Schools Restoration and Conservation Project not only safeguards the schoolhouses’ appearance and functionality, but also guarantees that more Filipinos will be made aware of their pivotal role in shaping the nation s public school system. Moreover, it hopes to instill among the younger generation that sense of place and pride and for them to treasure their time in these historical edifices as much as their ancestors did.


Based on the 2019-2020 National School Building Inventory (NSBI) under the enhanced Basic Education Information System (eBEIS), a total of 2,045 Gabaldon Schoolhouses are still existing in 2,304 schools nationwide.

Table 1. Inventory of Gabaldon Schoolhouses per region and their condition

RegionNo. of SitesNo. of BuildingsGood ConditionMinor RepairMajor RepairFor Condemnati onCondemned /For DemolitionOn Going Repair
Region 11701926624754419
Region II5262IS1229402
Region III128133442257019
Region IV-165189783862065
Region IV-344115618110
Region IX38SO13921241
Region V91103351738625
Region VI26632188561535613
Region VII3223739557199895
Region VII126145552460123
Region X1101253295913210
Region XI8084361125426
Region XII313811514431
Grand Total1,7872,045618321909604988

The Gabaldon Heritage Schools Restoration and Conservation Project Team created under the OUA conducts validation and documentation of these type of school buildings. The objective of the activity is to have complete documentation of the structures in terms of their historical significance, uniqueness of designs, and current use and conditions to guide the Department in proper planning and decision-making under the Gabaldon Heritage Schools Restoration and Conservation Program.


Following the NSBI data, 705 Gabaldon Schoolhouses in 698 sites nationwide have either undergone or are currently undergoing full restoration with the utilization of the annual Gabaldon Heritage School Building Restoration and Conservation Program from 2017 to 2020.

On the other hand, there are 49 Gabaldon Schoolhouses recorded as condemned. The DepEd Inspectorate Team and Engineers still need to conduct validation of the actual status of these condemned schoolhouses to delve into the possibility of their restoration, as some might have been demolished already since the report was made years ago.

A total of P5.36 billion was appropriated for the last three (3) years in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for this purpose.

Once the restoration of these buildings is completed, a total of 705 Gabaldon Schoolhouses can be used by the learners in addition to the current standard classrooms they are using. This is if the restored Gabaldon schoolhouse will be used for its original purpose. Below is the summary of allocation and accomplishment per year.

Table 2. Summary of Accomplishments under the Gabaldon Heritage School Building Program as of April 30, 2020

CYTargetsCompletedOngoingUnder ProcurementOngoing
SitesNo. of BuildingsSitesNo. of BuildingsSitesNo. of BuildingsSitesNo. of BuildingsSitesNo. of Buildings


Shown below are photos of some of the completely restored Gabaldon Schoolhouses across the country, which adhere to the Conservation IRR and guidelines.


a. Restoration Program

To date, a total of 698 Gabaldon Schoolhouses in 715 sites are still in need of repair and restoration funds which the Department intends to program for the nest three (3) years. This will require an annual appropriation of P3.3 billion. Further, the proposal is presented in this manner since the preparation of the Detailed Engineering Plans for the Gabaldon restoration projects is tedious and will require more time than the usual Repair and Rehabilitation projects of the Department.

Table 3. Summary of existing Gabaldon Schoolhouses which need budget allocation to be restored in the next three years.

RegionGood ConditionFor CondemnationNeeds Major Repair (less ongoing and programmed projects after NSBI 2019 cut-off)Needs Minor Repair
No. of Site:No. of Building:No. of Site:No. of Building:No. of Site:No. of Building:No. of Site:No. of Building:
Region I57664467672324
Region II13153419191012
Region III4244--39392222
Region IV-A7178--55533538
Region IV-B121519966
Region IX51322181789
Region V30356623231417
Region VI8188551201194856
Region VII8895881741705057
Region VIII5055138352024
Region X32321013494589
Region XI36363413131111
Region XII51144111145
Grand Total5606185560715698289321

Table 4. Proposed budget allocation for the restoration of the identified 698 damaged Gabaldon Schoolhouses for the next three (3) years.

CYTarget No. of BuildingsUnit Cost (per building)Financial Requirement
2021233P10 millionP2.33 billion
2022233P10 millionP2.33 billion
2023232P10 millionP2.33 billion

b. Preventive Maintenance

In order to preserve the condition of the restored Gabaldon Schoolhouses and heritage school buildings, an annual maintenance budget should be put in place for their preventive maintenance. The said budget should be on top of the regular budget for the restoration program. The preventive maintenance of the structure is estimated to cost P500,000 per classroom for minor repairs, which may include but is not limited to repainting using the Standard Color Scheme for Gabaldon Schoolhouses, minor repair of walls, floors, and ceilings, electrical accessories, minor repair of roofing, and termite control among others.

The preventive maintenance of buildings shall be made every five years or as the need arises.

The initial round of preventive maintenance will cover all restored Gabaldon Schoolhouses restored for more than five years, those in good condition, and those needing minor repairs. Thus, the following is proposed for 2021:

Table 5. Proposed budget allocation for the maintenance of 1,302 Gabaldon Schoolhouses.

CategoryNo. of BuildingsTotal Budgetary Requirement
Total No. of Buildings Restored for the last Three Years363181,500,000
Total No. of Buildings Needing Minor Repairs321160,500,000
Total No. of Gabaldons in Good Condition618309,000,000


In summary, the budget proposal for the 2021 Gabaldon Heritage Schools Restoration and Conservation Project will have a total of P2.981 billion broken down as follows:

Table 6. Total of the proposed budget allocation for the restoration and maintenance of 1,535 Gabaldon Schoolhouses for the year 2021.

CategoryTotal Target No. of BuildingsTotal Proposed Budget
Restoration of Gabaldon Schoolhouses233P 2,330.000.000
Preventive Maintenance of Gabaldon Schoolhouses1,302P 651.000.000
Total1,535P 2,981,000,000

This proposal is being put forward to again emphasize the architectural, historical, social, and scientific significance of the Gabaldon Schoolhouses and other heritage school buildings and may be considered a legacy project of this Administration.

Aide Memoire on the Conservation and Restoration of Gabaldon Schoolhouses and Other Heritage School Buildings

Mark Anthony Llego

Mark Anthony Llego, hailing from the Philippines, has made a profound impact on the teaching profession by enabling thousands of teachers nationwide to access crucial information and engage in meaningful exchanges of ideas. His contributions have significantly enhanced their instructional and supervisory capabilities, elevating the quality of education in the Philippines. Beyond his domestic influence, Mark's insightful articles on teaching have garnered international recognition, being featured on highly respected educational websites in the United States. As an agent of change, he continues to empower teachers, both locally and internationally, to excel in their roles and make a lasting difference in the lives of their students, serving as a shining example of the transformative power of knowledge-sharing and collaboration within the teaching community.

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