Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation, Inc and its local partners recently held the graduation of the Batanes Satellite Program of Escuela Taller last 26 Oct. 2019.
Escuela Taller welcomed ten new graduates under the program who trained and worked in the conservation of some traditional Ivatan houses in barangay Savidug for more than a year. All ten graduates received certificates in Traditional Masonry while 3 of them received certificates in Carpentry.
Under the buddy system and the learning-by-doing methodology, these Ivatan graduates worked with ET graduates from Manila and later, local master builders who took lead in repairing some of the more traditional components of the houses like the roof. As graduates, they are expected to take part in conservation activities, not just in Sabtang but other parts of Batanes as opportunities arise.
Mayor Emilio Maxilindo Babalo, Sabtang town mayor, welcomed guests and expressed continued support for conservation projects that would ultimately served their town and help preserve Ivan heritage.
Meanwhile, the graduation’s keynote speakers, former Education and Budget Secretary, Mr. Florencio “Butch” Abad, the brains behind the project, emphasized that there should be ownership from the Ivatan’s of their built heritage. He said that initiatives like this can only succeed with local support. He also pointed how heritage conservation can be carefully tied with sustainable tourism and serve as potential economic gains for local stakeholders and the community.
The Batanes Heritage Foundation and the Jorge, Aurora and Pacita Abad Memorial Foundation will take charge of the conservation works needed in the remaining vernacular houses in Savidug which have been the platform of training and the object of the conservation. As earlier planned, the houses will be converted into a community-managed bed & breakfast( B&B) to cater to the growing number of tourists who visit Batanes.
For Escuela Taller’s part, Ar. Cobilla thanked all the partners in Batanes and expressed ET’s continued commitment to a more sustained collaboration and partnership in safeguarding the province’s very rich and unique built heritage. By far, the Batanes project has been the farthest engagement that Escuela Taller has been involved in. It is also the first vernacular houses that Escuela Taller has been requested to intervene in.