Wednesday, March 14, 2018

La Union National High School and the Old Grandstand


"If not the oldest, One of the oldest schools in the province or perhaps even in the entire region"

-my pagnapagna-

During my elementary days, specially during weekend's late afternoons, I would end up playing with our neighbors, brothers or sisters at the the "oval" (race track) of the sport center where the nearby old Grandstand stood. We would catch grasshoppers or run, jump (somersault, cartwheel) and play along the grasses. It was a run and chase wide-open space paradise with our dog. These we do through climbing the high fence or pass through a hole in the wall if the gates were closed. Back then, the area where the Department of Education stands today was a small forest of banana plants and cadena de amor vines.
Sometimes we wander along the school grounds of La Union National High School located at the back of the Grandstand and spook ourselves of stories that there were spirits of Japanese soldiers who once made the school as barracks during World War ll.
As I grew up and went to High School at another school (although I never been enrolled to LUNHS), we, together with schoolmates, would sometimes got to visit it as spectators during some Athletic Meets for the "oval" would be venues for those inter-school sporting events.
Years passed and I would just wonder with admiration what was this school's iconic relief (sculpture) that decorate its old building facade was all about.

The relief that adorns the east end of  the south wing of the old Gabaldon building
Every room in the Gabaldon building is sponsored (for minor and major works)

A school bell donated by class of 1934

One day, early morning, I heard sirens of firetrucks. One of its old buildings had burned. The roof structure (trusses and all) which was mainly made of wood, crumbled down as fire devoured it. What remained of the Library was its coral-stone walls.

The coral stone walled Library Building after it was burned 

The newly restored Library (July 2017)


From the 114th Foundation Anniversary (dated March 8-9, 2017) invitation (leaflet)
c/o Ma'am Doydora (SPA teacher):

La Union National High School Historical Highlights

1901 March 1
Philippine Commission authorized provincial boards 
to provide funds for the establishment of secondary schools
 thru the passage Act No. 372 
First provincial secondary school of La Union 
was established under the administration of 
Senor Joaquin Ortega, 
the first civil governor of the province

1903 January 19
San Fernando High School opened its doors for 55 students 
4 girls and 51 boys.

1904 June 22
The school's name was changed into La Union High School

16 American Administration came in succession 

Mr. Cecilio Putong became the first Filipino principal. 
He became the Secretary of Education in the 1950's 

The La Union TAB was recognized 
as the first school campus paper in the country. 

Classes were suspended 
due to the outbreak of the Second World War

Classes were reopened in Bacnotan

The Community College of La Union (CCLU), 
which was initially managed by LUHS 
and situated in the school grounds was established. 
It later became the 
Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University.

The school was nationalized, assuming its present name,
 La Union National High School (PD # 1050).

The first Evening Class, funded by the
 Municipality of San Fernando was organized.

The first Special Science Class, was organized. 
It was later named 
Science and Technology and Engineering (STE).

Summer Class opened

The Special Education (SPED) was piloted.

Special Programs in Sports was piloted. 
Hearing-impaired and blind students 
were enrolled in mainstream classes.

Centennial Celebration of LUNHS.
 First Grand Alumni Home-coming.

Special Program in the Arts (SPA) was organized.

Open High School Program (OHSP)
 basically a home-study program was created.

2013 September
The School Library, 
first stonewalled building was burned.

The K to 12 Senior High School Program, 
an additional two-year course to the 
Junior High School was implemented.

2016 August 8
La Union National High School Alumni Association 
(LUNHSAA) Inc. The umbrella organization
 of the alumni groups, was created and registered 
with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The school library was restored by the Alumni 
spearheaded by LUNHS Alumni USA, INC.


Ma'am Bambico, Xavier Mercado, Ma'am Doydora together with the teachers of LUNHS
and students,and Timpuyog Artes ti Ilocandia opened the Art Exhibit of the
 SPA (Special Program for the Arts) students. (March 2017)

Some of the Artworks of the SPA students (March 2017)
LUNHS students poses for the camera (March 2017)

With recent visits to La Union National High School. I noticed that the old Grandstand was fenced-in. Ma'am Doydora, a teacher of the Special Program in the Arts (SPA), said that it will soon be demolished.

The Old Grandstand just before demolition (November 2017)

Within a few months, the said Grandstand was demolished.

The central back portion of the old Grandstand as it was being demolished (February 2018)

As La Union celebrated its anniversary (March 2) same month with the coming City Founding Anniversary (March 25) this school is the common denominator of the province with that of the city since it was once San Fernando High School and now proudly La Union National High School.

Even though I was not even enrolled (past or present) or got to attend classes in this school, my heart for old structures made me love this school's old buildings. The u-shaped plan of the Gabaldon building with its facade adorned by four (4) unique bas-relief (sculptures) placed at its west and east ends. It reminded me of the stone marker of the Public Market of Baguio City.

The Gabaldon Building
The stone-walled Library building which is of coral stones giving it a natural textured finish. A reminiscence of the the past construction materials that built great buildings of the old Ilocos region like churches and watchtowers.

The "oval" grounds (March 14, 2018 a Wednesday)

The "oval" grounds (March 14, 2018 a Wednesday)

But most of all, a part of my childhood days had made the wide open grassland that was the "athletic oval" of the nearby old grandstand that was gone, refuge of my freedom and happiness shared with our dogs that were also gone.
This was and this still is part of our Home Sweet Home.

-end of pagnapagna-


Subject: La Union National High School (LUNHS)
Location: Barangay of Catbangen
City of San Fernando,
Province of La Union

How to get there:



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