ADAPTIVE reuse is the method of using an old building for a purpose other than for which it was originally designed or built while retaining its distinct architectural details. This is a way to save an old, dilapidated but historic building that is already up for demolition.
One such derelict but significant structure is the old Dispensary Building or Dispensaryo in Glan, Sarangani, a municipality famous for its rich cultural heritage. Locals take pride in the interesting history of their hometown. Glan first started as an agricultural colony in 1914 and became a settlement of early Christian migrants, particularly from Cebu.
These migrants, locally known as “colonos,” brought with them the long-practiced house building tradition of the Cebuanos. This explains the number of decades-old heritage structures in Glan with intricate wood carvings and interesting fretwork panels identical to several colonial ancestral houses in Cebu.
The Dispensaryo is among these buildings. Built in the 1940s, it is situated on one side of the Glan town plaza and served as the health center of the town. This wooden, elevated structure is held dearly by most elderly townsfolks as it evokes many memories, both cheerful and painful. This was the venue where they experienced various medical procedures that have become important milestones in their lives, from vaccination to circumcision and giving birth to receiving treatment for illnesses.
However, the septuagenarian Dispensary Building is now long abandoned. Local officials fear that the structure might eventually go into a state of disrepair due to exposure to weather, termites, natural decay and other factors, if nothing is done for its preservation.
Hence, the Soccsksargen or SOX chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines has proffered its support to give assistance in the plan and development for the adaptive reuse of the Dispensary Building. It will be repurposed as a museum in which objects of historical, artistic and cultural significance to the town will be kept and exhibited. This project will be in collaboration with the Local Government Unit of the Municipality of Glan with the support of the Municipal Tourism Office and the local community as well.
After a successful project launch last April at the Dispensaryo grounds, attended by Vice Mayor Dr. Vivien Yap, Councilor Dr. Tranquilino Ruiz II, Glan Tourism Office Head Lodar Escobillo and UAP Soccsksargen members led by Vice President Cathy Mae Lorica, the proponents are one with the vision of establishing a community that preserves and values cultural heritage. The project, target for completion in December of this year, is now on its development planning stage. Once completed, this will be the first museum in town. Not only will it showcase Glan’s cultural and historical treasures, but will become another tourism attraction for the province of Sarangani.