THE Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of La Trinidad, Benguet on March 16, this year, passed Resolution 47-2021:
"Recognizing the historical significance of the Pawid residential house located at 1C-19 Betag, La Trinidad, Benguet Province for being used as a Town Hall after the Philippines got its independence from the United States of America on July 4, 1946."
Introduced by Councilor Francis Lee, the resolution resolved further: "to express the municipality's appreciation and gratitude to the family of Luis and Angeline Pawid for allowing the use of the Pawid Residential House as a Town Hall after the Philippines got her independence from the United States of America on July 4, 1946."
A copy of the resolution was transmitted to the surviving heirs of Luis and Angeline Pawid. Same copy was also transmitted to the Municipal Tourism Office for possible collaboration for the preservation of the structure as a historical tourism site.
"The Pawid House" -- that's how it was known for decades among the residents of the agricultural town of La Trinidad Valley in Benguet province, Philippines.
With the growth of the original resident population leaping from one generation to the next, and by in-migration from other towns and provinces, it has lost its distinction much more so with the rise of commercial buildings that has changed the skyline of the valley.
To the descendants of the former Ifugao Deputy Governor Luis Pawid and Angeline Laoyan, it is now simply called: "the old house." It is located in Barangay Betag.
As we enter another decade of this century, we see the old house still standing in that parcel of land in barangay Betag for the last 89 years!
The two-storey building was constructed in 1931, less than two years after grandpa Luis and grandma Angeline were married. It has withstood the ravages of time; the 2nd world war years, and all sorts of natural calamities such as earthquakes and floods.
Not known to the present generations, the Pawid House was used by the Japanese Imperial forces as their administrative headquarters during the war years. The building was reportedly well maintained, decent and clean -- a culturally natural and traditional trait of Japanese people.
There was one complaint I heard from grandma Angeline about the occupying soldiers, that is, they hacked a hole (12 X 20 inches) through the wooden floor in the 2nd storey (room no. one). That hole was used as communication channel among those in the first and second floors. Practical when intercom and cellphones were not even an imagination.
Intriguing question: did they pay rent or any compensation? Nice inquiry but I guess not. Not even a nickel as a way of compensation for occupancy and in war damage after the war. Grandma Angeline was too timid to ask, typical of an Ibaloi.
The Japanese lost the war and left, and "The Pawid House" was the only building standing in the valley. The Philippines got her independence from America on 04 July l946 and a new government was formed.
So what do we know? The Pawid House was again used as Town Hall for the reinstituted local government of La Trinidad until one was constructed years later (at the present site of the provincial capitol) for the municipality.
Again, the question is: did the local government of La Trinidad pay rent or some sort of compensation? Your imagination is good as mine. There was none.
Grandma Angeline, who became a widow in l947, had the house renovated when La Trinidad municipality had her own building. She had the two-storey building spaces partitioned into 15 comfortable rooms.
Further improvements were in done 1952. She rented them out for additional income to support the brood of seven children and who, by the grace of the Almighty, earned college and university education degrees.
Teachers, students, businessmen and working women, Dangwa truck and bus drivers and conductors were among the multitude of occupants who warmed those rooms of this pinewood edifice.
The "old house" today still stands erect, portions of which are in decay and short of maintenance. And commercial stalls were constructed around it. Yet those who resided in it, in long or short terms, can proudly say they made this building their home.
March 26, 2021
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