Pangasinan to restore its old Casa Real, 'carsel'

January 14, 2012 9:40 am 

By Leonardo V. Micua

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Jan. 13 — Two important landmarks are set to be restored in the capital town of Lingayen as part of the cultural renaissance program of Pangasinan seeking to revive past glories and pride of the province.

These are the old Casa Real, a dilapidated two-story building beside the Lingayen Municipal Hall which once served as the seat of the provincial government during the Spanish regime; and the adjacent "carsel" which continues to this day as the provincial jail of Pangasinan.

These twin projects are expected to be finally realized soon as Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil of the second district of Pangasinan agreed to allocate part of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) this year to help make this dream come true.

Bataoil, speaking during the Media in Action forum of the Pangasinan Press Club on Wednesday, admitted he already initially discussed with Governor Amado Espino Jr. about his intention to give part of his PDAF in support of the two projects.

The plan is to restore the Casa Real to its old Spanish beauty and for the present provincial jail to be relocated somewhere for it to be restored too to its old look to become aa new tourism pride of Pangasinan.

Many people have observed that the provincial jail is already out of place in the downtown area of Lingayen which is now developing into a big commercial area due to its almost 24-hour economic activities.

Bataoil stressed, however, that his PDAF would not be enough to complete the projects, thus he personally wrote the Department of Tourism (DOT) to extend help till these two landmarks are back in their old shape.

As of result, DOT officials are coming to see the two structures soon and probably prepare a comprehensive restoration plan in order to bring to the present and future Pangasinenses a quick glimpse of their past.

Realizing the importance of these twin projects, the provincial government included the restoration of Casa Real and the old Spanish Carsel as its priority for the incoming years starting in 2012.

Espino believes that if these two Spanish edifices are restored, similar to what he did two years ago with the old Sison Auditorium here, he can preposition Pangasinan as biggest crowd drawer in Region 1, if not the whole country.

The Casa Real used to be the seat of the Pangasinan provincial government. As the old provincial capitol till the American Regime, it was there where the governor of Pangasinan was holding office.

Thus the edifice means a lot for Espino, the first provincial governor who succeeded in putting Pangasinan in the map of tourism in Region 1 and the entire Philippines.

The Pangasinan Historical and Cultural Commission headed by Atty. Gonzalo Duque, through the Pangasinan Historical Society led by Arabella Arcinue, is seeking the restoration of the two edifices to remind Pangasinenses of their gloried past.

Old folks said that when the present provincial capitol was built during the American Regime, the Casa Real was relegated as mere justice building of the province and later as an extension of the Lingayen Municipal Hall.

But because of its present dilapidated state, the Casa Real was eventually abandoned and left to the mercy of the elements. (PNA) dct/scs/lvm/rma

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