Carving lives and built spaces - longue dure

Longue durée, associated with historian Fernand Braudel, captures history in a wider expanse, often beyond human memory and extant records. Dr. Fatima Nicetas Rabang-Alonzo, this year’s Bigueño Teacher of the Year (Tertiary), has indeed carved lives and built spaces – longue durée – with her wealth of experience, including her long-running leadership as Dean of the UNP College of Architecture, architectural practice, and mentoring of architects and environmental planners of Ilocos Sur and neighboring provinces.

The local government of Vigan declared her as Bigueño Teacher of the Year, recognizing her significant contribution to the city’s heritage conservation and to the training of architects the University has produced through the years. She will receive her award tonight, January 20, during the Education Nightof Vigan, a part of the 2024 Longganisa Festival.

She is also a licensed environmental planner and a practitioner of heritage conservation. Through her graduate studies at the University of the Philippines and Miriam College, she crafted the heritagization plan of Vigan in the 1990s and an instrument for gauging the integrity of Vigan’s built environment against natural hazards. A long-time member of the city’s Conservation Council, she is one of the key persons who have contributed to the city’s stature as a World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonder Cities of the World.

Aside from these, the Architecture students she has been mentoring have brought home numerous awards from architectural competitions, thereby catapulting UNP to national and international renown.

In 2023, three entries earned places in the EULAT Manila Architectural Workshop Contest held by Instituto Cervantes, an international organization that promotes Hispanic culture. Another team placed third in the First Asian Cultural Heritage Conservation and Utilization Proposal competition at Sun Yat-sen University in China. Likewise, two entries aced second and seventh places, respectively, in the ArchiNEXT: HCG Young Designers’ Competition organized by the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP). More notably, a team won the championship in the World Architecture Festival (WAF) held in Singapore.

A member of the UNP faculty since the late 1980s, Dr. Rabang-Alonzo was also the Middle-Level Administrator (Academic) in 2023. Under her leadership, faculty and students of the College of Architecture have also initiated conservation projects in other municipalities of Ilocos Sur.

The UNP community, led by Dr. Erwin F. Cadorna, takes pride immensely in Dr. Rabang-Alonzo. Her numerous accomplishments not only for UNP but also for the wider community are a source of inspiration for the next generations of UNPians.


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