Saturday, November 12, 2011

Remembering JTMA and my 3rd Floor Prudential Life

I had a memorable 11-11-11. 
The Manosa family with the old JTMA gang
Ibay and Rani with Trixie Manosa
Chi Victorino at the helm with the gang
Three days ago I received a text message from Arch Chi Victorino inviting me to a JTMA (Jose T. Manosa and Associates) reunion. The venue will be somewhere in Makati and she was doing a headcount who will attend.  The idea of a reunion 11 years after I left JTMA was quite interesting so even though I had a few deadlines I immediately said yes. I see a few of my old officemates every now and then and chat with some over at Facebook.  To see them in one room together would be fun and an event which might not happen again in a long time. It was timely as one of our old bosses, the animated Nonoy Messina passed away a week ago. He did not want a funeral service. To meet with old friends, and of course, Arch Pinngoy Manosa (JTM to most of us) and the Manosa Family would signify celebrating Nonoy's life for most of us. 

With my batchmates at JTMA
It was determined that the reunion will take place in Mary Grace Cafe over at Greenbelt 2.  I came with friend Arch Pinky Gendrano who worked at JTMA as a specs writer in 1996.  I myself entered the company in 1997 and left at 2000.  That was a good 3 years of my life.  I was a senior designer/architect and it was at JTMA where I enriched my design experience doing a variety of design projects.  I remember being involved in San Miguel Training Center, International School, Max's Restaurant, Tequila Joe's, California Pizza Kitchen, Prudential Bank  and a lot more projects ranging from residential, institutional to commercial. I was part of the team when JTMA's business was at its peak with us employees reaching 60 at a time.  And it looked like a good number, about 35 people, was present that day.

Arch. Pinggoy and Mrs. Manosa
Greeting the newly arrived guests
As we entered the second floor dining area of Mary Grace we found JTM and Mrs Manosa sitting at the center of the room with ID tags labelled 'tagabayad' and 'tagabayad's wife'.  Trixie was also present, taking time out from her U.S. life. They stood up to welcome us warmly into the event.  They did successively for everyone who came that night.  They knew us all.  We were  issued name tags, as we were all employed at different times - former employees, coming from 3 different companies and various generations, the old Manosa Brothers (1959) to Manosa-Zialcita and finally JTMA (1978 to present).  It was chance to see the old and new faces, and how everyone evolved after their Manosa employment, their life beyond 3rd floor Prudential Bank Building. 

The lovely far-view girls
JTM clowning around with the girls
JTM looked as feisty as ever.  He hopped from one table to the other taking pictures himself and having his pics taken with us former employees.  All these photos and of course the chance to see and hear stories from everyone are priceless. It was a happy and nostalgic 3 hours, simple yet very memorable. To cap the night, JTM addressed all of us and expressed his elation in seeing a room full of architects and professionals making life after JTMA. He said it was rare to see a collection of old former employees in any company, and he was proud that people have stayed friends and very much in touch with one another.  He hopes the night will be repeated.

Trixia and JTM talking to all present
Arch. Jose 'Pinggoy' T. Manosa
I was particularly touched by his sentiments.  Some of us present did not exactly leave the company in good terms, but the Manosas seemed to have not held any grudge against anyone. My image of JTM has always been like a father to us his JTMA family. He is more than a mentor considering his status (the architect of the famous San Miguel headquarters, and the first Pinoy architect to be included in Sir Banister Fletcher's History of Architecture). My vision of Filipino architecture was greatly influenced by him.  I still remember what he told me regarding Philippine Architecture, that it is beyond the usage of indigenous materials, but it relies more on the training of the Pinoy architect and how he reflects his experiences through his designs. Very well said and kept in the corners of my psyche.

I was glad to be there that night despite ditching all my deadlines. It was great to reconnect with the Manosas and old JTMA gang. May there be another reunion in the future.
The rare JTMA group shot

1 comment:

rey_o said...

God bless JTMA. I used to be the Accountant of Arch. Manosa, from October 1996 to March 2002.