THE matter has been subject of discussion for at least a couple of years. But the proposed transfer did not really sink in until last Wednesday during the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) monthly board meeting.

BPI's corporate communications staff photographed for posterity what was to be the last board meeting held at the bank's head office at the corner of Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas.

By the next board meeting in March, BPI's executive offices will have completely transferred to its temporary office at the Ayala North Exchange (ANE), which occupies the northern end of Ayala Avenue at the corners of Salcedo and Amorsolo Streets.

The building is right next to the Makati Medical Center.

Earlier, BPI initiated a phased relocation of other offices to the adjacent Insular Life Building, the Makati Stock Exchange building, and other BPI or Ayala-owned buildings such as the Buendia Center, Vertis North and South as well as Alabang in Muntinlupa City.

Transfers completed, the way is now paved for the demolition of the iconic 20-storey building and the erection of a more modern headquarters more than twice the size.

The new head office building is expected to be completed in four years.

BPI Director Xavier P. Loinaz -- who served as BPI president for 22 years -- was nostalgic.

The construction of the old 20-storey building coincided with the start of Loinaz's presidency in 1982. It was also the year the BPI obtained its universal banking license from the then Central Bank of the Philippines.

Loinaz recalled that one of the BPI senior officers -- Vic Aquino -- oversaw the building's construction and the whole project was completed without any hitch. For a long time, the building was one of a handful standing along Ayala Avenue.

When the construction started, current BPI President Cezar "Bong" Consing was a rising executive of the bank, working at Corporate Planning.

Consing plans to give away figurines depicting the old BPI building as a fitting memento to the Philippine's first bank.

Museo ng Muntinlupeño opening soon

Muntinlupa City will have a soft opening of its Museo ng Muntinlupeño on March 1, coinciding with the 24th anniversary of its cityhood.

Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi said he hopes that the Museo -- another in a series of flagship projects -- will serve as an effective vehicle for instilling among residents a proper appreciation of Muntinlupa's past.

"Not very many people know how important a role Muntinlupa has played throughout history, starting from the fledgling First Republic, to the restoration of democracy," Fresnedi explained.

"The once sleepy town was an early line of defense of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo from the pursuing Spanish forces, as well as the American invaders who followed afterwards.

"It was a bulwark against the Japanese imperialists and a stepping stone towards the Liberation at war's end.

"Muntinlupa reprised this role decades later, holding the line against armed forces loyal to a dictator desperately holding on to power."

Located in Barangay Tunasan, the new 5-storey museum's exterior resembles a graphic representation of a "Salakab," an instrument made of bamboo for catching fish in shallow water.

The building was designed by home-grown Architect Don Causapin.

The Museohas an indoor cinema theater, and an inter-active floor with robotics.

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