Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Memories of PNB Escolta

Jefe, Momay, Juanito, Krystal, and Yeyette posing in front of a blown-up photo of old Escolta draped in front of Syvel's Department Store (now closed). My mom used to tag me along here whenever she buys me clothes and shoes.

As young boys, whenever me and my brother Jason pass by historic Calle Escolta with our mother on our way to and from Tondo (where my mom grew up), we make it a point to visit this Philippine National Bank (PNB) branch because my paternal granduncle, Paulo B. Évora (brother of my father's mother), used to call the shots here. We just pass by to say "hello". As far as I can remember, it was on this place where I first met him.

PNB Escolta housed at the old Masonic Temple. My late grandmother's brother used to manage this branch, which was actually PNB's head office, a few decades back.

Those unplanned visits to PNB Escolta were moments of boredom. What child would want to hang around in a bank in the first place? Also, the place seemed to me more like a museum than a bank. I can still remember its thick interior glass walls with strange sculptures of large birds and lizards on the other side of it. Vaguely, I remember a fountain somewhere with its soft, gurgling waters that pleases the ear amid murmurs and the occasional clink of coins. The shiny gloom of the bank's interiors with comfy sofas filled with formal-wearing adults were intimidating at times (and many times, the place reminds me of NAIA's sad-looking lobbies).

I can still vividly remember Uncle Litoy (as we were wont to call my dad's uncle) emerging from his office escorted by a smart-looking girl in uniform. His arrival is when boredom starts to dissipate, because he was always a sight to behold, always looking like a dapper don with that hushed and handsome smile of his. Aside from his classic criollo features, it's Uncle Litoy's long tie that I remember the most; I don't know why (perhaps it's because up to now I still do not know what the heck it's used for).

I can still remember my childish confusion and wonderment when my mom first brought us there and introduced us to Uncle Litoy.

"O, ¿quilala niyó ba siyá?", my mom asked us while bidding us to kiss (mano) his hand. He then told us that the smart-looking gentleman is no other than our grandmother's brother, that he is from Unisan, too.

Click here to read the rest of the story (with more photos)!