Bong Recio and Meloy Casas, former principal architects of Recio+Casas | Portraits by Ed Simon


A Reunion for Artifacts from Recio+Casas

Bong Recio, Meloy Casas, and the old office gather for an evening of reminiscing good times.

  • June 30, 2017

When leading firm Recio+Casas dissolved after 20 years of partnership, the industry was shocked. It was one of the most successful and stable tandems the local architecture community had seen. In August 2008, on the last day of work at Recio+Casas, employees walked out the door uncertain of their future but trusting the leader they had chosen to stay with would build a firm just as strong as the one they were leaving. Getting your people to take a leap of faith with you—that is perhaps one of the strongest testaments to the leadership of Bong Recio and Meloy Casas. Both men inspire excellence and loyalty. Both have with them managers and directors who have worked by their side for 10 years or longer.

Although they share values and principles, their leadership styles are entirely different, with an easygoing, familial atmosphere at Rchitects, and a structured corporate setup at Casas+Architects. The contrasts are reassuring. They tell us there is more than one way to the top, and leaders can drive their firms there by being the best version of themselves.

From the recent Recio+Casas reunion hosted by Kohler and Sanitec (Upper L-R) Sonny Sanchez, Joel Afable, Jen Manuel-Sanchez, Rey Alivar, Edith Lomboy, Alvin Cruz, Jimmy Hermogenes, Bong Recio, Meloy Casas, Richard Bitas, George Palma, Manny Manuel (Lower L-R) Jim Abaloyan, CarlitoBuendia, Carol de Guzman, Mae Santos. Photo courtesy of Kuysen
From the recent Recio+Casas reunion hosted by Kohler and Sanitec (Upper L-R) Sonny Sanchez, Joel Afable, Jen Manuel-Sanchez, Rey Alivar, Edith Lomboy, Alvin Cruz, Jimmy Hermogenes, Bong Recio, Meloy Casas, Richard Bitas, George Palma, Manny Manuel (Lower L-R) Jim Abaloyan, CarlitoBuendia, Carol de Guzman, Mae Santos. Photo courtesy of Kuysen

A recent reunion of Recio+Casas took place at Xiu Restaurant, Greenhills on the 24th of May 2017. Ernesto Reyes, Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Sanitec Import Ventures Inc., hosted the reunion alongside Ar. George Palma who also happens to be the instigator of the event. Palma worked with R+C from 1996 to 2007 and is now Rockwell Land’s Design Manager. The desire to see old familiar faces prompted the gathering. Moreover, the many collaborations of Kohler Co. and Sanitec Import Ventures Inc. with the firm encouraged both companies to organize the reunion.

Carlito Buendia, the graphic artist responsible for the logo of Recio+Casas, explained that the 5 x 5 dots represent the number of letters in the surnames of Bong and Meloy. Photo courtesy of Kuysen
Carlito Buendia, the graphic artist responsible for the logo of Recio+Casas, explained that the 5 x 5 dots represent the number of letters in the surnames of Bong and Meloy. Photo courtesy of Kuysen

During the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 90s, Recio+Casas was already occupied with the Pacific Plaza Towers at Fort Bonifacio. Reyes, who was with Josol at that time, together with Adam Quek from Kohler, worked with the architects with Kohler as the brand of choice for bathroom fixtures and fittings in the project. Despite the economic crisis, Bong, Meloy, and the proponents of the Pacific Plaza Towers boldly decided to stick to the committed luxury development. The iconic building was designed with the intent to use the best products available in the market.

“We chose to go against the current, just like the salmon,” said Reyes. Quek, now the General Manager and Commercial Director for Kohler Kitchen and Bath Southeast Asia, added that “the Philippines became the rising star for Kohler.” Once the Pacific Plaza Towers were finished, the high-rise condominium gained recognition even amongst professionals, leading other property developers to follow suit with luxurious specifications. 

(Upper L-R) Adam Quek, Ernesto Reyes, Jonathan Kwong, Benjamin Chang (Lower L-R) Rebecca Yang, Jensen Go, Angel Yang, Bee Hong Tan (Middle L-R) April Gonzales, Meloy Casas, Bong Recio, Mary Ann Marquez

Mandy Reyes, the first architect ever employed at Recio+Casas, was responsible for setting up the Philippine office while the principals were still in Hong Kong.

Ar. George Palma and Mr. Ernesto Reyes

Ms. Angel Yang, President of Kohler Kitchen and Bath Asia Pacific, from Shanghai personally thanked Ar. Recio, Ar. Casas, and their team of designers. The appearance of the brand on such prestigious projects served to reinforce the luxury image of Kohler in the Philippines.

Mr. Adam Quek, General Manager and Commercial Director for Kohler Kitchen and Bath Southeast Asia

Mr. Jensen Go, the Chairman of Sanitec Import Ventures Inc., extended his gratitude to the audience of design professionals.

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