The Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), which celebrated its 84th anniversary last April, is literally moving up in terms of office location when the 10-storey AAP Tower opens in the last quarter of the year at 683 Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City.
Founded in 1931 as the Philippine Motor Association (PMA), AAP began its humble beginnings renting office space in Manila.
The very first office of the national auto club, before World War II, was in the Manila Hotel in Port Area, the most prestigious and oldest hotel in the Philippines. Executive Secretary Jorge Vargas was the first chairman and president.
After the war, the club moved to a building on R. Hidalgo Street in Quiapo owned by Benito Legarda, who succeeded Vargas as president in 1937 and continued to be so until 1973. The club secretariat kept office there until December 1974.
After Legarda stepped down in 1973, Dr. Manuel Lim took over the helm of PMA. In 1981, when Juan Tuason was elected president, the PMA moved to a building owned by his family.
Tuason stayed on as PMA president for only one year and was succeeded by lawyer and rally driver Conrado “Dodo” Ayuyao in 1982. Ayuyao was the longest-serving president (1982-1999) and it was under his watch that the club acquired a property at 683 Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City, the first time that it owned its own office building.
Based on the accounts of the “old-timers” of the club, Ayuyao initiated the PMA’s branching out. In the early 1990s, the PMA opened another office in Makati City followed by a satellite office in Cebu City. Ayuyao died in 1999 and was succeeded by architect Carlos Arguelles, then serving as vice president.
After Arguelles passed away in 2003, Antonio Mapa was elected president. In 2001, when PMA celebrated its 70th anniversary, the club changed its name to Automobile Association Philippines to be in sync with other motoring clubs around the world affiliated with the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
Unfortunately, Mapa met an untimely demise in 2003 in a road crash in Negros Occidental. The presidency of AAP was assumed by then vice-president Augusto “Gus” Lagman, who remains as the head of the national auto club up to this day.
In 2014, the AAP board, led by Lagman, decided to demolish its old building at 683 Aurora Boulevard and build a 10-storey state-of-the-art tower on the site. The tower is almost completed and its ground floor has been leased to EastWest Bank.
The AAP Tower would not only provide members easier and more convenient access to the services offered by their club, it will also help to finance the club’s various operations via the enhanced leasing values in the vicinity.
Situated in an area convenient for office workers and employees, the 10-storey building stands right in front of the Light Rail Transit Gilmore station, as well as directly across the AAP-Goodyear Auto Care Center, the site of which was acquired by AAP in the recent past. The AAP Tower is also within walking distance of St. Paul’s College and nearby retail hubs such as Robinson’s Magnolia Mall.