Saving Social Graces: The Moms of Mini Manners Cast a Social Lifeline

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In an age where social connections are both closer and more distant, super moms Ana Roces, China Jocson, and Happy Ongpauco-Tiu have taken it upon themselves to bring over a distinct brand of refined social graces back to the country. 

It began as an idea from China. Her daughter, Cruz, had become a student of France’s ‘savoir-vivre’ through her Enseignement Moral et Civique class while Ana had been training in Image Mastery at the International Image Institute in Canada. She followed through with a trainer certification program on Etiquette at The Etiquette School of New York while China began developing a proposal that would better attune their programs to local participants.

At some point, they had already been conducting corporate runs for two years with Ana as trainer and Happy on board as their caterer for seminars under the Happy Concept Group. Their years of friendship and experience finally came through when they launched their capsule programs; formally merging Happy’s professional experience with fine dining and Ana’s programs—all carefully planned by China.

Even as business partners, their personalities blended well. Happy exudes calm, Ana employs an organized life, and China, is the strict enforcer that brings it all together. Mini Manners opened with their friends and family as participants, and formally launched in Makati and San Juan.

Ana teaching a Mealtime Manners class

Mini Manners programs for kids have two main capsules, Mealtime Manners and Social Manners, both of which are short courses that run for three hours and only caters to ten children per class for maximum supervision. Social Manners would cover sub topics like greetings, first impressions, posture and gratitude, and communication among others while Mealtime Manners is staged by Private Dining by Happy.  Aside from their established capsules, they also offer “mini” corporate programs on Professional Training and Development, which is customized according to every client. 

All mothers themselves, the topic of etiquette is something these three moms hold dear as their kids also join their programs. For Happy, it was a priority that she have her four boys grow up to be gentlemen, which she finds easier to do with the program; while China finds it important to make it a habit especially as the world grows wider and kids are exposed to more and more situations. 

Ana’s two children have also participated in their programs, with Ana’s daughter assisting during her summer break. For her, etiquette and social graces are very important life skills as it shapes their character and will follow them into adulthood. She finds that Mini Manners has come at a time where it’s more relevant than ever due to our digital landscape where interactions are less personable, and people are losing sight of their decency.