The best man for the job is a woman! In the business of taking care of people, Filipinos will always, if not majority, associate the word care to all the women, specifically moms who have tirelessly given all that they could to mold leaders and contributing individuals starting at the confines of what we all call home. Truly, times have changed and finally we celebrate more empowered women embracing roles as decision makers in their chosen industries.
Megaworld Hotels and Resorts, the Philippines’ largest hospitality management chain in the country with 6 brands, 12 properties, and 4,500 room keys nationwide, celebrates three smart-working ladies in their organization who’ve managed to rise above copious challenges through different mindsets and rightfully taking a seat in the table as they take on new leadership positions in the organization.
Keep going and learn to stand tall – Rowena Samonte, General Manager of Twin Lakes Hotel
On your next visit to Twin Lakes Hotel, one of the most visited hilltop resorts in the south of Luzon near Tagaytay, make sure to say hello to GM Samonte. Owen, as she is dearly called by many, stepped up from being the property’s Director of Sales and Marketing to now being the first lady General Manager of a 122-room hotel at the center of a 1,200 hectare Twin Lakes estate of Megaworld. Contrary to the title, she shares that as the world continues to evolve, “I am positive that change will come naturally. In the future, she adds, “I would like to be defined and seen as a leader alone, and not a woman leader”. As society comes to better terms with inclusivity, she sees it as a privilege and a responsibility to part-take in the effort of eliminating prejudiced biases with gender and preference as a primary basis.
The first-time general manager has surely done much with almost three decades of humble service in the industry under her belt. She has expanded her craft from operations to sales until reaching an executive leadership rank. During her early days, she remembers starting her career as an outlet cashier moving her way up to Assistant Director of Events and Management in Edsa Shangri-La in Manila. She also dabbled with other international brands like Mandarin Oriental, Intercontinental Hotel and other local brands like B Hotel in Quezon City and Robinsons Hotels and Resorts before joining the largest homegrown hotel chain in the Philippines, Megaworld Hotels and Resorts starting the year 2020 until the present.
When asked about the best advice she can give to the younger generation about becoming a better version of themselves, she said “Keep going despite the times when the world fails to be kind. We must learn to stand tall and take care of ourselves”. She also emphasized that “there is no point in beating yourself up over things that you cannot change. Ultimately, fall in love with the process, not the goal. Don’t be afraid to be too much and enjoy as you watch everything fall into place.”
For the month of March, in honor of Women’s Month, imagine quiet moments with the cold gentle breeze over “Afternoon High Tea”. Enjoy this best in the property’s high ceiling European Style lobby or al fresco, overseeing the hotel’s vineyard and mesmerizing view of Taal lake. Make the month of March memorable for you and the family, for dining and room bookings visit www.twinlakeshotel.com.ph or email [email protected]
Believe in the good in everyone – Maia Israel, General Manager of Belmont Hotel Boracay
Sweet and loving. Promoted from resort manager to now the general manager of Belmont Hotel Boracay in just a span of a year, Maia Israel, has always been well loved for her nurturing approach to leadership. She believes that “mentorship is a tool I personally have benefited from the most and is my privilege and responsibility to pass it forward.”
Remembering the days when she started her career in the hospitality industry way back as part of the reservations team in Shangri-la Mactan in the 90’s up to her stint in Maldives, Indonesia, Fiji, and Cambodia with brands like Marriott International and Banyan Tree and everything else in between, she admits having been blessed with leaders who took the ways of the heart to motivate outcome and positives results.
Were there tough days? She quips, “you bet, and quite a lot! But if there’s one observed universal fact across cultures that ties us all in, is that you will never go wrong when you believe in the good in everyone”. With most of her experience growing in the revenue, rooms operations and F&B of numerous beach resorts all over the world, she said “you can never tell how your day is going to end”. As a certified Island girl, she said “you take things like how the shores welcome the waves of the sea. You can never control it, but you can always make the most out of it”.
As one of the two MHR properties in Boracay Newcoast, one being Savoy Hotel Boracay, she appreciates how unique one is from the other. She said Belmont takes a straightforward and tranquil approach as opposed to the usual parties the island is generally known for. The hotel is most fitting for small to large family reunions, people vacationing with a hint of business, and senescent guests who prefer peace and quiet while enjoying the sun, sand, and sea of Boracay. With 442 rooms, 2 F&B outlets, a pool, spa, and a dedicated beach front perfect to greet the golden sunrise, she dares to ask, “What more from life can you ask for?”
Get treated to a night or two and plan those private dinners by the beach with Belmont Hotel Boracay. Email [email protected] or visit
www.belmonthotelboracay.com for room reservations and other arrangements for a comfortable stay.
Bring the good forward! – Claire del Rosario Bernabe, Director of Customer Experience and New Ventures of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts
It’s all about the experience. “More than the destination, picturesque scenery, and complete facilities is really the collection of memorable moments that builds connections and spark joy” shares Claire Bernabe, Megaworld Hotels and Resorts’ newest addition to the brand management team.
Exactly 30 years in the hospitality industry with local and international experience, Bernabe admits that “a memorable authentic Filipino customer experience is constantly evolving and adequately adapts to the needs of the customer”. Waving the flagship of the largest homegrown hospitality management brand, she confidently attests that “We Filipinos are known to be hospitable and are a happy people. We are enablers, and we do so with warmth and a smile that doesn’t need to be taught or practiced.”
Nothing is ever perfect. No brand will ever have it all but there is always opportunity for its enablers to learn and discover. With her new role as Megaworld Hotels and Resorts’ (MHR) Director of Customer Experience and New Ventures, she is excited about the projects in the pipeline. The only rule of thumb she sees is “It is important to aim to constantly improve the overall experience of each investor or customer has with the brand.”
Luckily with MHR, Bernabe celebrates that the organization is anchored on faith, its investors, and its people. She delights that “MHR has a transformational leader in the person of its very own Managing Director, Ms. Cleofe Albiso, who empowers key executives”. As someone who hails from celebrated brands, Bernabe affirms that “MHR’s structural pillars are in place and steps are being taken to further improve and strengthen the organization to support further growth.” In her line of experience, Bernabe has served leadership roles with brands like Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Century International Hotels, Marco Polo Davao, Novotel Garden Plaza Saigon, Movenpick Saigon, Discovery Shores and so much more.
When asked if there’s one thing all women should look forward to each day, she said “Have the chance to greet another day with a smile, be able to make a difference in the lives of others as much as you inspire them to bring the good forward.”
Looking into the future, Cleofe Albiso, top executive of Megaworld hotels and Resorts announces that “opportunities are endless with the organization”. With gladness she jubilates “we welcome and recognize our new leaders with so much pride and joy knowing that there’s so much instore for everyone who believes in what a homegrown brand like us can do”. Albiso believes in equal opportunities for everyone as long as we stay humble and work hard for it. This year alone, MHR is poised to open the largest hotel in the Philippines which is the Grand Westside Hotel with more than 1,500 rooms strategically located at the Entertainment City in Paranaque. With this, Albiso and her team aims find the right fit for the job for the roles they have available.
To all the women and allies joining in the cause to elevate other women and campaign for inclusivity, trust that you are all welcome across all properties of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts. Get a 20% discount for your next stay whenever you go to Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo, Metro Manila, or near Tagaytay.
Stay in Belmont Hotel Manila or Savoy Hotel Manila within Newport City in Pasay across NAIA terminal 3, Kingsford Hotel Manila located in the Entertainment City of Paranaque, Hotel Lucky Chinatown in Binondo, Twin Lakes Hotel near Tagaytay, Eastwood Richmonde Hotel in Quezon City, Richmonde Hotel Ortigas in Pasig, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo in Iloilo Business Park of Iloilo City, Belmont Hotel Boracay or Savoy Hotel Boracay located at the Newcoast Boracay or even in Savoy Hotel Mactan Newtown in Cebu or in the newly opened Belmont Hotel Mactan Newtown. Learn more about it and visit www.megaworldhotels.com to plan your next hotel getaway. Travel more! For further information, visit the website, email [email protected] or visit Megaworld Hotels & Resorts’ official facebook page.
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