Doing business consulting is one of the main purposes of our stay in Philippines. Thanks to our teacher who linked us to the local business, we got the chance to learn their stories through working with them. For my group, our working partner is the Paseo del Mar Beach Club, which consists of Paseo del Mar resort and Drift Divers diving shop. They are owned by two separated businessmen, Jesse and Silvio, whom are friends of one another.
Jesse and Paseo del Mar
Jesse undertook his father’s hostel business as he passed away some years ago. Unlike other successors of family business, he was capable and determined to rectify some of the management defects. He turned the old country club into today’s Paseo del Mar, a resort filled with most customers come from overseas. Paseo provides accommodation to travellers from all around the world, plus the opportunity to taste the original Filipino culture. It is not the fanciest resort in Jagna, however, its local culture makes it a unique place for backpackers. What impressed the foreigners the most might be the “cold water bucket challenge”. Unlike the Ice bucket challenge that is merely a short campaign for charity, local Filipinos use cold water with a bucket to clean themselves for their whole life. It is a part of local culture that Paseo can offer, even though not everyone would like it.
Paseo has a mature system of record keeping, thanks to Jesse’s brilliant effort. He knows the business very well. He knows his customers for he has always kept an eye on the online reviews. As the only resort with online booking, Paseo wins almost all the foreign customers. His competence, on the other hand, just makes our task complicated for we have to come up with recommendations on how to make it better.
Silvio, the Drift Diver
At the age of near 60, the Italian man still looks energetic with the accompany of his dogs, even though one of his leg has been broken due to an accident. Living by the sea, he is the owner of the only diving shop in Jagna, Drift Divers. The diving shop is a separated business from Paseo del Mar, but they commonly share most of the equipment of the hostel. Silvio loves diving and the sea. He decided to stay at Jagna and live by his beloved sea years ago. Here he promotes not only the sport of diving, but also the sense of marine world conservation. For this reason, Drift Divers also seek for partnership with local and global environmental NGOs.
Just like most old men, Silvio has a lot of stories to share with us. He bought the diving business from the previous owner, Jeremy, a few years ago. He has 6 dogs and 4 cats in the resort. They are like his friends, with a very strong bonding. In most afternoon, we saw a harmony between men and the animals: they rested under the same roof, sharing the same tea, welcoming every one entered their room.
Jagna and Tourism
To help our business partners attract more customers, we even visited the local tourist office to get a picture of local tourism. Since we realized the sales of Paseo is highly correlated to size of local tourist market, we decided to suggest the government on ways to promote tourism. The officers were very patient to answer our questions, and provided most of the data we wanted. When we offered to write a brief proposal for the local tourism, they even wanted us to have a meeting with the mayor. We were so surprised and determined to help them come up with a good plan.
Only Here in Jagna
There might be thousands of resorts out there in the world, and each has their own stories. What we discovered these days can only be found here in Jagna, for every single one of them is unique. It is our job to be their consultant on how to improve the business; while our cooperation seems like that between friends, like Jesse and Silvio. I enjoyed the chat with their staff and customers. Sometimes, when the customers checked out and left, I felt uneasy for a while too. It is more than a job to be done, an assignment to be completed; it is an offer to the friends: the work might be tough, but we enjoy every moment spent with them.