"I am delighted to endorse Hospitality Superstars by the leading human resource expert in the hospitality industry, Vic Alcuaz. And proud too because among the featured professionals is our very own Ed Vitug who has built our brand, The Bayleaf, to what today is synonymous with service excellence in the hospitality industry. Undoubtedly, the professionals in this book will inspire the next generation of Filipino hoteliers and propel the Philippines to become one of the most sought after destinations in the world."

Roberto P. Laurel
President, Lyceum of the Philippines University

"Hospitality Superstars is truly an inspiring book for the next generation of hoteliers. Vic Alcuaz provides readers with an impressive roster of Filipino leaders and visionaries, who have contributed to the hospitality sector through their skills and knowledge, fueled by a passion for this dynamic field. The stories and profiles of these 10 Hospitality Superstars serve as building blocks for future hoteliers. I look forward to reading about more "hospitality superstars" in the future, who will heave their mark in significant ways."

Mariel Fontanilla
Editor-in-Chief, F&B World Magazine

"It takes more than forward-thinking to turn dreams into reality. Beyond discipline and dedication, there lies a unique and unwavering passion. Such are the virtues of Vic Alcuaz. And the fascinating truth about this man and his bright vision is that he continues to challenge himself - one achievement after the other. Thus, one can only expect to be amazed by him. Mabuhay, the core greeting of the Philippines is founded on two key words - Ma - a state of being/having or becoming and Buhay - life. To sum it up, Mabuhay means may you have life. Vic Alcuaz has imbibed the spirit of Mabuhay and he wishes to share it with us."

Cory Quirino
Wellness Advocate & National Director, Miss World PH

"Vic Alcuaz is noted as the "Godfather" of hoteliers in the Philippines. He has honed, placed, and tracked majority of Filipino talents in the local and international hospitality industry. A long time HR practitioner in the premier hotels, he evolved into a specialized hospitality head hunter, trainer and consultant. He has enabled hotels, restaurants, and firms to grow and provide delightful service. Developing and recognizing the best Filipino hospitality talents has been his passion. It was his dream to publish a book to honor Filipinos who have made the most distinguished contribution in the hallmarks of the industry. "Hospitality Superstars" will motivate more professionals to aspire and excel in their chosen fields."

Lizanne Uychaco
SVP, SM Investments Corp.
HOSPITALITY SUPERSTARS, the first book written by VIC ALCUAZ is now available in bookstores. Soft cover at P450 and hard cover at P650. If you wish to place bulk orders, please email JOE CHUA, Publisher at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text VIC ALCUAZ at +63 917 875-5555.

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Service Excellence

Mabuhay Ka!

Press Releases

F&B Magazine

Hospitality Report

Cruising Going Places

Others

  • Writers Rose Ocampo and Aimee Flores quotes Vic Alcuaz on Abab News - Pinoy Xtra on its August 19,2012 publication.
    The soft copy of the publication can be found here.

Chef Masahiro Mizumoto of Kitsho at Traders Hotel

Chef Mizumoto is reknowned for introducing the exquisite fugu (blowfish)
menu at KItsho Japanese Restaurant at the Traders Hotel. Fugu is the
second most poisonous fish in the world and chefs in Japan have to pass a
very strict licensure examination to cook this delicacy. Chef Mizumoto is the
only Japanese Executive Chef in the country with this license. Another
poisonous fish Chef Mizumoto is proficient with is the Stonefish, actually
considered the most poisonous. Preparation of this exquisite fish is very
meticulous and the end result is a beautiful stonefish sashimi platter with thin
slices of fish meat, stomach, inner skin and liver with raw fish itself, all served
on a small wooden boat.
Chef Mizumoto is a hands on chef who goes to the seafood market everyday
to catch the freshest fish available. He says stonefish in the Cartimar and
Baclaran markets are much cheaper than in Japan and are of very high
quality.
In his close to 30 years in the culinary world of Japanese cuisine, he
considers his training in Fukuoka, Japan, which is known for its bountiful
harvest of wild and cultured fugu during winter as one of the most important
phases in his journey. Mizumoto took multiple courses in the preparation of
fugu and apprenticed extensively for five years before passing the
examination that eventually earned him his license.
In the year 2012, our country’s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines invited Chef
Mizumoto to become one of five master chefs who were asked to lend their
great culinary dishes for the airline’s 2013 - 2015 worldwide menu offerings.
His expertise was tapped specifically for the Japanese meals on-board. The
Chef’s culinary master pieces are now available in all PAL flights to Japan.
For Fugu afficionados, you must book one week ahead for a whole fugu to be
shipped in from Japan. For more information call Traders Hotel at 708-4888.

Cory Quirino - Beauty & wellness Guru

"CORY QUIRINO, BEAUTY & WELLNESS GURU" 
When Cory Quirino talks about staying forever young everyone listens because she is the epitome of beauty and wellness. 
She hosts her weekly TV program on Saturdays, her weekly radio program on Sundays and writes her weekly wellness column in a broadsheet Tuesdays. All these besides her books, talks around the country and running the yearly search for Miss World Phili ppines! Under her reign, Cory has already produced the first Miss \Vorld crown for the Philippines in the person of Megan Young in 2013. 
Before rising to this "guru" stature, Cory was a professional hotelier having worked in sales and later in public relations with the Hyatt Regency Manila for ten years. Despite her workaholic lifestyle Cory knows how to put the right balance in her life. So how does she do it? 
ON HER TRUE SECRET FOR REMAINING FOREVER YOUNG - " Life has 3 major components: body, mind and spirit governed by one universal Jaw - LOVE. Therefore, if you Jove your body, you will do all that is required to nourish it and keep it in shape. So I feed my body well. I never eat cooked food for breakfast exc-ept for boiled eggs and rolled oats. I drink water 30 minutes be!bre my meal so it does not interfere with the digestion system during a meal. I eat vegetables and fish more than meat. I exercise in whatever form including walking at least 15 minutes daily. I feed my mind by praying and medita ting anytime during the day. In this way I combat stress and remind myself that God is within me. I develop a positive outlook in life and welcome problems and adversities as necessary evils to make me a better person. I have a very forgiving nature and my heart always chooses love versus fear". 
ON HER DAILY RITUALS - "When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is thank God for another day and another opportunity to be the person I want to be. I wake up with a joytitl spirit everyday. When the spirit is happy, the body does not have a choice but to follow suit. I immediately brush my teeth and tongue to remove the stale saliva and bacteria accumulated during my sleep. After which I drink 2 glasses of warm water to remove the aci dity in my system. And then 2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil which in 20 minutes is converted to pure energy that I so badly need for my 16-hour daily lifestyle". 
ON THE LOVES OF HER LIFE -"I Jove my daughter Tamila and Tamila's son Sage; the Philippines and the Filipino people -I am so happy and proud to be a Filipino; and of course I Jove God and life". 
ON HOW SHE COPES WITH NEGATIVE FORCES - "I was kidnapped in 1995 by lawless elements. During the entire experience I knew that if I chose to be fearful I would loose in the end. Therefore I chose the only other emotion left., Jove. I prayed for my captors, not for me.

Heinrich Ludwig Maulbecker

A GERMAN HOTELIER WHO HAS MADE BAGUIO CITY HIS HOME
Flashback 1990. A devastating earthquake shakes Luzon and brings down the best hotel in Baguio City, the Hyatt Terreces, with many fatalities including hotel staff and guests.
HEINRICH LUDWIG MAULBECKER, Heiner as he is fondly called was the hotelʼs general manager. His wife and daughter were among those who died in this disaster.
When Heiner first came to Baguio to audit what was an independently run hotel, the Baguio Terreces, his recommendation to the Hyatt head office in Hongkong was not not to take it. He packed up and was ready to go back to Thailand where he was running the Hyatt hotel in that country in 1978. The owners of the Baguio Terreces however were able to convince him to give the hotel a shot and that they would give Hyatt all the support they required including a major renovation of the entire facility. Heiner took this as a challenge and became the first and the only general manager of what became Hyatt Terreces Baguio starting September 1979.
Heiner started his career in Hotel Krone, Auerbach, Germany as an apprentice doing the chores of a waiter, a breakfast cook, a steward and hotel cleaner. After finishing hotel school, Heiner moved to France to experience the glamor of working in French hotels, wearing pin stripe uniforms and silver ties! Heiner learned French quickly and easily assimilated to the French culture and way of life. His first big break came when he was invited to work as assistant front office manager of a 120 room hotel in Saint Moritz, Switzerland. This is when Heiner felt truly confident that he was now part of what hoteliers of that time called ʻthe big league.ʼ This exposure in Saint Moritz lead him to an even greater career opportunity, with Hilton International, which was one of the top 3 international hotel chains at that time (1969). Heiner was entrusted key positions in the Hilton Hotels in Germany, Canada and Turkey. After 10 years with Hilton, another growing international chain spotted Heiner, Hyatt International and invited him to become General Manager, his first appointment to the top post, of the Hyatt Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand in 1978.
When Heiner was in Bangkok, there was a shortage of hotel rooms in the city despite the presence of many international and local chains. Among the most prominent hotels present were Intercontinental, Dusit Thani and of course the legendary, The Oriental. After leaving the country in 1991 to take a break from the difficulties he experienced after the earthquake, Heiner returned to Baguio in 1999 to take on another opportunity as General Manager of the Camp John Hay Golf Club, The Manor at Camp John Hay and the CAP John Hay Trade & Cultural Center. At present, he is Managing Director of Camp John Hay Leisure, Inc. and Club Manager of the CJH Golf Club. 
Mr. Maulbecker received a degree of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa from the University of Baguio in 2009 for his personal and professional integrity and expertise and his selfless and dedicated service to Baguio City in particular and the Filipino people in general. In 2011, he was chosen as on of the top 10 German hoteliers working overseas by the Frankfurt Airport Club.

JP Cabalza - The Travel Man With Two Hats

John Paul Cabalza (JP), the young and dynamic president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association or the PTAA is wearing two hats this year - that of president of the 500 strong PTAA and as chairman of the 21st Travel Tour Expo scheduled February 14 to 16, 2014 at the SMX Convention Center. Their apt theme is ʻLove Life, Love Travel.ʼ Among the exciting expo innovations will be the bigger participation by Philippine Airlines who will occupy almost 1,000 square meters of floor space at the 2nd floor to better service those who will purchase air tickets at huge discounts. In previous expos, PALʼs booths were always the most sought after with very long queues and waiting time, sometimes lasting 2 to 3 hours. The expo expects close to 400 exhibitors that include airlines, hotels, resorts, country clubs, travel agencies, tour operators, transportation companies and foreign embassies. In last yearʼs expo, PTAA joined forces with the Japanese Embassy as well as Japanese firms to encourage expo participants to support Japanʼs need for more visitors after the major tsunami that hit northern Japan in 2011 and displaced thousands of people. The yearly PTAA expo has become a popular venue for countries like Japan who need the support of the ever growing travelling population of the world.

I asked JP about how the traditional travel agencies, most of which are PTAA members, stay relevant in this times of ʻon-line travel booking agentsʼ or ʻOTAʼsʼ who have already gained tremendous ground in terms of hotel room bookings. JP is quick to tell me that although they have learned to adopt to the changing times, travel agencies still play a very crucial role for the ʻMICEʼ market (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) where personalized service is key. PTAA provides continuing education to its members on how they can stay relevant and needed, he added. Another major role of the PTAA is to liaise with government, particularly the Departments of Tourism and Foreign Affairs on issues affecting the tourism industry as a whole.

When asked about why the Philippines has always lagged behind tourism arrivals compared to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam, JP contends that entry access to our country has always been a major issue. However, with many major developments in this arena, particularly the signing of RA10374 that effectively eliminates both the common carriers tax and gross Philippine billings tax imposed on international airlines, more airlines are again interested to come back to the country, among them KLM, Delta, Lufthansa, Saudia and Qatar. Apart from the entry access issue, JP says that we also have to be able to provide adequate services required by specific travelers like Halal food for Muslims and tour guides with knowledge of the Korean language who can serve our biggest tourist market today, the Koreans. He reiterates that tourism infrastructure particularly airports and additional runways are a must. At the moment, JP says that our five top foreign visitors are the Koreans, Americans, Japanese, Chinese and Taiwanese. The Australians are catching up, landing at number 6.

Since JP, who is Managing Director of his own travel agency, Central Bancorporation Travel & Leisure, Inc. (CENCORP), champions domestic tourism, I asked him to name his own 5 destinations in the country with the greatest tourism potential: 1. Baler in Quezon Province; 2. Samal Island in Davao; 3. Palaui Island in Cagayan province; 4. Caramoan Island in Catanduanes; and 5. Ilocos Norte. When I interviewed John Paul Cabalza for this column, he was accompanied by his well-bred 12-year old son Migs who kept himself busy with his iPad. P believes that a good life, work balance, reduces our daily stresses. He engages in sporting activities like basketball, swimming and trips to the gym and spends much time with Migs and wife.

Manila Restaurant

After the second world war, the Philippines welcomed an influx of Chinese immigrants who were escaping prosecution in their country. Some of them have become so financially successful we now refer to them as 'taipans', owning big businesses in major industries like banking, airlines, shipping, manufacturing, real estate, shopping malls, hotels and restaurants. Many of these immigrants settled not only in Manila but all over the country and our queen city in the south Cebu City had its big share of these early immigrants. 
A distinguished Chinese couple named Tan Si Siong and his wife Cecilia Tan were among these. Mr. Tan Si Siong first landed in Manila from his native province in Xiamen, China in the late 1940's and started working as a 'chopper' in the very popular Chinese restaurant in Ongpin Street, Binondo called Salazar (now closed). In 1951, Mr. Tan decided it was time to explore a new base in the country and start his own restaurant. In July 4 of that year, the husband & wife team opened the MANILA RESTAURANT right in the heart of the old Cebu downtown area, close to the Santo Nino Basilica and the famous Carbon market.
A typical day for Mr. & Mrs. Tan in those days would always begin at 5 in the morning. While Mrs. Tan would run to the market for the day's requirements, Mr. Tan would already be in the kitchen preparing the mis en place. Manila Restaurant would promptly open every day at 7am and stay open till near midnight. During operating hours, Mr. Tan would be busy cooking in the kitchen while Mrs. Tan was in charge of the plating of all food items. The running joke among the couple's friends before was that if they saw Mrs. Tan doing the plating they would wait till she leaves her station because she was very 'stingy' in plating ingredients. The restaurant became famous because of their best sellers then which remain their best sellers now: makimi (ma means meat, ki means sticky soup and mi means noodles), pancit Canton, lomi, chopsuey and buttered chicken. In those early days, the restaurant was already delivering their popular food items to their patrons on bicycle, the predecessor of the now ubiquitous delivery motorcycles. 
Just like any business, Manila Restaurant had its share of ups and downs. There were times when they had to negotiate with the electric company not to cut their electricity just not to make matters worse. The good thing is that because Manila Restaurant was already a favoured establishment in the city for many decades it was not difficult for them to get concessions and favours from people from all walks of life, many of them their loyal patrons. When both Mr & Mrs Tan reached their senior years in the eighties they were afflicted with illnesses that required their very young children, Dixon and Amy to start helping their parents and become more active in the business. Mr. & Mrs. Tan died in the 90's four years apart. 
Manila Restaurant (now called Manila Food Shop) is run by Dixon who was 11 years old when he started helping his parents. The menu has remained unchanged and they are open 362 days a year, closing only on Good Friday, Christmas day & New Year's day. The legacy Mr. & Mrs. Tan left to Dixon and Amy is now slowly being handed down to Dixon's older son aged 12. The amazing thing is that it is his son who is showing great interest in the business already asking his father many whys, what’s and even why nots...

Vaness Ledesma Suatengco - Hotelier Par Excellance!

Vanessa Ledesma Suatengco is General Manager of the plush hotel by the bay, the Diamond Hotel Philippines. Appointed in 2009, Vanessa is the first and only female Filipino general manager of a 5-star hotel in the country.

Not very many know that Vanessa started her hotel career in the human resources department, having served as HR chief for Silahis International, Manila Hotel and the Edsa Shangri-la Manila. She also served as president of AHRM, the Association of Human Resources Managers in the hospitality industry, which consists of HR executives of hotels, resorts & restaurants all over the Philippines

So how did a human resource executive land as general manager of the Diamond Hotel Philippines? Vanessa was given a very rare opportunity when she was the HR chief of the Edsa Shangri-la Manila to become the hotel's first lady & Filipina resident manager. She took this as one of her greatest challenges in life and as the cliché goes, the rest is history (you may read more about the hospitality life of Vanessa in my up-coming book entitled 'Hospitality Superstars' which will feature my list of 10 of the Philippines' top persons in the hospitality industry to be released in June 2014 and published by the Bulletin Publishing Corporation in time for this magazines' 15th anniversary).

I asked Vanessa's staff in Edsa Shangri-la and the Diamond to describe her as a 'boss' and in gist this is what everyone has to say about this lady that was named 'Mabuhay Gold Hotelier of the Year' in 2008: "a stickler for rules, a disciplinarian, very caring and concerned for our welfare, always asking how else we can do things better, a great believer in people empowerment, a wonderful mentor and friend, a balanced and inspiring leader."

Vanessa believes that her role in the organisation is to be able to bring about a highly motivated and efficient staff that will consistently offer their hotels guests service beyond their expectations. She says, "It’s a constant challenge to balance efficiency with friendliness, but because we have the right ingredients, an excellent product + excellent human capital, we are able to deliver, almost always."