- 21 Feb 2017 11:00 AM
Cen, as she is fondly called by family and friends, was born and raised in the the city of Toledo located at the South of Cebu, and is a proud, full-blooded Cebuana. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy at the University of San Carlos and became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) right after.
Before she became the General Manager of Cebu Parklane International Hotel, she worked for major hotels and resorts in the Philippines and abroad, gaining and strengthening her experience in hospitality management. She furthered her learning by taking Post Graduate studies, Masters of Business Administration in Ateneo de Manila University, completing the course by 2012. Currently, she is taking up Law.
Having been in the hotel industry for almost 20 years, Cen has received a number of accolades to her name, one of which is the Most Outstanding Lady Business Executive Leader for Hotel Management and Services.
1. If you were going to live on a deserted island what 3 things would you take?
Just things? Can I include a person? My daughter, a book, and if there is no Wi-Fi then my iPod.
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
3. Please tell us about your professional goals, vision for this hotel.
After finishing College, i wanted to be a banker since that was the most sought after profession on the early 90’s. After a year and half of being a banker, I decided it was not for me. I wanted to be a part of the hospitality industry, and by now I have been in this industry for 20 years. I travelled due to my work but always missed Cebu, as here we have the best of everything, hiking in mountains, and I love diving and that is easy here too, plus golf which I enjoy.
This GM opportunity came just at the right time, after experience with international brands I felt I could add most value at a local brand. At a multinational hotel the decision making is made too high up the management chain, here I can throw ideas to a hand picked team and we can make a difference by thinking out of the box, making that our strength! Guests want to experience the destination, and as a local brand we can deliver that, as our slogan goes: A hotel in Cebu that stands for Cebu.
4. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
Where to begin, the huge disparity between the poor and rich in society.
5. How long have you been a supporter of charity?
Ever since I can remember! Back in 2003 when working in Manila I helped launch a program in which a certain portion of the purchase price goes to charity. Here today we support the Freeman Foundation, every December we gather 100 underprivileged kids together for a day and we pamper them, holding a party for them so they feel special. And we just recently launched a partnership with Cancer Warrior Foundation, helping children suffering the big C.
6. What has been the biggest achievement in your life so far?
Apart from my Daughter, this hotel, I feel it’s like my baby, after 9 year here my name is strongly attached to the success of this property. Another example is when i was the President of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu.
7. What is the secret of your success?
I really enjoy what I’m doing!
8. What career other than yours would you also love to pursue?
I’m working on it now, I’m studying to be a lawyer!
9. What's the last book you read, and movie you watched?
The Revised Penal Code (for my law studies), the last film was '13 Hours in Bengasi'.
10. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
The Ups and Downs of Cen.
11. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, with whom would it be?
The Pope. I’m not so religious, however the current pope is the first religious leader I follow on Twitter, because I like that he is not so conventional, and is in fact quite different!
12. What can’t you resist?
13. If you were given a wish that could come true, what would you ask for?
A cure for the big C, for Cancer.
14. What has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
Recently, just last week actually, when I met kids with cancer as part of our Cancer Warriors charity work, and saw how the family of cancer victims deal with their situation, I saw first hand how they have to deal with …I thought I handled a lot, but they made a big impact on me...
15. If you could go back in time what would you do differently in your life given what you know now?
Nothing. Everything happens for a reason.
16. What was the most interesting travel trip you have ever taken?
Recently I went to Taipei with my daughter, we stayed for 4 nights, we had no tour guide just a map in our hands and we explored and enjoyed everything together.
17. In which ways do you continue your professional development?
In the hospitality industry, I already made my mark for Cebu (and myself). Two years ago I started to study law as it’s something I've always imagined doing…and maybe it will be a stepping stone to other careers, lets see...
18. In five years from now what will you be doing?
Hopefully practicing law, I can picture myself dealing with the NGO side of the law, helping the environment for example, not for the money but to give back to the community.
19. What was the luckiest moment in your life so far?
Having my daughter, she gives me purpose.
20. What would you say is your personal motto?
Living life to the fullest!