Hospitality turns Manila doc into Sarangani resort-operator

April 14, 2009 11:43 pm 

By Rommel G. Rebollido

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 14 – What tourism can do to a community or an individual may just be more than what can be earned from the amazing sights and sounds of a place.

“Essentially, hospitality is what makes it really work,” remarked Delfin Besquillo, a dental surgeon, who left a lucrative family business in Metro Manila to settle in a beachfront home in Gumasa.

Gumasa, some 60 kilometers southeast of this city, is a village in Glan town, Sarangani, which is famous for its powdery white sands.

Along with wife Solficia and their five children, the 77-year old surgeon moved to that tourist destination hoping that they could fulfill a cherished dream of sharing their Ilongo-style hospitality to tourists.

In putting up the family-run Coco Beach Resort, Besquillo always has a reminder for locals and their workers, “Tourism is about friends, about public relations. It’s more than money.”

Besquillo said leaving their properties and business in the national capital which they built for 40 years is more than enough determination to start a life in the rural Gumasa.

Given the option, Besquillo said he could have chosen happiness this way had he realized it much earlier.

What makes the Besquillo’s Coco Beach Resort tick is the identity they have attached into it – “A beach with Ilonggo hospitality.”

The grand old man of the resort shared that at times, management is more conscious of the hospitality that it must afford clients, even forgetting they also have to earn.

In December, a group of some 3,000 public school teachers from Sarangani held their Christmas party at Coco Beach. The Besquillos earned only P10,000 for the whole day affair, charging the teachers only for the accommodation.

“One thing we must know, not all tourists are rich,” said Besquillo.

As in any service-oriented business, “some passion for clients helps quite a lot,” he said.

For the other resorts nearby, he would say they have their own mark, but, "we would be known always for our hospitality, the Ilonggo way.”

Besquillo said they are now preparing for the forthcoming Sarangani Bay Festival, where they expect to bring in tourists to their place.

Set May 27 to 29 the Sarangani Bay Festival would again stage what organizers say is the “biggest beach party in Mindanao” at the Gumasa white sands.

The three-day merry-making will include beach volleyball and football, kayaking, skim boarding, jetskiing, banca race, an 11-kilometer swim-across-the-bay race, and a historical reenactment of the history of the bay in the opening day.

Whatever the festival brings, “we will just be here with our service and hospitality,” Besquillo quipped. (PNA)

DCT/vcs/RGR

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