Welcome to My Site

If this is your first visit, welcome! This site is devoted to my life experiences as a Filipino-American who immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1960. I came to the US as a graduate student when I was 26 years old. I am now in my early-80's and thanks God for his blessings, I have four successful and professional children and six grandchildren here in the US. My wife and I had been enjoying the snow bird lifestyle between US and Philippines after my retirement from USFDA in 2002. Please do not forget to read the latest national and International News in this site . I have also posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos in this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing on your copyrights. Cheers!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Joys and Pains of Managing a Small Beach Resort

Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

If you have been reading my blogs and Face Book notes and status, you probably know, that my wife and I owned and managed a small beach resort in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. We named it Chateau Du Mer. It is a French name, loosely translated as House by the Sea or House of the Sea.

Grammatically, it should be Chateau De La Mer, since Chateau is a feminine noun, but for brevity, we used “Du” ( masculine form) instead of “De La”. Currently the resort could accommodate up to 15 guests. Most of our clients are non-Filipinos. Because of the name of the resort, majority of our guests were from France for the last 5 years. On Easter Week, the resort becomes a BED and BREAKFAST INN.

The resort is composed of a two-story beach house, a servant/care-taker cottage, a2600 sq ft 3-bedroom French Provincial house ( our retirement home), a conference Hall that could accommodate up to 400 attendees and four small buildings housing our diesel generator, tools and equipments and two water pump houses. My two sister-in-laws have also a vacation cottage, a beach house and a servant quarters with its own water well and pump house in the five acres of landscaped and fenced property. For a detail description of the beach resort, visit http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com or www.chateaudumer.com

Sunset from the Balcony of the Beach House-Photo by Philippe Godard

This year Holy Week Season and Moriones Festival was our busiest week. The beach house was fully booked. We had 12 guests from Denmark, France, Australia and Singapore. Reservations and deposits had been negotiated via e-mail and electronic banking about four months before Holy Week. However, I am glad to know that one month before Easter, I received numerous telephone and e-mail inquiries( almost daily) asking for availability and possible booking. This means that my Internet presence is good and my advertising is working. I wish I had more cottages to accommodate guests that do not plan ahead. Maybe next year, if I win the LOTTO, I will build more cottages. So what are the joys of running a small resort with mostly non-Filipino clients.

1. Meeting people of varying ages of different background and culture is very educational and inspiring.

2. Helping them with their transportation and other needs gives me things to do,so it makes me feel useful

3. Hearing positive feed backs about their vacation, amenities of the resort ( continental breakfast, hot showers, air-conditioning) as well as their enjoyment of the beauty of the island made me very proud that I have provided excellent service to our guests.

4. After a few days of stay at the resort, these guests became personal friends. Some of them plan to return, but all of them informed me they will recommend the resort to their friends and relatives.

5. Last but not least, the rental income helped me pay my annual real estate taxes and maintenance costs.

Now for the pains of managing the resort

1. Maintenance costs had been escalating. Recruiting trusted and capable workers, painters, plumbers, cook, housekeeper is getting harder in Boac.

2. Getting personal help( except for gardeners) had been my problem this year, so I have to do most of the driving and menial chores such as opening and closing the lights, etc...

3. Preparing and purchasing food for breakfast ( no rice and dried fish in the morning) for the enjoyment of non-Filipino guests required advance planning and skill. Luckily my wife had been excellent in this department based on positive comments about the breakfast we served.( mango pancakes, french toast, huevos rancherous are our guest's favorites)

4. Dealing with various personalities, different cultures and backgrounds is not easy and coping up with very demanding guests sometimes irritates me.

However, in general, the joys outweighs the pains. So as long as my good health continues, I will gladly do this annual activity. Who says that after retirement, you just sit on your butt and do nothing and feel sorry for yourself. Managing a small beach resort makes me feel young and useful. This is one activity that I enjoyed very much in my retiring years including conducting, managing and participating in several medical and dental missions in the province of Marinduque for the last ten years.

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