Encouragement is oxygen to the soul. A man has joy by the answer of his mouth; and a word spoken in due season, how good it is! —Proverbs 15: 23
Last Jan. 25 would have been the 85th birthday of the beloved icon of democracy, Tita Cory to everyone. Thank you for remembering her in your prayers, texts, and posts.
PNoy and his sisters Ballsy Cruz, Pinky Abellada, Viel Dee, and Kris prayed for her at the Manila Memorial gravesite which was festooned with yellow flowers and wreaths.
It was also the birthday of my only granddaughter, Amanda Julia Siytangco Masigan. She turned 19 in beautiful Spain. It was her first birthday alone without family and she coped with her new friends, all studying at the university. We are all proud of her!
* * *
We are eagerly looking forward to the country’s biggest pyromusical show, the 9th Philippine International Pyromusical Competition this Feb. 17 to March 24. This is staged over the Manila Bay fronting the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) and last year we watched almost all the Saturdays they had it.
To start it off this year is the host country, the Philippines, presented by Platinum Fireworks and Switzerland. You can watch from the MOA grounds for free or book in any of the restaurants facing the bay-like Conrad Hotel or the restaurants in S’Maison.
We booked our weekly tables at the XO Heritage Bistro which has premium tables on the deck looking out to the bay and the fireworks spectacular. Those Saturday evenings were fun with great Philippine cuisine the company of friends and beautiful fireworks set to music. On Feb. 24, it will be the USA and Germany: on March 3, it will be the turn of Austria and Canada; on March 10 it will be France and Italy; on March 17, it will be Taiwan and United Kingdom, and at the finale, March 24, China and the host country, Philippines. Call XO Heritage Bistro for early reservation at 02 805 3860.
* * *
Our long-time friend, Robert L. Yupangco (RLY) of Zoomanity – Yupangco Group won in the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (APEA) 2017. APEA is the most prestigious award for entrepreneurship in Asia and Pacific Region given to business leaders for their outstanding leadership and entrepreneurial excellence in a specific field. Another awardee was Megaworld’s Andrew Tan.
I remembered Robert well because of his pioneering eco-tourism venture farm. Back then it was simply Residence Inn, a small tourist hotel with a fascinating menagerie of plants and animals, like alligators, snakes, and so on. This was in Mendez, just outside Tagaytay and it has a sweeping view of the lake.
The 12-hectare agricultural theme park is now Pardizoo and now has an on-going festival of flowers, vegetables, and livestock until March 31 on weekends. It’s open to everyone. You can walk through greenhouses, check out vermiculture and other agri activities, and marvel at the animals for sale—rabbits, love birds, hamsters, goats, turkeys, etc.
Robert bagged the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award (APEA) for Tourism, Hospitality, and Food Service. Yupangco is president/CEO of Zoomanity- Yupangco Group and was cited for his exceptional contribution in the tourism and hospitality business sector. He established the foundations of Yupangco Group such as Yamaha School of Music, Sound Publishing Corporation, YL Development (Real Estate), Yupangco Electronics Corporation, and YL Finance Corporation (micro financing, consumer financing, and remittance services) with the help of his siblings and his mother who is the matriarch of the family.
From the music and finance sectors, Robert saw the potential in tourism and hospitality industry, he expanded and built Zoomanity Group Corporation. With almost two million visitors per year it is considered as one of the leading companies in zoos and theme park industry with eight local and international parks namely, Zoobic Safari in Subic, Zoori (Zoo at Residence Inn) in Tagaytay, Paradizoo Theme Farm in Mendez Cavite, Zoocobia Fun Zoo in Clark, Pampanga, Zoocolate Thrills in Bohol, Zootopia in Nagano, Japan and Animal Conservation and Breeding Center in Australia.
Having an extensive experience in developing and managing companies in tourism, farming, and hospitality sector, he is now called “The Modern Day ZOOper Man” who has a vision of creating the Philippines as “One Big Green Resort and Theme Park,” a complete tourism ecosystem that provides not just zoo tourist destinations but also tourism hospitality services such as hotels, restaurants, and transportation.
He has expanded his horizons to the food industry under Chefmate Corporation that operates the following: Jinsei Sushi Bar, Misono Teppanyaki Restaurant, Nanten Japanese Restaurant, Midori Japanese Restaurant, Samgyupsalamat by Korean Alley, Korean Lane Development Corporation, Unli City (Unlimited Meals), and Ruins City Garden. These restaurants offer fresh, wild, and sustainable seafood that are distributed with the help of Alaska Seafood Philippines and Seaking Seafood Products/ Super Catch Inc.
RLY also has Zoomanity Wheelz that offers Vans, Coaster, Tram Rentals, Pitbull, Multi cabs, Pitcabs Golf cars, Zooper Cars, and Chartered Bus transport and services thru his partner Bel Air Bus Charter Corporation.
Robert loves to quote of Peter Draker, “Our business is simply marketing and innovation.”
He is now also involved in developing innovative products in different sectors. In agriculture, a multi-million greenhouse project with Calata Group Corporation is in the pipeline. In entertainment sector, Modi, an all in one entertainment device is now launched in the market, a partnership project with Modtech Global. And of course Tourism industry, soon he will open “GlampZ” or glamorous camping at Zoomanity in partnership with Eunina Mañgio. He will create another legacy as he expands his business by establishing a three-in-one masterpiece called “Galleries of the World” in partnership with Pacific Concrete Product Inc. and WCL Solution Inc., which showcases the Wax Muzeum, La Galleria, and FunZ.
Does Robert still have time to have fun? Oh, yes, says this hard-to-catch bachelor dude. Just seeing all his enterprises working like clockwork gives him a natural “high.”(mb.com)