A caring touch through the years

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

NOW. Alegrado wants the resort to be still around for the next generation.


AMUMA is the Cebuano word for pampering, for nurture, for caring. And amuma is what the resort Bluewater Maribago offers, on top of a fantastic beach front and comfortable rooms and good food.

Arcadio “Dodong” Alegrado recalls that the resort was not what he envisioned over 25 years ago when he built a beach house on a 100-square-meter beach front lot. The idea was to have a place with fresh air and sparkling blue waters as a getaway from the dust and chemical smells of the family furniture factory, Alenter.

Friends and business associates learned about this haven  and soon the beach house became too small for family and guests. The place had to expand. Fortunately, there were 12 neighboring subdivided  titled lots belonging to 12 siblings. After one sibling sold his share, the others slowly followed. And so Maribago Bluewater was born on July 19, 1989. Alegrado said he was able to raise funds to set up the resort  by offering time-sharing: for 25 years, the share holder could use the resort facilities for a set number of days. At that time, there were 20 rooms in native style huts on a two-hectare lot. Today, the resort is all of seven hectares with 160 rooms, rooms that are larger with a lot more space for toilet and bath than the original 20.

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As Bluewater Maribago grew, the brand expanded itself at first to Sumilon Island, off Oslob in south Cebu, and then to Bluewater in Panglao, Bohol,  both bearing the signature amuma touch of the mother resort.

Alegrado retired from active management of his business enterprises (which include the Almont hotels in Butuan City) when he turned 65 and turned over the managerial job to the child “inclined to wards business as a profession,” Julie, who is married to Vic Vergara.

At the silver anniversary celebration of the resort, the emcee talked about the Bluewater brand as going global. Julie says not now, though there have been offers to put up the resort in some Asean country. The problem, she says, is really the lack of manpower. Pirating of personnel is prevalent in the industry, which is why, as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility, she is putting up the Bluewater Academy, a Tesda-accredited school for the “not so privileged” high school graduates willing to undergo six months skills  training with free board and lodging. 

The school, within Bluewater Maribago, which started this August, focuses on values and skills on waiting, bartending, housekeeping, kitchen and front office work. After two years, the school will add supervisory skills and after another two years, managerial skills. For the first batch, Julie says she has 25 scholars, all of whom she has personally visited in their homes. She says expanding abroad may have to be for the next generation as right now, she is still planning for Bluewater in Palawan and perhaps in Siquijor.

While she’s busy managing the resort, her father is busy insuring that the resort will still be around for the next generations. He has been attending seminars on how to keep family businesses intact, is doing a constitution and by-laws for the family-owned corporations, and is seeing to it that the third generation would be sent to the best schools to prepare them for taking over the business. Expect then the Bluewater amuma touch to still be around in the next 25, 50,100 years, not just in the Philippines but also perhaps abroad!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 25, 2014.

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