RAY Go Manigsaca, president and CEO of AppleOne Properties Inc., wants to help Cebu’s tourism industry shine in the global spotlight.
His family is pouring in billions of investments to bring in one of the world’s sought-after hotel brands, Sheraton Hotel and Resorts, to the shores of Mactan Island in Punta Engaño.
Cebu can expect the opening of Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort in the first half of 2019, another milestone in Cebu’s hospitality sector.
Prior to this big-ticket venture in tourism, Ray and his wife Venus founded VenRay Construction, the first business they opened in the 1990s.
Ray is an electronics communications engineer while Venus is a civil engineer. Both had stints in the corporate world after graduation but later on resigned to jumpstart their dream to run a business and be their own bosses.
VenRay Construction started with modest denominated contracts in the 1990s such as building roads, bridges, and water production facilities.
Driven by their passion to succeed, the couple worked their way up and expanded the construction business in Visayas and Mindanao. At present, VenRay belongs to the top 20 contractors in the country.
With a keen eye for opportunity, the power couple diversified their business from construction to property development, hospitality, food and restaurants, retail, finance, construction supply, and commercial space leasing.
Some of their top projects in Cebu City are AppleOne Equicom Tower, a 17-storey mixed-use building in Cebu Business Park, and AppleOne Banawa Heights, a mid-range residential condominium project on a three-hectare property in Banawa. It consists of 19 buildings inspired by the San Francisco Bay’s Pacific Heights.
The Manigsacas have two children who are already involved in the business.
Ray Patrick has come on board as executive manager after working in a bank in Makati. Samantha, on the other hand, is completing her degree in international hospitality management at the Enderun College in Manila.
What was your first job?
I was a salesman in Sara Lee Philippines in 1989. I worked my way up and became the head of the firm’s consumer and personal product division for Mindanao operations.
I covered all the areas in Mindanao and went as far as Basilan, Jolo, Tawi-Tawi just to achieve my sales quota. I believe this is where I developed my marketing skills and interpersonal relationship.
In 1995, I left my job and joined my wife Venus in running VenRay Construction. It was actually she who started it after she left her brief job at the Department of Public Works and Highways. I saw the potential of the business and we felt we needed to work together to make it grow.
We started from scratch. We saved money for eight years because we really had a plan to get into business. I left my stable job and took the risk.
Who inspired you to get into business?
Business was already on our minds when we were still students. But it was my son, Ray Patrick, who pushed me to resign from my corporate job. I wanted to see him grow and if I continued my job in Mindanao, there would be no way for me to watch him grow.
My father, Erlindo, an elementary public school teacher, is also an inspiration. His hard work and determination have encouraged me to also excel in life.
Why did you pick this type of business or industry?
We are both engineering graduates. Venus’ expertise is on the technical aspect. My work background, on the other hand, is sales and marketing, which is more interpersonal, an asset. For me, it brings the right blend for the business to grow.
We ventured into construction because this was the only business at that time we were familiar with, which turned out to be profitable, considering the lack of developments during that time.
Where did you get the training you needed to succeed?
My six-year work experience in Sara Lee Philippines taught and helped me a lot. It taught me to get along well with people while getting the job done.
When the financial crisis hit in 1997, it did not dampen our spirits. We held on to the business and continued to dream big. Business creates a different way to achieve personal growth.
How many times did you fail before you succeeded?
I failed many times. But for me, failure is just a temporary setback. You are a failure if you define yourself a failure. To avoid that trap, you have to look for ways to overcome it.
One of the lessons I learned in the 1997 crisis is that it’s critical for a business to be liquid. It is an advantage to have cash.
We also did not limit ourselves to construction. We saw an opportunity to diversify and it helped the company remain solid. Our advantage is that we are builders so it wasn’t that difficult to tap new businesses.
We’ve also started training our children to learn the business. Ray Patrick is already involved. In the long term, we are excited to see how this company we built from scratch will grow by leaps and bounds.