A homey experience

THE hospitality business isn’t so hard, as Fiona Patricia S. Escandor learns from a young man who likens their small hotel to a home away from home.

Shortly before he sat down for the interview, he waved at the guest who was about to exit the lobby. It was a small gesture, yet it spoke a lot about him and his hotel.

Hospitable and accommodating; these are the traits which identify Alba Uno Residencia and its General Manager, Jay Alba.

“My dad always wanted to open a pension house,” shares Jay, “and finally he purchased this property and we made it initially into a boarding house.”

This was back in 2008, just as the BPO industry in the nearby I.T. Park was starting.

After a few months, the family decided to transform it into a hotel. They started with two floors then with gradual expansion, they reached to how it is right now - a six-story structure with 43 rooms.

The small hotel is nestled between the busy I.T. Park and the residential district of Apas, making it ideal for a variety of travelers - from those on business trips to tourists who are simply looking for a homey environment.

Jay is proud of the personalized service offered at Alba Uno. Being a family-managed hotel, the rules aren’t as rigid as it is in big hotels. As Jay describes, it is a cross between a pension house and a three-star hotel. Many of their guests are regulars, who always stay there whenever they visit Cebu.

Running Alba Uno is Jay’s first shot in the hotel industry, and so far, he has proven himself good at it. Previously, he worked for his dad in their family-owned bottle cleaning business. Right now, it is Jay’s younger sister who manages that.

Jay had always seen himself as an entrepreneur and so he studied Business Administration in college. Though, he did also admit that his second choice would have been Architecture. “I’m a frustrated architect,” he discloses lightly.

In fact, he and his wife Cheryl Pages-Alba (who is into Interior Design) were very hands-on during the conceptualization stages of Alba Uno.

When he’s not busy managing the hotel, Jay shares that he simply enjoys spending time with his two kids at home. He cites photography as his current hobby.

“I’m a quiet guy,” he then describes himself, which is rather odd, considering he has to deal with different personalities in his line of work. But as he gave a tour around the place, it became apparent why travelers would prefer his hotel.

Reserved as he is, the young General Manager remains an approachable figure ready to give a gracious “Hello!” to whoever walks in their doors.

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