Staying afloat and keeping a positive bottom line for businesses in normal times is hard enough, more so in the time of a crisis, a pandemic at that and with several down lines in the chain affected once the business collapses.
Park Inn by Radisson Bacolod and Fresh Start Organics, two of the recently inaugurated businesses here in Bacolod City, thrived amid the crisis.
Park Inn started its construction before the pandemic and was unfortunately completed at the height of the pandemic, yet, the SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation pushed for its opening July 8, 2021 despite the risks.
Seen as an integral part of the SM City Bacolod mall complex with easy access to the SMX Convention Center, this vibrant upper midscale hotel is ideal for business and leisure travelers alike.
Park Inn by Radisson Bacolod features 150 rooms and suites, outdoor pools for adults and children, a fitness center, four F&B outlets and an art gallery dedicated to host regular art and photography exhibitions by local talents. Meeting planners can choose from three function rooms and two private dining rooms to host events.
“The opening of Park Inn by Radisson Bacolod creates another milestone in SMHCC’s history, as it offers Bacolod-
nons the first internationally-branded hotel in the City of Smiles. As such, SMHCC solidifies its pursuit to further strengthen its brand portfolio and take hospitality to a notch higher,” Peggy E. Angeles, Executive Vice President of SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation, said.
Radisson may seem like an international brand but hires local. About 73 percent of Park Inn by Radisson Bacolod workforce are Negrenses where 55 percent resides in Bacolod City.
General Manager Sherwin Lucas, although not from Negros, boasts of its hardworking and competent team at Park Inn here.
“I am particularly proud of the team, a lot of them are locals so they are very helpful in knowing the market. I have a great team that gave me the guidance, especially the market here can get crazy but they teach me to listen to the heart of the market,” Lucas shared as he beams with pride the kind of workforce Bacolod has in the hotel.
Negrense artists also have a lot to look forward to at the hotel with the opening of Art Cove, an art space for Negrense artists.
Art Cove is a reflection of the combined love for the arts shared by the locals of this region and by the SM Group. Through Art Cove, it will enable help to cultivate and nurture more talents by serving as an avenue to showcase Negrosnanon art to travelers and amplify the art tourism in the province.
Negrense visual artist Joan Honoridez, with photographer Christina Bautista, were featured artists at the opening of Art Cove where Honoridez was also commissioned to do the mural titled the “Tale of Marapara” at the second level of the hotel, the Marapara Plaza (Pool Deck).
To further keep the spirit of Christmas alive and to strengthen the hotel’s corporate social responsibility program, Park Inn by Radisson Bacolod partnered with Kalipay Negrense Bacolod where part hotel's holiday hampers sales will be
given to the foundation to support the basic needs of Recovered Treasures, a home for disadvantaged children under Kalipay Negrense.
Meanwhile, a homegrown company Fresh Start Organics initially felt the impact of the pandemic but it is meant for bigger things as it opened its Fresh Start’s LANAI, a unique al fresco dining setup, which formally opened on December 8.
LANAI by FreshStart is a casual dining farm to table restaurant that uses produce of organic farmers, local artisans, and Negrense culinary heritage with an all-natural menu "made from scratch" and highlights local "ark of taste" ingredients— endangered, local heritage food, unique in taste, and are a part of distinct eco-region.
Owner Ramon “Chinchin” Uy said the restaurant has a natural set up with tropical plants around making it a tranquil and close-to-nature dining experience.
"Our menu is seasonal because it is based on the produce available at our organic farm. We take pride in serving our customers only with the highest quality of organic and natural ingredients, with no shortcuts, no MSG (monosodium glutamate), and no artificial coloring or flavoring," Uy stressed.
Fresh Start is one of the pioneer organic farms, stores, cafes, and restaurants based in Negros Occidental which started in 2005.
Uy is a staunch supporter of both the organic and the slow food movements, and an advocate for a healthy lifestyle and use of organic, natural and local ingredients.
Both Park Inn by Radisson Bacolod and LANAI by Fresh Start Organics are manifestations that it is possible to stay positive and thrive through crisis which sends the same positivity and success to its workforce and down lines like farmers, waiters, and managers - - all surviving and on the positive side. (AAL/EAD-PIA6 Negros Occidental)