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Entrepreneur couple invests in boutique hotel

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FAÇADE of The Hotel Sophia. Photo By Amadís Ma. Guerrero, Contributor

When the father of Theo Angelo Garcia of Cauayan City in Isabela died, the job of taking over and developing the family business fell upon his young shoulders.

He didn’t do badly; in fact, he did quite well.

“My business is agricultural,” says the 25-years-old Garcia, who took up business administration at Centro Escolar University in Manila. “I sell my products, like herbicides, all over Mindanao. These are distributed by my sales representatives.”

ATTRACTIVE garden with cascading waters in the background. Photo By Amadís Ma. Guerrero, Contributor

Along the way he married comely Angela Bernardo and they have a daughter, Sophia. The couple are now expecting their second child.

Some time ago, Theo thought of investing in a drive-in-hotel but Angela convinced him to make it a boutique hotel which would cater to traders and, as well, domestic and foreign tourists.

Construction started a year ago. The Garcias brought in a professional architect, with Angela, being “an experienced-based architect,” helping out. In fact, many of her ideas were incorporated.

What emerged was a sleek, elegant budget hotel with a dark brown-and-white motif chic décor, and an attractive garden at the back with cascading waters.

GUESTS relax in the lounge area. Photo By Amadís Ma. Guerrero, Contributor

It is called The Hotel Sophia (thehotelsophia@yahoo.com) named after the couple’s daughter, and had a soft opening during the recent Bambanti Festival of the province. The hotel’s first guests, invited by the Provincial Government, were a media team which covered the event.

The Sophia has executive rooms, deluxe rooms with a terrace, deluxe rooms, and standard rooms. The manager describe the rates as “sobrang masa” (very reasonable): P1,688 (executive rooms), P1,388 (deluxe rooms with terrace), P1,288 (deluxe rooms), and P788 (standard rooms).

CARE for a refreshing buko juice? Photo By Amadís Ma. Guerrero, Contributor

A breakfast would cost P165 and, along with the usual entrees, you might be pleasantly surprised one morning to find lobsters brought in from the coastal towns facing the Pacific Ocean.

And don’t forget to wash it down with a specialty of the province available at the hotel, calamansi (citrus) wine!

MEDIA photographer is among the first to check in. Photo By Amadís Ma. Guerrero, Contributor

The Sophia has a staff complement of 12, Tesda-trained (in the nearby capital city of Ilagan) within a matter of three weeks. These do not include the security guards. More might be hired as the business expands.

The Garcias sunk P35-40 million into this hotel project, and expect an ROI (return-of-investment) anywhere from 3-4 years or 8-10 years depending on business.

The Garcias are a young, personable couple with business acumen, and my guess is that they will achieve their ROI by the fourth year.


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