Biz Buzz: Wack Wack’s umbrella girls | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: Wack Wack’s umbrella girls

/ 12:05 AM February 15, 2016

WHEN it comes to interesting stories on and off the golf course, few come close to Wack Wack Golf and Country Club. From boardroom battles to influential politicos insisting that they be accorded special privileges, to sexual harassment, this golf club seems to have it all.

Recently, Biz Buzz learned that there is a brewing sexual harassment case that has been unfolding in Wack Wack since the middle of last year. This involves a member of the club—whom we shall call “Mr. G”—and not one, not two, not three, not four, not five (phew, this is tiring) but six umbrella girls as the alleged victims. You read that correctly: Six umbrella girls, with ages ranging from 18 to 21, filed a complaint last year against the allegedly amorous Mr. G before the club’s management.

Of course, the club does tend to protect its own, but this time around, the officials probably realized that they have to balance the interests of its members who pay the bills and its staff who keep the club running.


The complaints were actually filed as early as July 2015, but the case was handled very gingerly by the board and passed around until it was finally brought to the attention of the membership committee, and eventually to the Children’s and Women’s Desk of the Philippine National Police (some members having argued that the club had no expertise in handling a sexual harassment case, thus needing the intervention of the police).


Incidentally, the police begged off from the case since the complaint was not filed with them and they reasoned that they could not intervene in a private matter. Oh well.

By the time serious action was initiated by the club a few weeks later, the number of complainants had fallen to four. And by the time affidavits were prepared to formalize the complaints (almost three months after the incidents), only three umbrella girls were able to sign their affidavits before the club’s lawyer.

More time passed and two of the complainants had already quit the club, opting to find employment elsewhere. Word also surfaced that one of Mr. G’s caddies had spoken with the victimized umbrella girls and urged them to withdraw their complaints against him in exchange for a monetary consideration.

In any case, the club wrote the alleged perpetrator, Mr. G, and asked him to comment on the umbrella girls’ complaints against him. After initially asking for an extension in the standard “you-have-10-days-to-reply” period, Mr. G. sent Wack Wack’s board in October 2015 three affidavits of desistance, seven affidavits of good character and one counter affidavit from his caddy.

Last November, the board of directors invited Mr. G to a membership committee meeting and what they got instead was a reply from a law office representing Mr. G. They then sent a second invitation, which was met with another letter from yet another law office, plus another letter that objected to the way the golf club’s board handled the probe.

Sensing perhaps that time was on his side, Mr. G sent the board another letter asking for a postponement of the requested meeting, which the letter-weary board promptly granted. And lo and behold, Mr. G finally appeared before the board last month with two more affidavit of desistance from two of the three ladies who signed the complaints against him.


As of today, our source tells us that Mr. G only has to work his magic on one solitary umbrella girl who is holding out by her lonesome. Any bets on how long it will take to get her to withdraw her complaint? Daxim L. Lucas

Shangri-La’s flagship

IT TOOK them a while to finish it, but the Shangri-La group’s new flagship project is finally just weeks away from being opened.

Of course, we’re talking about the Shangri-La at the Fort development, which had already become a landmark (being used for giving directions around the business district, for example) long before it even broke ground a few years ago.

Biz Buzz learned that the hotel—which will occupy the lower half of the 61-story tower (rising 250 meters or a fourth of a kilometer) will have its soft opening next month. This is a sure thing because some events have already been booked in the hotel, we’re told.

The development will also have a retail component with a high-end mini mall set to be opened around the same time.

But the crown jewel of the property will be Shangri-La’s ultra high-end residential condo called Horizon Homes that will occupy the top 20 floors (that is, the 41st to the 61st) of the skyscraper. Horizon Homes at The Fort (called thus because of the “Lost Horizon” and Shangri-La” references) is being marketed as a project for the country’s elite, with a typical unit measuring around 250 square meters (up to 418 sqm) and costing at least P78 million, excluding taxes, of course.

At its densest, each floor will only have 5 units, so you don’t have to worry about waiting 30 minutes to catch the elevator to the lobby at rush hour.

If you’re in the market for something fancier, Horizon Homes has only three penthouse units on the 61st floor (one measuring almost 800 sqm, and two of almost 500 sqm). But like they say, if you have to ask how much it costs, you probably can’t afford it.

Basement parking? Be prepared to shell out another P1.5-1.8 million. But you get what you pay for, and if you opt to pay for a property like this, you get the “primest” location in Metro Manila, complete with its own sport club. Oh yes, the development will have its own Kerry Sports Club, which will only be the third Kuok project to house this fancy club (the two others being in China). The Kerry Sports Club will have its own basketball and tennis courts, swimming pool, spa, and what-have-you, and a limited number of memberships are being sold at an introductory rate of P60,000 a year. But it won’t stay at that price, trust us.

And if that isn’t good enough, all residents of Horizon Homes 98 units will have access to the full services of the Shangri-La hotel at the lower floors. They can dine in the hotel’s restaurants and use its facilities, and the bills will go straight to their accounts just as if they were hotel guests.

And if you’re wondering when Horizon Homes will be ready for occupancy, well, the first buyers who plunked in their money a few years ago will have their fancy units ready by May of this year. Daxim L. Lucas

Recreational restaurateur

SOME people take up yoga, dancing, cooking or go to the spa or take long vacations in their leisure time, but not First Pacific Co. Ltd. associate director Ray Espinosa, who invests in the food and beverage space to de-stress.

His latest participation in Metro Manila’s booming bistro space is an investment in Atelier Vivanda, a franchise of a two-Michelin star French bistro likewise operating in discerning markets like Paris and Hong Kong. The new restaurant in Bonifacio Global City’s Burgos Park serves great steaks, which is seen as a big hit with Filipinos. Less than a month after opening, the new restaurant has attracted a good volume of foodies even on weekdays.

To date, there are just a few restaurants carrying Michelin star brands, and with rising consumer affluence in the country, investing in one sounds like a good idea. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla


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TAGS: Business, economy, News, Sexual Harassment, Wack Wack Golf and Country Club

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