There are people that have a good sense that their time is almost up on earth and start reaching out to family and friends before that final call. This is a short tribute to my dear friend, respected veteran hotelier, Baby Ignacio.
Last July, Baby invited me to celebrate our decades long friendship at the popular Ilocano food store and restaurant, Victorino’s. She exclaimed impishly that after all the job postings I have given her, she never even treated me or gifted anything. We had a grand time as we always did, while gobbling up a nice bottle of French white. We even called a couple ofmutually close friends just for her to say hi to during that lunch.
Baby Ignacio had a long hotel career that started at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel when it opened in 1976. When Baby left The Sheraton in 1982, her post was Director of Sales and Marketing. She then joined Baron Travel initially in Manila and eventually she would head their office for the Americas working out of Los Angeles, USA.
It did not take long for Baby to receive her first offer to become a hotel general manager from an American hotel group, The Sovereign Group of Hotels, a job she kept for 6 years before deciding to return to the Philippines in 1992. Back home, Baby has been General Manager for properties like Pearl Farm, Montemar Beach Club, Caylabne Bay Resort, Manila Polo Club, Fairways &Bluewater and Montebello Cebu. Baby’s last posting as general manager was in Lisland Resort in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, starting in 2013 until her untimely demise.
When I received a text from Baby last August, it was not Baby texting me anymore but her niece, informing me about her sudden demise. It was shocking to say the least because Baby was such a healthy person and so full of life. Then in hindsight I thought Baby knew her time was up and that I was lucky enough to be called by her for that treat in July. I cannot thank Baby enough for that joy-filled July lunch.
Baby and I shared one common interest – our love for cats. Chardonnay, her beautiful Persian and loyal companion in all her provincial assignments this past 15 years outlived her. Sad, really sad.