Crises, such as the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic, are learning opportunities for businesses.
Looking back, Cebu Pacific president and chief commercial officer Xander Lao said the greatest lesson for him was to make tough choices for the good of the company, which was part of the industry severely battered by the pandemic as it grounded flights.
“To be honest, nothing compares to the pandemic where all the flights were grounded, our crew were not working,” he recalled.
“We had to let go, at that point in time, close to 40 percent of the Cebu Pacific workforce. Those are really tough choices, tough choices to make on people,” he added.
But with improving operations, Lao said they were able to rehire employees who again wanted to be part of the airline.
“We treated the people we have to let go fairly. Those who wanted to come back, we welcomed them with open arms,” he said.
The Gokongwei-led carrier, which is anticipating to return to profitability this year, is on its way to full restoration of both domestic and international networks.
—Tyrone Jasper C. Piad
Old Manila opens doors anew
After a pandemic-induced hiatus of almost three years, The Peninsula Manila’s signature restaurant, Old Manila, is back to welcome new as well as old patrons who sorely missed its culinary delights.
Reopened last Jan. 17, Old Manila is now under the helm of talented Italian Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolino, who is putting his own touch to contemporary cuisine that Old Manila has long been known for.
Trained under Michelin-star chefs in Copenhagen’s Restaurant Kong Hans Kaelder and creating menus for the Emporio Armani Cafe in Munich, 38-year-old Chef Nicolino brings more than 15 years of experience to the restaurant accented in art deco-inspired geometric patterns in gray, cream and black, and complemented by large-scale photographs by Filipino-Spanish photographer Francisco Guerrer.
He is the first Italian to be appointed Chef de Cuisine of Old Manila and he is tasked to continue Old Manila’s “proud tradition and reputation for culinary excellence.”
So far, Old Manila has been busy serving pent-up demand for new experiences and flavors, a good start for Chef Nicolino.
Bataan and blockchain
The provincial government of Bataan has entered into a memorandum of understanding with global technology firm NChain to establish blockchain-based solutions to streamline systems and procedures of government services.
Bataan Governor Joet Garcia said they would use NChain’s “cutting-edge blockchain technology and improve the efficiency and transparency of our government operations, as well as provide innovative, secure and accessible online services to our citizens.”
Garcia said using blockchain would improve transparency and accountability of government operations because it provides a “tamper-proof” record of all transactions.
“Through this memorandum of understanding with Bataan, we are thrilled to begin propel the state forward by providing expert advice and blockchain-based solutions for the digitization of the state services, products, and processes using our robust intellectual property rights portfolio,” NChain chair Stefan Matthews said. NChain, founded in 2015, specializes in blockchain technology across several industries, including gaming, supply chain and finance. It has offices in United Kingdom, Switzerland, Slovenia, Sweden and Manila.