Months under lockdown kept Filipinos at home. In those days and nights, some found a chance for self-discovery and -improvement. They could explore curiosities, rediscover passions and elevate their spaces.
From this historic standstill, we have learned to look at our capabilities and resources with renewed appreciation. The enterprising ones have even gone beyond and started their own businesses. They now earn from selling plants they had grown in their verandas, recipes they had developed in their kitchens, crafts they had perfected in their living rooms and so much more.
As hospitality begins to rise from slumber, the yearning for new experiences outside the home may create a fresh marketplace for new, unique offerings. Those who have showcased parts of themselves through thoughtfully made or cultivated products—cute trinkets, delicious sauces, rare plants—might unlock space for growth when they look further in. They might just discover that their success can come from fully highlighting their own values.
This is what happened for Sonya Garcia and her well-loved Sonya’s Garden Bed & Breakfast in upland Cavite. In a low point years ago, Sonya found she was happiest growing up in her grandmother’s home in Capiz—a quaint cottage surrounded by flowers and trees. She reconstructed that memory on what was a wilderness in Alfonso, right outside Tagaytay. Acknowledging that happiness was more than physical, she also followed more responsible philosophies in living. That frame of mind helped her embrace sustainable architecture, farming and dining.
Her garden, she realized, was a haven for people yearning to leave the trappings of daily life, if temporarily. Thus, she opened a cottage restaurant in 1998, which continues to serve farm-to-plate delicacies. In 2002, she expanded into country bed-and-breakfast, pioneering the concept on our shores. Her 22 cottages carry the same aesthetic as the provincial home of her childhood. Guests have enjoyed the natural ventilation, unique bathrooms, farming experiences and evenings with fireflies, to name a few. The spa, open since 2008, is another must-try. Sonya’s Garden also sells fresh produce, pastries, as well as products for skin and hair care.
With a restart in the hospitality industry looming, Sonya feels others can aspire to build their brand the way she did. Thus, from Dec. 3 to 5, she will hold a 3-Day Master Class on Filipino Bed and Breakfast. The class especially fits those with farms and idle lands, seeking retirement options and exploring a business in bed-and-breakfast. Sonya will offer lessons in business road-mapping, operations management, service offerings, community empowerment and sustainable practices, among others.
In this once-in-a-lifetime offer, Sonya exemplifies one other way she has achieved happiness: altruism. She believes bed-and-breakfasts can showcase the warm Filipino hospitality, boost tourism and alleviate poverty, things she has done for the community around her garden, in full bloom year-round—and not only because of the flowers.
For more information, call Christy Caimoy at 0917-5335140 or 0917-5031080. Send inquiries to [email protected]
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