Revisiting an idyllic beach club

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

THERE is something very special and endearing staying in this place. It could be the superb personalized service or the idyllic ambiance. Or the panoramic beachfront and the crispness of the sea breeze that make this place so exhilarating.

It could also be the well-appointed rooms and the mouth watering fare at the Café Gloria. It could be everything this beautiful sport and leisure resort has to offer.

But there is something else that makes San Remegio Beach Club in Barangay Tambongon very special indeed—one that makes it unique and a cut above the rest. And that is the magnanimous heart and compassionate spirit of the people behind it. Many have seen the devastation and the physical and emotional havoc typhoon Yolanda created in the northern towns of Cebu. And San Remegio, particularly in Barangay Tambongon—a fishing village—was one of those badly hit. Tambongon has about 32-kilometer shoreline and for every one kilometer there are about 100 fishermen. Applying simple mathematics, one could easily deduce how many lost their homes and their only means of living, their fishing boats.


The beach club was, of course, a total wreck. All 120 trees were uprooted and even the sugar- fine sand were turned upside down and washed away. “We lost millions in pesos but not our spirit and sense of responsibility. For three months, we had to make total renovation and channeled all our energy on the restoration of the resort while keeping intact the 55 people in our employ whose families depend on them for sustenance,” Antonio Ynoc, president and chief executive officer, revealed. “And while we were doing this, we also had our hands full in extending help to our unfortunate brothers.

I grew up here because my father was a fisherman. This is our place, our home,” he added with a hint of emotion. Right after the disastrous incident, the Ynocs had dispatched relief goods to 10,000 families, and up to this time still continue in their relief efforts. They also facilitated in the transport of goods to far-flung mountain barangays that are difficult to reach. Public schools nearby were also restored through their efforts, and they initiated the “Play and Toy Therapy” for children traumatized by the calamity.

“San Remegio Beach Club took seriously our social responsibility in rebuilding what was lost. Right now we are building 1,000 fishing boats complete with engines and fishing gear for the fishermen who have become very helpless. And those who came to help, our resort is always open and we support them all the way,” Tony Ynoc said.

But even before the Yolanda tragedy, the Ynocs have been actively and relentlessly doing service to the community. They constructed the Tambongon Integrated School in partnership with Salimbangon Foundation where students are given free uniforms and school supplies. They put up handicrafts for unemployed women, organized sports activities in different towns, and feeding programs for every birthday celebration.

In Cebu City, they are the major benefactor of Bonita Home, the center for rape victims and their babies. And concern for the environment sparked the project “Scubasurero,” the annual clean-up drive of the whole coastline of San Remegio town.

When the resort reopened last January, there were no traces of the devastation except for the large hunks of logs piled up in one corner. The main building which houses Café Gloria, the function rooms, and the Presidential suites were stunning, as were all the other structures like the clubhouse, the dive shop, and the amusement center.

The pools and the lagoons are just as spectacular. And it was green all over!

“We are very grateful that we were able to regain the strength and stability of the resort. But what I am most proud about are the staff who were very strong and determined to get through, forgetting the miserable moment of their lives,” Mark Anthony Ynoc, the resort’s general manager, emphasized. “We have added more perks to make our guests’ stay in the resort more pleasurable than ever. We have island tours and the “North Adventure” trip for those who want to explore the countryside. We can also arrange for a romantic dinner by the beach, and we have a very good cook.”

Indeed, that could very well be excellent reasons for a tourist or a local resident who looks for delightful options in a tropical beach resort. But coming here a visitor realizes that it is not merely for the fun part of it. He will discover that his stay in this resort is helping rebuild a town and restore the wounded spirit of a people.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 05, 2014.


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