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Butler: The Rising Service-Aristocrat

“Butler service!” said the good-looking guy in his neatly ironed suit and bowtie.

Who is he?

(Speaking with just the right amount of pride) He is the ‘icing’ of our establishment’s service, he is the ‘elite’ employee, he is a butler.

What does he do exactly that makes his guests, customers, and even his comrades go ‘Wow!’?

Well, he can do a whole lot of things. But before we get there, let us take a look back to his long history.

He was once a slave in charge of alcoholic beverages in ancient royalties. From being a cupbearer he turned to one of the most trusted servant in large houses as more duties were charged to him. And now, he evolved into one of the highest ranking and one of the most skilled employee in modern hotels. From bearing his master’s cup, to becoming the majordomo in large household, he is now a top steward who provides the highest form of service in the hospitality industry.

Going back to answering the second question; basing on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, he is a chief male servant of a household having charge of the wines and liquors, overseeing other employees, receiving guests, directing the serving of meals, and performing various personal services.

Yes, the Merriams and Mr. Webster is quite right with their definition. But it is also right to say that he, the butler, is also a she. The preferences of the masters have changed through the ages. There came a time when the price for manservants grew too expensive which led them to train girls to be butlers. The first ever recorded lady butler was a garden girl. Services with feminine touch has also become a demand among wealthy people. Gone are the days when man dominated woman in leading careers. So from a rib taken from the butler was molded to form a woman of his like. Then born was the Lady Butler.

Who does he serves for?

Originally, he only serves his master and his master’s family in domestic households. Now, he has also conquered serving in hotels, resorts, and restaurants – places where his fine taste for excellent service is all-important. From serving a small to extended family he expanded his horizon and now serves a pool of diverse people in the hospitality industry.

With all the facts stated above, presently and generally, he, the butler is a male or female chief servant of a household or an establishment who acts like a trusted personal assistant aiming to provide their master/s, guests, and/or customers a stress- and worry-free and the easiest and the most convenient way of living and stay by providing personalized services that goes beyond expectations.

These services are:

  • Hosting and ushering in the property as well as in formal parties and events.

  • Bell and transportation services which includes valet parking, porting luggage, chauffeuring inside or outside the premises.
  • Receiving and registration. Checking the guests and/or customers reservations and registering them in the reception. Presentation of the premises is included.
  • Luggage, laundry, and wardrobe management. Packing and unpacking luggage. Sorting soiled and newly-laundered clothes and determining the right care for each garment including foot wears.
  • Housekeeping services. Administering the preservation of cleanliness for rooms and public places and even performing light maintenance works.

  • Food and beverage services. Table management, wine service, table side cooking, and making concoctions.

  • Concierge services. Serving as a constant source of up to date information.
  • Making reservations. Booking accommodations, massage and spas, tables, flights, function spaces etc. for the principal.
  • (Decent) escorting on and off-property. Planning itinerary and guiding them on their tours.
  • Clerical services. Sending mails and emails, printing, photocopying, and serving as a semi-secretary.
  • Anticipating the needs of those he serves for and having it ready beforehand.
  • Taking special care of furniture, fixtures, artworks, artifacts, antiques, displays, silverwares, and collectibles. As well as taking charge of its maintenance and inventories.
  • Stocking and inventorying pantry supplies.
  • Overseeing other establishment staff especially those that work up close with the guests and customers to ensure that services provided are at its best result.

In short he is an “all-purpose household manager” who can do almost everything in the unending lists of preferences of well-nigh insatiable masters, guests, and customers.

“How to be you po?”

Before he got to his spotlight in the hospitality industry he has first undergone a long arduous training. Jumping from department to department he learned all the aspects of the establishment he is in while he mastered multiple skills on communication, management, decision-making, etc. by heart as efficiently as possible. From the rooms division to serving foods and beverages to guests services and transportation and others, he aced the art of perfecting services by paying attention to its every detail. Not only that he has memorized everything in his company and improved skills on various subject but he has also learned about developing a sophisticated personality and formal etiquette. Raising shoulders with a chin up, showing that he has a bit of authority seem to be easy but this took him a while to master. He sweated his training, screwed up from time to time but these, he knows, were all part of the process.

Fast forward to when he has tenured, there he is, a modern-society butler, walking the carpeted hallway of the establishment he is in, neatly wearing the uniform he earned thru dedication and the right mindset. With a pleasant smile, he gently ring the doorbell. Just in time to provide excellent service. Then the ‘Moment of Truth’. Equipped with knowledge and skills, he confidently serves his guests. He moves around with finesse while maintaining a good upright posture. He speaks with spontaneity making a nice nonmechanical conversation. The guests are at ease with his presence. Every questions they throw are answered right away with certainty like bullets shot at the right spot. He then closed the door leaving his guests delighted and pleased. With pride and integrity, he walks away feeling satisfied. It is a flawless service as usual.

What is his significance in the hospitality industry?

In the constant strive of businesses within the industry to provide the best service, he was summoned to do the job. He has become the point of contact for anything a guest or customer may want or need. Instead of them calling for different staffer to do particular tasks, he is their on standby, a Jack-of-all-trades, to administer the execution of the service. He is tasked to do the ‘last look’ and ‘last say’ of every services made before they reach the guests and customers. ‘What the butler thinks’ is an integral part of every services given. This added luxury encourages repeat visits and recommendations as having that single point of contact develops a special bond with the principal who then request for the same person to serve them in their next visit. In this industry where all battle to provide that ‘perfect service’, he is a key service differentiator.

Busy and demanding as it may seem, the perks of being a butler are multifold as his tasks. He learns a lot from the people he serves. As he gets to know his guests and customers, he learns a piece of their history, a bit of their cultures, and basics of their languages. It is like looking into the world in one place. Chatty and inspirational guests and customers are plus. He gets to hear stories of success, motivational advice, and many sorts of good stuffs. Sometimes he would even get job offers and recommendations. Meeting and serving famous personalities such as showbiz celebrities, notable icons, public figures and other VIPs is a normal scene. The endless learning and development helps him grow more as a person and as a professional. His skills will never go out of practice rather he gets better and better every single day. Most days are blessed, not removing the fact that some days are dull and flat and some are even bad to worst. Each of his day is different for he serves his guests and customers differently depending on their profile and preferences which makes him flexible and which makes his job exciting and fun! Everything he does is appreciated and praised even the small ones. A wave of his sheet, flares he makes as he flambés, or even just carrying a tray of piled dishes makes him glorious. He is a total ‘mythical glory’ hero if you know what I mean.

It is not a first-choice career. Not the type that you would dream of becoming soon one day. Most would want to be the master rather than the servant. But once you understand more about this profession, perhaps you might consider giving it a try.

We are in a generation when advancement and modernity requires for more, giving chance for certain professions to rise. The boom of this career comes with prestige and prominence. Season has changed as well as perception. When you say Butler many thinks of a middle aged man in a tailcoat and hand gloves carrying a tray. Now, people would feature a smart well-favored individual of welcoming and classy personality.

I am privileged to be one of them, to be the ‘icing’ of our establishment’s service, to be an ‘elite’ employee, to be a butler.

It is indeed a career of great worth.

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Introducing the Gorgeous Half-blooded Igorot Boyfriend of Ms. Universe 2018 Catriona Gray

With all the issues of her ethnicity, the Fil-Aussie, recently crowned Ms. Universe 2018 Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray remains a proud Filipino.

But did you know that Catriona’s well-favored boyfriend is also multiracial?

Clint strikes a pose before Catriona’s pageant. Photo Credits to Clint Bondad@Facebook.com

Clint Bondad, Catriona Gray’s 6-year partner, also of mixed race, is a proud Filipino and in fact a proud Igorot. The Filipino-German Actor/Model was born in the Philippines but was raised and educated in Frankfurt, Germany. He uses the surname of her mother Jane Bondad who originated from Otucan, Bauko, Mountain Province.

Clint and family, getting ready to cheer. Photo Credits to Clint Bondad@Facebook.com

Clint brought out in his interview with Howie Severino on GMA News TV Noontime Broadcasting Show – News to Go that her Mom speaks Ilokano and even speaks Igorot when she’s mad.

The 24 year old boyfriend said that he is a troublemaker back in Germany that is why he was sent back here in the Philippines, where he started his career as a model and as an actor and where he met the love of his life most specially.

Photo Credits to Clint Bondad@Facebook.com

He has modeled for Cosmopolitan and Scene Zone Magazine and starred in a Jollibee commercial. He made appearances in several TV shows like GMA’s comedy anthology broadcast ‘Dear Uge’ and ABS-CBN’s ‘Ipaglaban Mo’; and movies like ‘Your Place or Mine?’ and ‘Chain Mail’ (2015). He is also a member of ASAP’s hunk group – Coverboys.

Clint in Dear Uge together with actress Jennylyn Mercado. Photo Credits to Clint Bondad@Facebook.com

He met Catriona in Baguio during the queen’s visit in the City of Pines. “Since the very day I met you in Baguio in that tiny elevator when we merly were just kids I knew that you are different.” He captioned in reminiscence on his instagram post before the pageant. He eagerly narrated in his former interview about how Catriona took his hand and squeezed it really hard after he said Hi on their very first meeting.

Photo Credits to Clint Bondad@Facebook.com

Words will never be enough to capture who you are.” he further added to his caption.

He planned to go back to Germany after the commercial he was modelling for before but he decided to stay for his relationship with Catriona who he labeled as the “perfect girlfriend”.

Photo Credits to Clint Bondad@Facebook.com

This hotty’s probably one of the most supportive boyfriend ever. Sitting on the cheap seats in the IMPACT Arena with his equally handsome brother Kirk Bondad, he was in no doubt one of the loudest and proudest supporter.

Clint and his brother Kirk. Photo Credits to Clint Bondad@Facebook.com

Happy and proud as he is right now, he cannot escape the fact that having Catriona as the new Ms. Universe would mean a year of being apart. But this, didn’t seem to affect him much. In his exclusive interview with GMA Network, he said “Like funny thing is we’ve done this before.” He also said that “I’ll just simply go with the flow.”

Photo Credits to Clint Bondad@Facebook.com

It’s Cooler at Aular

Just as we thought the resorts are gone, look what we found next to the ruins.

Perched amidst the magnificent mountains of Poblacion, Itogon, Benguet, is a survivor of Typhoon Ompong that destroyed most of the well-known resorts around the area.

This unpopular resort showcases a variety of recreational facilities, which you will surely enjoy. And this is what we tried for our year-end ‘barkada‘ outing. Here are what we saw and experienced.

Swimming pools

Swim-all-you-can at their wide and long lap-like adult pool ranging from 4 to 6 feet deep and let the kids enjoy in a 2 feet deep elliptical kiddie pool. Worry no more of skin and eye irritation for these swimming pools are filled with chlorine-free fresh water. It’s best to start the swim party by plunging into the captivatingly blue pool from a thrilling 3 meters high (in approximate) water slide, which I intended to try and it ended up just an intention.

Panoramic view of the resort
Kiddie Pool
Breathe taking water chute
Crystal clear adult pool

Activities to enjoy

Go crazy, belt out, and sing off with the gang with their ‘insert-coin’ karaoke machine. Invite your family and friends to their billiard facility and enjoy your very own pool tournament. The place is surrounded by picturesque lush green sceneries, which is perfect for photoshoot. Just find the right spot and you are off to go for instagramable pictures. Like these…

Other facilities

A few numbers of cottages are availably suited for your family and group of friends. Grills are conveniently installed around the area for your packed viands and cooking needs. Worry less of cooking tools and forgotten items for the owner is happy to provide. There is also a ‘sari-sari‘ store equipped with snacks, beverages, condiments etc.

Price range

  • Entrance fee: Kids – Php 30.00, Adults – Php 50.00
  • Cottages – Php 400.00
  • Karaoke – Php 5.00 per song.

How to get there?

Ride a Jeepney going to Itogon at Lakandula Street, near Baguio Centermall. Ask the driver to drop you by Aular Pool Resort. The one-way ride will take you about 30 minutes for a regular fare of Php30.00. A total of Php60.00 back and forth.

The place is located down the road of walking distance. 1 kilometer away from the washed-out resorts. You will be dropped off near the cemetery, so don’t be surprise for the dead might rise.

What to expect?

  • The resort opens as early as 7Am.
  • The swimming pool water is neither heated nor sourced from a hot spring so expect it to be relatively cold. Not a problem because the sun’s heat will warm you up.
  • For commuters, there are a few numbers of Public Utility Jitneys or PUJs passing by the place. Their trips usually end at 5Pm so if you want more fun time, it’s advisable for you to start your day early at the resort.
  • Since the place is located in the suburbs expect a more expensive products from the retail store.
  • Dogs are present in the area, perhaps having their own vacation too. This is nothing to worry about for these are harmless.
  • They drain the water out of the pool every two days. So it’s best to notify the owner before your planned date of outing.
  • Overnight stay is not available.

Not as celebrated as the ruined Carlo Trese or Rainbow Resort, Aular Pool has a great potential to be on the lead. They have less to offer than the above resorts. But its spacious vicinity, unspoiled environs, and less crowd is enough to entice more tourists.

For more information and reservations, please contact Mrs. Carlota at (0949) 473 2360.

The Turned Down Service: Turndown Service

‘Bell Service!’ ‘Butler Service!’ ‘Customer Service!’ ‘Room Service!’ ‘Minibar Check!’ ‘Room Check!’ ‘Nurse on duty!’ ‘Housekeeping, makeup room!’ ‘Housekeeping turndown service!’

In high, pitchy, robust, sweet, soft, low, or hoarse voice, these are the usual announcements you hear at your door when you checked in a modern luxury hotel or resort. Personal services which you are entitled for upon your registration. But does the last line ring any bells? An imprecise estimate of 20% of the guests I serve every night are not familiar with this type of service.

You might have received a late afternoon call or encountered cleaning attendants or butlers knocking at your door during the evening asking you if you want a turndown for your bedclothes. And you answered back with a ‘what are you talking about?’ face. Then the attendant explained it in the simplest way possible for you to comprehend, then you made that ‘OWW!’ sound of enlightenment and decided to refuse the offer because you think the bed is already fixed, well, you’re one of that 20%.

So for your information, here’s a short discussion of some relevant things you need to know as regards to this service.

For us to better understand what Turndown Service is, let us first discuss about Makeup Room which is commonly mistaken as the first.

Makeup Room Vs. Turndown Service

In modern hotels, one of the basic housekeeping services provided aside from cleaning and preparing your room before you arrive is the Makeup Room or MUR. This service is done once during the day, usually between 6am to 4pm or so, applicable on the day/s after the day of your arrival up to the day/s before you depart. Your room is renewed thru a clean up – garbages are removed, sheets and towels are changed, bed/s are fixed, bathrooms and powder room are sanitized, and amenities are replenished leaving your stuffs tidied up on the spot where you left them. With or without you asking, the service is insisted by the staff unless you let them know otherwise, usually by putting on a DND or Do Not Disturb sign.

Turndown service or TDS on the other hand refers to the preparation and refreshment of the room for bedtime. This does not only refer to the fixing of beds but includes redying of the entire room. This service is usually offered as early as 6Pm until done wherein each room takes about 4 to 5 minutes to be finished.

In comparison with MUR which is mainly for the replenishment of the room, TDS focuses on details conducive to comfort and ease before and during bedtime.

So here is what is done in Turndown Service

1. All lights are switched on.

2. Trashes are collected and removed.

3. The curtains, louvres, and blinds are closed, shut down, and pulled down respectively.

4. The beddings and pillows are turned down and layed down.

5. Complimentary water and glasses are set up at the nite table.

6. Night slippers are placed beside the bed from which the beddings are loosened.

For a more elaborate hotels and resorts, some of the following is/are present:

  • Neatly folded night gowns on the bed.
  • Confectionery such as chocolates and mints or flowers such as lavander and roses are placed either on the bed or at the nite table.
  • Towel foldings are present on the bed depending on the occassion.
  • For some types of guests especially VIPs, wines are also present beside the bed.
  • Bedtime stories are available in the room for guests with kids.

7. Minor clean-up is provided when necessary.

What to consider in TDS?

Location of the Comfort Room.

Comfort room location is important for it is the basis of the staffer on where the fold is done. The side in which the beddings is untucked or opened should be nearest the comfort room. This is simply for convenience purposes which is one of the primary goals of a hotel or a resort. For double/matrimonial/queen/king size bed, it is untucked or opened on both sides if there are two guests sleeping on the bed.

Number of guests.

You should also take into consideration the number of PAX using the bed. A guest using a bed good for two, the fold is done on one side which should be nearest to the comfort room. The Turndown items should also be on this side of the bed.

Guests type.

For certain types of guests, some items are added essential to the TDS set up. For VIPs, confectioneries, wines, or flowers are present. For guests with kids, bedtime storybooks or coloring books are included. Relevant towel foldings with or without flowers and even scented candles are set up on the bed of newlyweds and couples celebrating their anniversary.

The occassion.

Some occassions are opportunities for providing an ultimate TDS. For example, during Valentines day, flowers particularly roses with chocolates are placed on top of the ladies’ beds. Fruitcakes or gingerbread cookie may add points for TDS during the Christmas season.

This often refused and unnoticed service is now one of the features of high end hotels and resorts purposely designed to pamper guests. Inexpensive for the company as it is, this small act of paying attention to detail can mean a lot to a guest. After a day of touring and doing a bunch of activities, would it be so nice to comeback to your room with this small surprise of delight? Truly a perfect way to provide the best guest experience.

Turndown Service Set-up by Butler Sonny Torcuato (About 2 Years Ago)
Attending to VIP Wedding Turndown Service with the Mentor – Butler Sonny Torcuato. Insert: Sir Jersey Richie Haduca

A Merry ‘Gingerific’ Christmas!

It’s Christmas time!

What other ways can best start the season other than colorful Christmas decorations?

The wreaths, the lanterns, the Christmas tree are all out of the box to set the mood. But here at Baguio Country Club, the usual decoration for the most wonderful time of the year was made even better thru Christmas decor competition among its divisions and departments.

This was an idea from our executives that started a new tradition for us employees. Basically, they aim to bring out the creativity in each team and to create an ambience of a festive holiday season in the workplace. (Which actually works for me.)

The goal was simply to create the best design for Christmas. We are free to choose a theme for our decorations but everyone is encouraged to reuse and recycle materials chiefly because we are regarded as green hotel by the ASEAN and to keep our costs at its minimum.

On its second year, our department (Housekeeping) decided to go for a gingerbread-house-themed decoration. A seasonal favorite goodie made of crisp ginger biscuits cut and shaped into humans, animals, or components of a house such as doors, walls, and roof. This popular confectionery is often baked during the Christmas season as gifts to kids (and even adults), or displays at the noche buena table, or just an offering to visitors and carolers. Not only at Christmas is this prepared, it is also present in some occasions like Halloween and Easter.

But we are not baking on the Holidays. Instead, we are crafting deliciously inedible gingerbread designs and ornaments made of recycled materials.

Let us start with our approximately 7 feet high Christmas tree, which is our project – the pm shifters’ project and which is designed that high to somewhat conceal the view of the CCTV which I am not serious about, was made from used cartons. Different sizes of glitter-coated, star-shaped cartons were carefully stapled around the pyramid-shaped straw yarn base which was constructed by our legendary head butler Mike together with his friends from the Engineering Department who, I believe, are secretly cheering for us. In addition to the shining, shimmering, splendid tree were glossy Christmas balls hanged by ours truly – ‘Momshie’ Jersey.

The walls are also made from cartons painted with brown and white colors with framed pictures of Christmas village in tarpaulins as windows. On it are lace of gingerbread man- and lollipop-shaped cut outs.

We have also converted the computer into a fireplace leaving a GIF of burning firewoods as wallpaper. Above it was a small chimney to complete the picture.

White fence filled with shredded papers resembling hays are present around the office too. Mini mailbox, arched entrances and colored Christmas lights are installed around the office to add effect to the overall aesthetic of the design.

But the major highlight of our decorations and my favorite among all the ornaments are these eye-catching gingerbread house miniatures which I made one myself. This is a true collective effort from us staff. It’s funny how 3 gingerbread house miniatures requirement per area turned out to be more than that because of friendly competition formed during the production.

My project: Butler Gingy and his 5 star gingerbread house.
The Gingerbread House with its No-hole Golf Course Yard by Butler Sonny
The Pioneer by Lady Butler Dana, Luther, Butler Brian, and Diane
The ‘Tahanang Walang Hagdan’ by Ryle and Eloy
The ‘Laban Lang’ Gingerbread Tent by Maymay

Scroll down for more…

Apparently, the executives are successful in their aim to bring out our creativity. Each of us had light bulbs popping out of our heads for our houses. The rusting part of the right hemisphere of our brains responsible for arts and creativity have awakened after centuries of hibernation.

The festive air has also been felt during our production. Everyone is obviously having fun making their houses like kids playing with their first ever coloring book and brick toys. And after days of carpentry and construction, behold! the houses are built and was combined to form a dioramic little Christmas village.

DIY Gingerbread House

To make a recycled gingerbread house you need:

  • Used cartons
  • Old newspapers or tissue
  • Paint
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • Paintbrush
  • and a creative imagination.

Procedure:

1. Picture a house of your desire.

2. Draw and cut shapes you need from the cartons. You need doors, windows, walls, roof, and the base.

3. Assemble the cut shapes to form the house using tape and glue.

4. Cover visible fissures with paper mache.

5. Paint the house preferably with shades of brown and white to make it look more like a gingerbread.

6. Once it dried, adorn it with embellishments salvaged from residuals like ribbons, beads, etc.

7. And wala! You’re very own gingerbread house.

The FHM Magazine Gingerbread Tent by Maymay
The Pioneer Ver.2.0 with Grassy Chimney by LB Dana, Luther, Butler Brian, and Diane

Christmas is one of the most awaited part of the year, besides the bonuses and the 13th month pay we will be receiving, it is the time when we get genuinely happy. It is one of those times (for some those rare times) when we get together with our loved ones, to celebrate, and to reminisce the good memories and how we survived the downs of the year.

Every part of this season is worth cherishing – from decoration to caroling to the new year countdown. With or without good decorations or bountiful table, it doesn’t matter as long as we are able to feel and to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

How to make our holidays joyfully meaningful is up to us. Decorating together is one of the best way to recreate our Christmas moments.

Happy Holidays!

Here’s more…

The Salty Gingerbread Waiting Shed by Butler Darwin
The Barn House by Bryan, Dea, Alvin and the Chipmunks
The Tree House by Jollymar and company
The Shoe House with ‘Alipunga’ by Erwin, Ashton, Rommel, and gang
The Convention Center by Arxel
The House of Pidot with Itay on the Background by Butler Kim
The Floating Gingerbread House by Marko, Maja, and Gwen
The Bungalow Gingerbread House with Anti-Magnanakaw Feature by Sheryl
The Red Popsicle Cabin by Joshua
The ‘Big Ben Sana’ by Itay
The ‘Tinapon na, Pinulot pa’ with Moma Stain Gingerbread House by Sir Marlon and Sir Jersey