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Wading in the Mountains

How a swimming resort worked in the country\\\'s highland escape, Baguio City
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When Baguio residents feel like going for a swim, they don’t need to go to the flatlands and beaches of La Union. Just half an hour (about 15 kms) away, you will find the Asin Hot Springs in adjacent Tuba, Benguet. Here flow healing sulphuric waters, good for soothing arthritis, rheumatism and circulation. A very popular resort in the area is Palm Grove Hot Springs and Mountain Resort.

The 2.8-hectare area is dotted with pools, indoor and outdoor baths, picnic sheds, coffee shop, a recreation hall, function rooms, and accommodations, according to resort owner Greg Loy.

From personal to business
The Loys’ Pelizloy Realty Corp. started the resort in October 2005. “It was supposed to be the family’s weekend getaway venue. A two-bedroom unit and a swimming pool were all that we originally planned.

But with the constant prodding of friends and relatives, picnic sheds were added. Then, additional sheds led to additional pools … and to what you see now,” Loy says. Pelizloy Realty being a family corporation, his parents, Elizabeth and Pete, are involved in its day-to-day operations.

Loy, an Ibaloi who grew up here, admits that though they are businessmen, their line was more in construction and real estate. “We did not have any previous experience in running a resort. We learned the ropes as we went. But our travel experiences played a major role in how we run Palm Grove.” They started with 24 workers, and despite the expansion, have maintained the same number of workers for the past five years. He says: “Most of our staff are from the community, and we trained them according to our standards.”

The entrance fee to the resort is P100 per head. Picnic sheds are rented out at P200 per table, good for 10 persons. In terms of accommodations, deluxe rooms are at P2,500, while dormitory-type accommodations are at P400 per head. Their regular guests consist of residents of Baguio and Benguet, who take advantage of the proximity of a warmer place that’s just a jeepney ride away from Baguio.

Out-of-towners also visit during long weekends, holidays, and the summer months. Their peak periods are during the months of December to January, and April to September. “We accommodate up to 300 persons on Sundays,” he says.

“Family reunions, company outings, corporate seminars and team building are frequent occurrences. Summer camps for church groups and youth groups are also held at the resort,” Loy says. “Viability, based on numbers and bottom lines, is just a little above the acceptable level.”

The business is admittedly seasonal. They have had to close a few times in the past during stormy weather. But according to Loy, they have been in business long enough to institute certain practices to off-set the downtime.

“During lean months, we take the opportunity to do necessary renovations and preventive maintenance. To cope with the low visitor turn-out, we offer lean season discounts. Arrangements are made with the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) for our employees to double day-off schedules so as not to lay off anyone during the lean season.”

Page 2: From local to global


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