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Vision International Philippines Hospitality Hiring Fair Featuring The Meritage Resort

Zia Kalong | Dec 28, 2018

The United States of America is home to some of the finest hotels and resorts in the world. The famous Meritage Collection easily fits into the array of the world’s most renowned luxury hotels, with The Meritage Resort and Spa at the forefront.  With hundreds of luxurious suites, avant-garde spa and amenities, famed wine cellars,  and 80,000 square foot of event space all set against acres of hillside vineyards of California’s Wine Country, The Meritage Resort and Spa embodies in every sense world-class hospitality. By blending relaxed elegance with warm hospitality to bring out the best of Napa Valley’s heavenly ambience, The Meritage makes a “comfortable home away from home.”  

And on November 10, 2018 at the VIP Cultural Hiring Fair, fifty-two (52) hopeful applicants vied for the opportunity to travel to the USA and train at the Californian hotel and resort for an entire year. More than an exciting travel experience for young professionals, selected and qualified applicants will be able to learn firsthand how the 4-Diamond hotel deliver its acclaimed services and prepare award-winning cuisines.  

Cultural Hiring Fairs are themed recruitment events organized by Vision International Philippines (VIP) that celebrate Filipino traditions as part of “Cultural Exchange”. VIP offers Filipino students and professionals internship, traineeship, work and travel among other Cultural Exchange Programs under the J-1 visa (Exchange Visitor) which allows Filipinos to travel and train in the USA for a specific period of time . The Cultural Exchange Program by the U.S. State Department aims to foster diplomacy through cultural exchange and to help foreign individuals and American organizations develop a global mindset and culturally sensitive business practices.

As a cultural exchange facilitator, VIP makes sure it’s not only Filipino J-1 participants that learn about American culture, representatives from American institutions also get to immerse themselves in our rich culture when they visit the Philippines to hire VIP’s applicants at the Cultural Hiring Fair. The VIP team traditionally organizes a Cultural Day for international guests before the hiring fair. Our team gave a scenic tour to The Meritage Area Director of Human Resources, Tami Pacho, at some of the country’s idyllic islands.

The theme for the event was the famous festival “Ati-Atihan” which is widely regarded as the mother of all Philippine festivals. Originating from the capital of Aklan, Kalibo, the festival is celebrated in honor of Santo Niño or the child Jesus. The themed affair was spearheaded by VIP’s leadership, Mary Lou Cunanan and Joe Talamayan, Vision International Philippines’ CEO and General Manager respectively. Department heads were also all over the place to make sure that the applicants were ready for the interview with Ms. Tami Pacho. As Mr. Talamayan remarked, the VIP staff works day and night to make sure our participants are prepared well for the day of the interview, then adding, “It’s not about Vision, it’s all about you.”

Ms. Cunanan, who was herself a former J-1 participant in the U.S., roused the crowd with words of encouragement, “Our dream is for you to be able to achieve your dreams. I want you to be proud of yourself today because you’re here, and you’re hundreds of steps ahead of other people just by being out of your comfort zone.” As one by one applicants for the sought after hospitality positions entered the interview room, VIP staff and executives continued to talk to the applicants to help calm their nerves but at the same time hype them up in excitement. Several VIP members from every department surround the place to assist the applicants and make sure they have everything they need, including caffeine kicks. By the end of the day, 19 applicants for the Food and Beverage position, 7 for the Front Office, 4 Culinary and 1  for the Accounting position were accepted and invited to spend their internship/traineeship at the prestigious Meritage Collection in Napa Valley, California, USA.

Participants come from different colleges and universities across the country including Far Eastern University, De La Salle University, Global Academy of Culinary, Baking and Pastry Arts, Jose Rizal University, Arellano University, Our Lady of Fatima University,  University of Northern Philippines, Adamson University, Isabela State University, DMMA College of Southern Philippines, Lyceum of the Philippines University, University of Baguio, and Ateneo de Naga University among others. Passers included VIP’s very own Sharmine Agbayani from Saint Mary’s University who also dreamt of reaping the benefits of the J-1 program.

Congratulations to all of the passers! VIP wishes each of you the best on your J-1 journey at The Meritage Resort in California, USA!

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Zia Kalong

Zia is a Communication Arts alumna of the University of Santo Tomas. She joined Vision International Philippines with the sole purpose of helping the VIP team realize #OneVision: showcase the Filipino talent all over the world. As Content Strategist, she hopes to embolden promising Filipinos and empower them to thrive in life.

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