World-class but intrinsically Pinoy
Hospitality has long been a trait long identified with and boasted of by Filipinos. Visitors, even strangers, are welcomed warmly in Pinoy households and for special guests, homeowners would willingly give up their own beds and rooms, just to make one, in Filipino patois, “feel at home.”
So, it’s no mystery why Dusit Hospitality Management College (DHMC), the educational and training arm of the Dusit Thani Group which operates hotels and resorts in Thailand and elsewhere in the world including the Philippines, decided to locate its first college outside Thailand here.
An innovative hotel school that blends learning and on-the-job training, DHMC has partnered with two other respected names in hospitality to ensure its graduates are armed with the best possible training available. These two partners are: the renowned Switzerland-based École hôtelière de Lausanne, which will certify holders of a bachelor of science degree in hospitality management; and the Institut Paul Bocuse, named for the famed French chef (a pioneer of nouvelle cuisine) who passed away this year but not before ensuring the highest standards in cuisine would be upheld by coming generations of young chefs.
The four-year bachelor’s degree program, says Lars Eltvik, managing director of the college which goes by the more familiar-sounding dusitD2 The Fort, follows the standards of the Commission on Higher Education and will be closely monitored by the Lausanne-based hospitality school. The curriculum, notes Eltvik, will follow an “active learning approach,” using group work, case studies, and experimentation both on and off campus and during internships.
In partnership with the Institut Paul Bocuse, on the other hand, DHMC offers a series of executive programs under its Professional Advancement Centre, including culinary arts for professionals, pastry for professionals, and restaurant management among others. DHMC’s director for culinary arts is Chef Cyrille Soenen, who trained in France and has built a storied career and reputation in top-notch hotels and even in his own restaurants.
Evelyn Singson, president and vice chairman of Philippine Hoteliers Inc., the company behind the Dusit Thani hotel, says that by choosing to establish the DHMC here (at the Bonifacio Global City), the company obviously believes in the bright prospects for the hospitality industry in the Philippines and elsewhere in the region.
“We would not be investing in the college if we didn’t believe in the economic prospects of the country,” she said at a recent lunch with the media. Young Filipinos, she added, have an untapped potential to make it internationally in the hospitality industry, considering their ease with the English language, their bright disposition, and of course their naturally hospitable nature.
These, coupled with the quality of training offered by DHMC, should propel graduates to assume positions of responsibility in the industry as soon as they graduate. “What has been happening here is that graduates of tourism courses, sent to various institutions for practicum, end up doing menial chores (such as making beds or carrying luggage) for which they don’t need college training. They end up wasting their time,” said Singson.
DHMC is set to move into its new home (beside SM Aura mall), with the school occupying the first nine floors of the building, along with a hotel with 125 guest rooms and 108 serviced residences, practical kitchens, restaurants, function rooms, plus recreational facilities like a swimming pool and a fitness center.
Studying at the DHMC, then, promises to be a fully immersive experience, combining the best of academic preparation coupled with “hands-on” training at the hands of experienced chefs and hoteliers. Interacting with guests should further hone their skills in interpersonal communication and anticipating even the most difficult and demanding requests from guests.
Here’s hoping the rigid academic preparation won’t dull the natural inclination of these young Filipinos to be their most hospitable, friendliest and accommodating selves. Their future certainly looks bright!
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