In light of the pandemic which greatly affected the tourism and hospitality industry, several organizations in the country have stayed committed to strengthening alliances as they bring livelihood infrastructures back to operations. Southville International School and Colleges (SISC) team up with industry experts in their transformative efforts and look at the COVID-19 pandemic as another crisis the industry has been surviving from among other worldwide upheavals such as The Financial Crisis of 2008, The Great Depression of 1929 – 39, and The Asian Crisis of 1997. The Southville Institute of Tourism (SIT) signifies its numerous contributions not just in reviving the field’s economic value but also in preparing innovative leaders amongst its students and faculty resilient to adversities. It is another milestone to date for the SIT community to be awarded and recognized by the Junior Tourism and Hospitality Management Association of the Philippines (JTHMAP).
MEET THE SIT NATIONAL OFFICERS
Dr. Rene Aligonero
National Board of Advisers (BOA) – Junior Tourism and Hospitality Management Association of the Philippines (JTHMAP) 2021-2023
Treasurer of the Executive Board of JTHMAP
Top 4 Outstanding Tourism and Hospitality Student Organizations Advisers of the Philippines (TOTHSOAP)
“It is a noble legacy to share projects of national interest, train willing student leaders, and inspire those who are in their comfort zones. The opportunity has come and as a staunch advocate of tourism and hospitality projects and initiatives, there are more daunting tasks to anticipate yet with collective and conscious energy, impossibility is just a simple odd to hurdle. I believe that JTHMAP will produce ambassadors beyond the confines of tourism and hospitality more so as champions for environmental protection; as icons for social responsibility for the community, children, and the marginalized; as luminaries in peace negotiators; and as a public voice especially for the cause of the greater majority.”
Improvements and Transformation Amid the Pandemic
(SIT Curriculum / Program Mapping)
“The Southville Institute of Tourism (SIT) Curriculum has undergone a well-fitted transformation to keep receptive to the demands of this global health challenge, the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic allows SIT to retrofit programs and services without compromising the promised excellent delivery of the curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Hence, outcomes-based outputs are required; technology quotient has been triggered, micro-credentialing has been intensified, the Virtual Online Learning and Teaching (VOLT) program has also been supported 360 degrees by the management and industry partners for practicum, and subject integration mapping has been found very effective among students, professors, and concerned stakeholders. SIT aims high and flies even higher during this challenging time. In SIT, we find antidotes as counteragents to every unwelcome circumstance and we are ready to conquer the world without forlorn surrender.”
Erolf Jolo Feliciano
Chairman’s Award Recipient
(Board of National Student Director)
Junior Tourism and Hospitality Management Association of the Philippines (JTHMAP)
“A significant part of my duties, responsibilities, and overall function was to spearhead a community involvement project that would nurture positive reinforcement & uplifting of others; more even so, when it comes to groups who are categorized along the lower echelons of our society. I was well aware that these roles were highly expected of me to fulfill, and thus, I knew I had to put my best foot forward to perform beyond bare minimum and exceed these given expectations. It has always been my passion as a current Tourism & Hospitality major and an aspiring industry professional to eagerly live in the service of others. However, there was a pressure that constantly hampered myself in my pursuit of honoring the above mentioned commitment, considering the remote & digital format of work-environment at hand.”
Students as Part of the Industry’s Transformation Amid the Pandemic
“It is an irrefutable fact that the abrupt strike of COVID-19 has negatively altered the ever-so vast & dynamic industry of Tourism & Hospitality to a drastic extent. But lest this entire situation becomes more worrisome, we have to remind ourselves that our beloved industry is no stranger to navigating far depths of challenges & treading great lengths of trials so as to conquer uncharted horizons. Tourism & Hospitality’s genuine power lies in the resilience of today’s learners in high hopes that during the greatest industrial downturn of operational hiatus, prime services, products, goods, and activities will swiftly & gradually make their way back into the limelight for everyone to access. Needless to say, Tourism & Hospitality is fully capable of recuperating, but the most often cited question is “when?”. While the answer remains undetermined, there is no doubt that the industry will bounce back to become even better, mightier, and even more dynamic than it once was. In the same manner that we took the harshest hit among all neighboring industries, we will be dearly cheered & admired when everything starts to fall in place in due time.“
Charina Kislev Santos
TOP OUTSTANDING TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES (TOTHSOP) | PRESIDENT
“I started out as a 1st year Level Representative, then progressed as the Secretary, to being the Vice President, and now for my last year, becoming the President of my organization. As this year’s President, I want the other students to believe that anything is possible when you work hard for it. I know it’s never easy being the President of an organization, but with extra effort and perseverance to lead well, hopefully it will all be worth it in the end. There will be bumps on the road, but if you just will your way and continue moving forward no matter what challenge is in front of you, know that you will surely get through it and grow from it.”
Priority on the Recovery of the Local Tourism Over International Travels
“The Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 had a great impact on the economic state of all countries and on the way of living of people within their day-to-day lives. One of the many industries affected by the pandemic is the Tourism & Hospitality Industry. We all know that this industry has been a huge contributor to the economy. It was a thriving industry especially in the Philippines, since our country has a lot to offer not only to foreign tourists, but to the locals as well. Many hotels and resorts have put their businesses to halt because of a decrease or limited tourist arrivals, resulting in some considering the industry as dead. Now as the pandemic slowly eases in the country, the Tourism & Hospitality Industry hopes to bounce back from this pandemic by gradually resuming operation, enforcing safety protocols and measures to ensure everyone’s safety and also by promoting sustainability. With the help of technology other local sectors under the industry were able to bounce back by relaying information, and gained revenue by marketing to different media channels. Through this, they were able to establish trends that would entice guests, then helping the business and little by little, the whole nation.”
TOP 15 Student Director
National Director for Entertainment, Culture, and Sports
Chairman’s Award Recipient (JTHMAP CAMPERS)
“I was once the apprentice of Ricky Catindig, the former Student Director of Entertainment, Culture and Sports – JTHMAP. I have learned a lot from his term, from conceptualizing, planning, down to the execution of all the ECS events. Because of this, I came to the realization that I want to pursue this committee. Now as the newly elected Student Director of Entertainment, Culture and Sports. My responsibility is to come up with entertaining activities, cultural proposals and conceptualize sports activities where everyone can join, build strong connections and have fun. This time, I want to focus more on the cultural aspect of this committee. My main objective is to provide an opportunity for the Tourism and Hospitality students to confidently get out of their comfort zones to showcase their talents and appreciate the culture of every region in the Philippines.”
The Future of Travel and Tourism: How will the Hospitality Industry change?
“We all know that the most affected industry by the pandemic is the tourism and hospitality industry. This pandemic allowed our industry to pause for a while and take a breather as we slowly transformed in this challenging time. SIT still continues to provide an excellent and effective way for their students to carry on with their promise regarding quality education and practicum. During the pandemic, SIT has adapted the virtual online learning and VOLT that is supported and managed 24/7 by the school and its industrial partners. With the use of technology and the help of VOLT and other online platforms, we are given an opportunity to pursue our education and train ourselves to keep up with the transformative programs given by our school and be ready to face the real world. Our generation is the future of the Tourism and Hospitality industry – a generation of technologically-competent and adversity-resilient learners.”
Kiel Martin Guiterrez – TOP 1 Tourism Student
(Junior Tourism and Hospitality Management Association of the Philippines, JTHMAP)
Graduating BS Tourism student, Kiel Martin Gutierrez is the first student leader so honored to top the 10 Outstanding Tourism Students of the Junior Tourism and Hospitality Management Association of the Philippines (JTHMAP); the first time the said organization conferred recognition for top student leaders nationwide. Kiel was introduced to the field of Tourism at the comfort of their home having siblings who came from the same field. He said in an interview, “I was inspired by my sister who worked in Qatar Airlines and who was also joined by my brother in Air Asia. It’s through their experiences that I grasped the beauty of the industry from those fancy uniforms to their ‘lingos’ and the countries they get to visit for free.” While Tourism is not his first choice, he sees the field and Southville as his life’s turning point. Kiel has always been a top-performing student and was offered several scholarships upon high school graduation. At Southville, Kiel has gone through activities that contributed to his holistic growth. He has joined pageants, hosted events, and participated in competitions representing SIT. Kiel would enjoy the journey rather than fame. And to make it to top rank for the first time in his life is what he considers to be far-fetched. Kiel has been constantly ranked Top 1 Dean’s Lister of SIT, a recipient of SIT Leadership, Academic Excellence, and Competence Award 2021, Recipient of Unsung Hero of the Year 2020 by Southville Student Affairs, was among the top scorers from the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) 2021, and an advocate of #BangonCatanduanes Social Responisbility Project among many others.
#BangonCatanduanes is one of SIT’s most successful outreach programs to date. In essence, the program itself was proposed to aid the victims of the infamous Bagyong Ulysses last year, November 11, 2020, which caused such devastating impacts, accidents, and deaths all over the Philippines. As a matter of fact, the province of Virac, Catanduanes was one of the most impacted provinces of our country which also made it among the more trending provinces full of typhoon victims in desperate need. Sadly, our professor, Sir Rene Aligonero, had one of his students, Alexei Silvestre, living in the said province. Fortunately enough, Alexei immediately told us the situation that underwent in her hometown, and to that SIT immediately responded.
The original expectation for this outreach program was only to amass a total of Php 10,000 to help the said victims of Catanduanes. However, the purpose of SIT was different from the rest of the public as our donation drive was focused more on providing pillows and blankets for the needy; hence, the other hashtag of our program, #PambilingKumotAtUnan. The main reason as to why we went with that route was because there were already a lot of concerned citizens, organizations, and universities who were donating food, drinks, and the other basic necessities of the victims. They had food, they had water, they had most of the things they needed to survive. So to that, we in SIT decided to allocate the accumulated money into purchasing pillows & blankets for both the warmth & comfort of the people.
In the end, we collected a total of more than Php 20,000 – double the amount of what was originally expected. It was a very successful outreach program indeed, and we helped numerous lives through our simple act of kindness, along with the warm & caring hearts of everyone who donated.
“But I never really won in competitions. I joined for the sake of my own development. So I am astounded at being the TOP 1 Tourism Student of JTHMAP.”