All glitter and glamor at 2nd Virtus Awards

It was a night full of glitz, glitter and glamor, as if the “Oscars” were held in the Philippines.

The crème de la crème among sales and marketing professionals in the hospitality industry gathered to witness the birth of exceptional and innovative hotel sales and marketing talent at the 2nd Virtus Awards held at the Novotel Hotel Manila in Cubao, Quezon City.

Novotel Manila’s Grand Ballroom was the perfect stage for hotel sales and marketing people to converge and give due recognition to the best among them. The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA), organizer of the Virtus Awards, spared no expense in making sure that the best and the brightest will relish the moment as their names and the properties they represent were called on stage to receive their award.

A total of 4 awards—3 individual and 1 team award—were handed out to deserving hotel sales and marketing people, whose efforts shone exceptionally well amid stiff competition from other finalists.

The big winners at the 2nd Virtus Awards include Ma. Trixie Ong, Sales Accounts and Events Executive of Best Western Hotel La Corona Manila, awarded as the Virtus 2016 Outstanding Sales and Marketing Associate, while June Kelly Ichinomiya, Assistant Director of Sales, Japanese Market, The Bellevue Hotels and Resorts, was voted Virtus 2016 Outstanding Sales and Marketing Manager. Marivic Recio, Group Director of Sales and Marketing, also from The Bellevue Hotels and Resorts, was awarded Virtus 2016 Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leader.

For the last award of the night, the Virtus 2016 Outstanding Marketing Campaign award was given to Radisson Blu Cebu for their “Something Blu, A Wedding of a Kind” campaign. For just two weeks, Radisson Blu became the preferred venue of more than 30 weddings and contributed substantial revenues close to Php 9 million to Radisson Blu’s coffers.

Radisson Blu Cebu’s signature concept was given recognition since brought weddings to life via customized packages that fit clients’ styles to make it sophisticated, stress-free and flawless from start to finish.

The task of choosing the finalists and eventual winners fell in the hands of some of the most distinguished personalities from various sectors such as the academe, government and private sector who acted as jurors. These include Ma. Corazon Jorda-Apo, Director, Market Development Group of the Department of Tourism (DOT), Ma. Christina Aquino, Executive Director for Planning and Development, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Cesar Cruz, President of the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Millie Dizon, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications, SM Retail, Inc., Leny Fabul, Executive Director, Philippine Hotel Owners Association, Inc., Henrietta Ho, Founder/Principal, Break Thru Solutions in Marketing,  Cesar Jose Jesena, Head, Tenant Management Division, Shangri-La Plaza Corporation, Donald Patrick Lim, Chief Digital Officer, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., Isabella Sy Palanca, Ph.D., President, The Mother Company, Lyn Gueco Tamparong, Past President, HSMA, and Ma. Concepcion Yabut, City Councilor, First District, Makati City.

Prior to the announcement of winners, the child performers in the local production of “Annie,” currently running at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, serenaded the guests while former DOT Secretary Dr. Mina Gabor, Ph.D., currently the President of the International School of Sustainable Tourism and Honorary Consul of Maldives, provided updates and other developments with regard to sustainable tourism during her keynote address.

“The 2nd Virtus Awards was truly such a resounding success. Everyone anticipated the announcement of winners. But more importantly, the focus of the awards was the tremendous hard work and efforts put in by these sales and marketing professionals to make the properties they serve stand out from the rest. We applaud their determination to succeed and we hope their success serve as inspiration to others in the hotel sales and marketing field,” said Margarita Munsayac, President of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association, Inc.

For more about the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association, Inc., visit

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Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.