Cielo Ortega-Reboredo is at the helm of Okada Manila’s newest division—Sales & Marketing, Hospitality and Entertainment. Here, the vice president is pictured along the hotel's 720-meter long Crystal Corridor.
Philstar.com/EC Toledo
Cielo Ortega-Reboredo: Meet the Pinay powerhouse of Okada Manila
Gerald Dizon (Philstar.com) - November 5, 2019 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Built upon a sprawling 44-hectare oceanfront, Okada Manila stands glistening, all steel and glass, against the warm sunny backdrop of Entertainment City. All year round, the architectural masterpiece bustles with life, offering the most sophisticated comforts and luxury.

Still on the first of its four phases, the $2.4-billion project is already reputed as a leading integrated resort in the country.

It also continues to address its clientele’s ever-changing needs, from strengthening its “land” amenities—The Grand and Golden Ballrooms, The Garden, The Crystal Corridor, and The Cove Manila—to expanding its events portfolio to “sea” and “air,” via its yacht and private jet service, respectively.

At the helm of Okada Manila’s newest division—Sales & Marketing, Hospitality and Entertainment—is its vice president, Cielo Ortega-Reboredo. A true Pinay powerhouse, she is the first-ever Virtus Award-winner and maven among hoteliers.

Cielo Ortega-Reboredo in the lush interior of Okada Manila's La Piazza, which offers sumptuous regional cuisines from Italy and promises a true taste of 'la dolce vita.'
Philstar.com/EC Toledo

From the ground up

Before she paved the way to an illustrious career, Reboredo started from humble beginnings in Malabon. She was born into a middle class, conservative family. Her mother was a dedicated public schoolteacher, her father a police investigator and an excellent writer, and was among three siblings.

Reboredo’s foray into the hospitality industry ensued after she graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a Degree in Sociology.

Her journey began as a front desk officer of the former Manila Midtown Hotel. After two years, she made the leap from front desk to guest relations officer in 1996 when she moved to Shangri-La Makati.

By 2000, Reboredo entered what was then Westin Philippine Plaza, now known as Sofitel Philippine Plaza. Here, she finally found her calling in Event Sales.

The Okada Manila exterior at dusk.
Photo Release

She started as events manager and eventually, promoted to senior sales manager, and then again as assistant director for events. She was in charge of all major associations and high-profile events, then handled all social and corporate segment bookings. It was in Sofitel that she mastered event sales for over a decade.

Cognizant of Reboredo’s achievements and industry clout, Midas Hotel and Casino (previously Hyatt Regency Manila for 40 years) offered her the position of director for sales and marketing as part of the pre-opening team in 2011.

It was the right move for Reboredo and an even better move for Midas as a boutique hotel. She became instrumental in the development of Midas, initiating and overseeing the construction of its ballroom and air-conditioned tent, which was then a major trend among bigger hotels. With her overall leadership in sales and marketing, Midas soon established its niche among the giants.

When the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) launched the Virtus Awards in 2015, Reboredo was once again lauded. Among its four categories, the hotelier made history as the first woman to be named “Leader of the Year.”

In the same year, Reboredo’s name came up yet again during Okada Manila’s search for the best talents to run and manage the hotel.

The rest, as they say, is history.

No 'I' in 'team'

It was in 2016 when Reboredo finally joined Okada Manila as director of sales. Immediately, she was faced with trials during the pre-opening stage. Nevertheless, she focused and took the reins as Okada Manila’s Director of Sales, Events and Marketing.

All this paid off in 2017 with the opening of Okada’s two major ballrooms: The Grand Ballroom and the Golden Ballroom.

In such a short time, the hotel management saw potential in Reboredo and her team, hence the establishment of a new division: Sales & Marketing, Hospitality and Entertainment. This allowed Reboredo to hire seven more employees for events management on top of the original eight.

With her team at Sales & Marketing, Hospitality and Entertainment division. Notable is the fact that the people who have been with her since day one—the pioneers since pre opening—are still intact.
Philstar.com/EC Toledo

“I assembled a motley crew of the most capable people with different strengths. I trust and encourage them in the style that they want to go about their work, that’s effective for them,” the VP recalls in an exclusive interview with Philstar.com.

To date, Okada Manila’s events revenue has exceeded 2018 by 40% and has grown its market to double this year.

“I feel accomplished for being given the chance to pilot a very important division of Okada Manila and proud that I was able to build a formidable team with solid camaraderie contributing a good revenue for the property,” Reboredo notes.

At work, she is not only known as a self-maker and go-getter but also as a boss who uplifts the people under her wing. Above all, she values trust, transparency, respect, and honesty.

“Everyone knows my personality, my character. I empower my people because you cannot work and succeed without a good team. And you have to trust them and empower them. We’re only as good as our last numbers, all 15 of us,” Reboredo says.

The colorful and vibrant Pearl Wing Lobby of Okada Manila.
Photo Release

She continues, “It’s always the team, it’s not about me. At the end of the day, everything is a group effort.”

Reboredo also believes in innovation and finding solutions, hence, she adopts an open-door policy. It is through this that she’s developed a more solid team, one that isn’t afraid in confiding their concerns and sharing their ideas that can further the division.

“They can consult with me anytime. Whenever they have problems, they go to me. So every single day they have challenges, we talk about it. I make sure that I am with them 100% and I support them all the way,” the Filipina leader shares.

Because of this, the people who have been with her since day one—the pioneers since pre opening—are still intact. She’s made sure that all of them have been promoted, following the succession plan.

“I make sure to take care of my people because I want them to grow in the department. If I’m succeeding, I want them to succeed along with me. If you are a good leader, you teach your staff to become good leaders as well. That makes them happy,” she enthuses.

Keeping grounded

Outside of work, Reboredo is an extroverted free spirit who enjoys culture and travel. She also confesses to being very “kikay.”

Seated inside La Piazza, overlooking Okada Manila's The Fountain that features spectacular water shows.
Philstar.com/EC Toledo

“I love to travel. I read a study online citing traveling as one of the things that can make you healthier and richer. So as much as I can, I save money to travel, because really, the memories and experiences are the things that you can’t trade for anything else. They stay with you for the rest of your life to cherish. I like to go out and try new cuisines in different restaurants, watching shows in theaters and going to concerts. I love retro music, which is my go-to whenever we go to any videoke, which is a wonderful way to de-stress” she says.

She shares everything to her family who serves as her strength: her loving and supportive husband Jonathan Reboredo, whom she celebrated her 11th anniversary together, and daughter Chesca.

Chesca, in fact, is following her footsteps. She holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from UST, her mother’s alma mater.

“People think being in the hotel industry is all glamour. It’s not. You have long hours, innumerable responsibilities, several places to go to for events and gatherings. It takes a lot of time. But my family understands and supports me. My husband and my daughter, they are my rock, they keep me grounded,” Reboredo says.

Reboredo also credits her mother, a schoolteacher of 40 years, for sparking the virtue of hard work in her.

“I saw the value of dedication and passion in her. She was never absent, even on her sick days she thought of the children. She was on that level. I am so proud of her,” she recalls.

She also owes a lot to her industry gurus, whose mentorship has helped equip her with the skills to take on the hotel industry at large.

The Okada vision

At 44 hectares in entirety, Okada Manila is easily the most massive property in the country’s hotel industry, and it is still only at phase one. The years ahead can only bring good tidings, not just for the property, but for all of its 8,000 current manpower.

“Okada Manila is very focused on honing the employees, we have succession plans here. We have good benefits and lots of perks. People are well taken care of and have competitive compensation packages. Even the employee meals are really good. Okada is very generous to employees,” Reboredo reveals.

With its marvels and achievements, Reboredo is proud to be a Filipino in Okada’s employ.

The Filipina hotelier poses before a view of Okada Manila's premiere beach club and entertainment destination, The Cove Manila.
Philstar.com/EC Toledo

Already considered the biggest integrated resort in the Philippines to date, her vision for Okada Manila is to become among the renowned integrated resorts worldwide.

“We want to be an icon. When people think of the Philippines, we want them to think of Manila and Okada Manila synonymously, its world-class and state-of-the-art facilities and offerings. Okada Manila can be a one-stop-shop. You can check-in, have room accommodations, you can party. You have Cove, you can go to the spa. You can shop, you can have your children have fun at Play, our kids’ play center. It’s a holistic experience.

“I want Okada to be the top-of-mind of all target market, local and international. So that’s our vision—the Okada name to be also known not just here, but globally,” she proudly says.

When asked about what’s next for one Cielo Ortega-Reboredo, she remarks, “I’m staying in Okada for good!”

OKADA MANILA
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