October 20, 2004 (STAR) By Estela Banzon-De La Paz - Located two hours away from Metro Manila, Batangas-based Hotel Pontefino is aggressively eyeing the corporate market.

"We want to be known as the team-building destination for corporations. We want to be known as the first de luxe hotel to offer customized corporate training packages," said Ricky Gutierrez, chief operating officer of Hotel Concepts, Inc., developer and manager of Hotel Pontefino.

The training programs are highly physical but customized to the training needs of individual company.

"We adjust to what the clients want. One company, for example, wanted an ‘Amazing Race’ type of training. We set up and check all the equipment a day or two before they come in. It’s strenuous training for the participants but entirely safe because participants are always hooked up to harnesses," said Gianina Bengzon, president of Learning Experiential Applications & Programs, Inc., the company which developed the two core training programs being offered at the hotel. A LEAP affiliate, Harness, Inc. handles the actual program implementation.

Ropes Courses

For Hotel Pontefino, LEAP has developed two ropes courses–one for more adventurous participants called high ropes and the other for the less adventurous called low ropes.

Among the high ropes activities are the cable walk, where participants do a 30- to-40-feet free fall; and the cat walk, where participants are made to cross a wooden plank, six inches thick and about 25 feet long, 35 feet off the ground.

"The activities have been designed to help each participant face his/her fears and to push himself/herself beyond his/her perceived limitations," said Harness president Rad Manicad.

A team-building activity is cargo net climb, where three climbers, who are linked to each other, must climb 40 feet, go over the net, and then go down the side.

"If one falls, all of them fall. They need to help each other to accomplish their goal," said Manicad. "Low ropes may not have the same fear factor as the high ropes activities but they also accomplish the same goals and values such as trust among colleagues."


The training packages are priced at P50,000 to P80,000, depending on the number of participants, what the company wants to achieve, and the number of training days (which can be as short as one day and as long as five days).

Right now, the minimum number of participants is 15. By December, the ropes courses will be extended to smaller groups such as families and hotel guests.

"We are still working out the mechanics and the rates for this type of clientele," said Bengzon.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved