Opening a hotel in 1997 at a time when the Asian market collapsed, was probably not the best idea. Still, Castle Peak Hotel owner Charlie Tolentino’s family took a risk and soldiered on with the business. Today, the budget hotel is still thriving even as new hotels are cropping up all over Cebu. Founder’s Guide sat down with Charlie as he shared how his family rode the waves of the economic crisis and survived.
On overcoming the Asian financial crisis
“Borrowing money is not bad. It’s not bad for expansion but overborrowing or borrowing over your equity is not good,” he advised.
The Castle Peak owner also shared their family’s rule when it came to borrowing money. “Our principle when it comes to borrowing is 70-30. 70% our money and 30% loan so we never overborrowed.”
It was due to this principle that they managed to overcome the economic crisis and made Castle Peak last.
Many hats he has worn in business
Even while he was taking up Business Management in the University of San Carlos, Charlie was already helping out in the family business. He started with tough jobs including being a cigarette salesman and helping out with his family’s copra business. Though it was tough, the low level jobs served as a good training job for him, especially when he took over the business.
Apart from being a businessman, Charlie is also a certified yoga teacher. He fell in love with the discipline after he became an accidental student of yoga training classes held in his hotel. He now teaches yoga as a hobby.
Advice for entrepreneurs
“Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme.”
He simply explains this as the need to concentrate on the effort and not about the fruits of that effort. He believes it’s easier to work this way, with feet grounded in reality rather than fantasy. Illusions of grandeur can lead to extreme disappointment and ruin a person’s life.
Another thing Charlie advises would-be entrepreneurs to do is to accept that life is difficult. “When you acknowledge this, step by step, life becomes a little easier. Each day, you begin to see an inch of improvement whether it’s in your life or in your business.”
Vision for Castle Peak
One of the hotel’s new features is a Pizza Pub, a casual dining experience where people can enjoy pizza + beer. With its own spa, gym, dipping pool, convenience store, salon and carwash, Castle Peak offers its guests “a little bit of everything” to make their stay more memorable.