I recently completed a training entitled ‘Filipino Brand of Service (FBS) Train the Trainers Course’ sponsored by the Department of Tourism. It was a 4-day training which gathered 29 chosen representatives from all over the ­Philippines. Its main objective is to train them on the distinct Filipino core values that are remarkable in the perspective of tourists, both local and foreign alike. Their task after would be to conduct trainings in their respective regions most specially to front liners of the different sectors of the tourism and hospita­lity industry.

Front liners are the people who meet guests face to face and directly interact with the customers as passengers of any transport sector, hotel guests, tourists and travelers, diners in foodservice establishments, customers in shopping centers or a spa, or delegates of varied conventions. In all these sectors, it is important to remember that the Filipino Brand of Service makes a mark to these tourists making them believe that, truly, the Philippines is one of the friendliest countries in the world; hence, ‘It is more fun in the Philippines’.

What is significant in the FBS Program are the realities that we must deliver ‘service-excellence’ which requires remarkable people skills, great verbal communication skills and an ability to be accommodating, friendly, patient and responsive. Furthermore, it also encompasses the Filipino core values that are manifested by our front liners. These are (1)Maka-Maylikha, (2)Makatao, (3)Maka-Kalikasan, (4)Makabansa, (5)Masayahin, (6)May-Bayanihan at (7) May-Pag-asa.

Filipino people at work especially frontliners demonstrate many, if not all of these core va­lues, not because it is required in their respective jobs, but because these values are inherent in us.

The ‘Maka-Maylikha’ value is central in most of us. We believe that we have a connection to something greater than ourselves.  While this is often associated with spirituality and linked to a church, ­temple or mosque, others find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a Higher Being. Having this, people at work often try to be righteous and maintain integrity.

The ‘Makatao’ core value is sourced from a strong sense of fa­mily. We manifest strong fa­mily ties and always appreciate a deep sense of belongingness. As observed during calamities, there is an outpour of donation and volunteerism. At the workplace, we offer whatever help we can give to a colleague who needs assistance. It is even more evident in our front liners who extend more assistance to their guests. That is why Filipinos are all around the globe exceling in customer service.

Because the Philippines is endowed with breathtaking natural wonders, Filipinos embrace the ‘Maka-Kalikasan’ value. Helpful movements such as recycling, plastic bags ban, segregating wastes are being adapted. People at work may be able to help by practicing these; while front liners, especially those who are dealing with tourists, must be vigilant. Tourists should be reminded on how we show importance on preserving the environment.

The recent victory of Manny Pacquiao in boxing and the fondness of Filipinos in pageants where Philippines has been winning for the last decade bring joy to Filipinos. The ‘Makabansa’ core value is evident in these events. One way of showing how we manifest this value is not speaking ill about our country to others, especially to foreigners.

‘Masayahin’ ang mga Filipino. Even in the most desperate si­tuations, we make light of the situation and find the bright side in it. We always try to maintain a happy disposition in life despite problems. People at work keep the smiles on their faces as if nothing bothers them.  Front liners do this well.

‘May Bayanihan’ is another Filipino core value which is associated with cooperation, collaboration, coordination or simply working together. It has a touch of the ‘makatao’ value and is more evident during crisis and di­sasters. However, at the workplace, it is shown as part of teamwork in working for a project. In the hospitality and tourism industry, front li­ners make sure that their guests or tourists get the best service. Coordination is key to achieve a wonderful stay.

The last FBS core value is ‘May Pag-asa’. Filipinos are resilient and always believe that there is hope. ‘Habang may buhay, may pag-asa’ is something they consider true. In fact, when the Philippines was hit by destructive typhoons and earthquakes, many thought that it would take time to recover. Filipinos proved them wrong; they showed the world that Filipinos are hopeful, and life must go on.

Front liners represent the voice and the face of an organization, most especially in the tourism and hospita­lity sectors. As ambassadors of the business, they are expected to be the best of themselves so that they can serve their stake-holders well. Putting into practice the Filipino Brand of Service values help them achieve service-excellence that emphasizes our country’s tourism slogan, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines’.

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