Having bounced back strongly from the COVID-19 downturn, Philippines-based AppleOne Properties is now looking forward to expanding the business. Headed up by President and CEO Ray Manigsaca, the business had to pivot during the global pandemic. “Our focus turned to health care,” he says. “Our three hospitals are running very well and managed by professionals.”
Venturing into health care represented an opportunity for AppleOne to support the industry at a time when it faced significant challenges. “We wanted to support the industry in the best way we could – by sharing our expertise in construction and operations in order to modernize and better equip these hospitals while also diversifying our portfolio and furthering our knowledge in health care,” Manigsaca explains.
“We will continue to strengthen this part of the business in the coming years, as we see the opportunity to bring the industry forward by aiding and strengthening our local health care.”
“As long as you are efficient in your business, then your management team should be operating on the same level.”
The property group has a growing portfolio in its Cebu base and is optimistic tourism will recover strongly in the region. Talking about his medium-to-long-term vision, Manigsaca adds, “We will be focusing again on real estate. We just opened the Sheraton expecting that tourism will recover because we have good leaders in the government right now handling our tourism.”
The AppleOne CEO anticipates tourist numbers to normalize early next year or the latter half of 2023, but observes that all of his restaurants and hotels “are open right now and doing well”. Planning ahead, he is looking at more branded hotels, resorts and residences in the Philippines.
The company has another related business in the construction sector, which was unaffected by the pandemic. “It did not stop. The government is still bidding up projects, huge projects. The PPP [public-private partnerships] projects of the Philippines continued even during the pandemic.”
AppleOne was founded by Manigsaca and his wife Venus. He credits teamwork, hard work, prudence and integrity for the company’s strong growth over the past 12 years.
Witnessing a strong recovery from COVID-19, he is positive about the future, despite the current global economic uncertainty sparked by Russia’s war with Ukraine. “This is just very temporary because of the geopolitical situation and pandemic. My expansion plan will not be hindered by these temporary events that are happening.”
His key area of focus to improve the business during the next 6–12 months will be on strengthening his management team to handle the company’s expansion. “I’ll be getting more executives to join my core team and then we’ll increase our technological savvy by onboarding the right people for that department,” he says. “I will be welcoming them so they can give me input on what’s best to be more efficient and very competitive in the industry.”
Manigsaca recognizes the benefits of having a strong management team around him, but that as the CEO he has to lead by example. “As long as you are efficient in the handling of your business, then your management team should be operating on the same level.”
Talking about the strengths that set AppleOne apart from its competitors, Manigsaca says he treats everyone on his team like family. “I respect their ideas. I’m open to their ideas. I cannot survive alone because I cannot know everything. So the executives that I have right now are productive and very helpful in running the business.”
This human touch extends beyond his workforce to his suppliers as well. “I’m very loyal to a brand. When I establish relationships with a supplier by making a purchase, it’s not simply on a per product basis. I’m after the long-term relationship.”
Manigsaca reveals the reasons why he works hard to build long-term and personal relationships with AppleOne’s stakeholders. “If you have a problem, you can call their chairman or whoever directly. They will act on it because not only am I loyal to their brands, but also that we have this long-term relationship already. That’s really my style, my strategy.”
“We’re agile enough that we can adapt to the market.”
Agility is another strength he believes in, as he grows his business ventures. Many large companies lack the ability to move fast and make quick decisions given their large size and bureaucracy. Here he feels AppleOne has a distinct advantage.
“We’re agile enough that we can adapt to the market,” Manigsaca says. And those opportunities are coming, he adds. “As the world changes – and it is changing rapidly – opportunities present themselves, and that’s how I think the business will grow.”