The Force behind NUSTAR

A towering modern palace of luxury and entertainment, NUSTAR integrated resort stands as a beacon of progress at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City.

This world-class multi-use luxury space stands in what used to be the lighthouse island of Kawit. Now, it is the crowning glory of the SRP.

NUSTAR is a force to reckon with and is changing the tourism landscape of Cebu.

Behind the strong and steady birth of NUSTAR are the men and women who serve as the integrated resort’s powerhouse executives.

Meet them in this SunStar exclusive interview.

Alan Teo - Chief Operating Officer

Teo took over as the new Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Universal Hotels and Resorts, Inc. (UHRI), the proponent of NUSTAR, in October 2022.

He said the position comes with great responsibilities, given the ultimate goal of integration for the leadership, to turn plans from the different business units into reality.

“There is a need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team composition and work it to our advantage,” he said.

Teo believes that for anyone or any enterprise to be successful, there should be integrity, adaptability, a growth mindset, and strategy.

As the home of many firsts and as the region’s newest landmark attraction, Teo said NUSTAR is envisioned to become the premier venue for showcasing global Filipino lifestyle and culture.

“We will work together with the Cebu community as we bring world-class products and services to the region, and in turn, to the global market,” said the COO.

Paolo Campillo - General Manager

Campillo serves as the General Manager (GM) for Fili Hotel and NUSTAR Hotel with the core principle of providing personalized service to every single guest for the maximum luxury experience.

For the GM, the only way to provide world-class service to each guest is to have trained people with the right attitude to provide the service.

Each must have a relentless passion for excellence in curating the iconic local experiences for the guests, ensuring that each team member is the best-trained associate in the business.

“The biggest challenge, across any industry, is the war for talent. The whole world is after Filipino talent,” said the GM.

Campillo, who has spent 18 years working in various hospitality industries abroad, said he is hoping that more Filipinos with foreign experience will come home to lead the innovation in the industry.

“You have a passion for excellence. It doesn’t matter where you are. Do things a little bit better,” he added.

Kenvix Ngoi - Vice President for Casino Marketing

As NUSTAR’s Vice President (VP) for Casino Marketing, Ngoi aims to bring luxury and light-hearted pleasure gaming experiences to Filipinos.

“I am bringing my experience and expertise which I have acquired through my previous stints in Malaysia, Singapore, and other global hospitality giants. I want to show Cebuanos what luxury truly is,” Ngoi said.

The VP said that the challenge is introducing the new standard of luxury to Cebuanos and the idea of an integrated resort to the local economy.

It might take some time for internal and external clients to digest the concept, but Ngoi said the result would be beyond expectations.

“NUSTAR itself will become a new landmark in Cebu with an all-in-one complex for everyone,” he said.

Trevor Hammond - Vice President for Gaming and Integrated Resort Operations

Serving as Vice President (VP) for Gaming and Integrated Resort Operations, Hammond believes that NUSTAR will be a game changer for Cebu’s economy.

“We will be top of mind for every visitor to Cebu. We expect people to go to Cebu, international and local tourists alike. We also want to be able to generate jobs, and be the preferred employer of Cebuanos. All these to contribute to the recovering economy,” said Hammond.

The VP highlighted NUSTAR’s all-in-one luxury services from the exquisite food and beverage to the hotel, to the convention center, and finally to the casino.

Hammond’s secret recipe for success is being adaptable, resilient, and resourceful in seeing every challenge as an opportunity to constantly be better.

He added that Emotional Intelligence must be developed by those who wish to succeed in the industry to apply the wisdom of the world around them.

“We learn a lot here. If you don’t apply what you learn, you won’t learn from your mistakes. By far as important as the other one is ensuring that we KNOW what the customer wants, and knowing how to provide a safe and comfortable working environment,” said Hammond.

Katrina Mae de Jesus - Director for Business Developement and Brand Marketing

De Jesus, as employee No. 1, is the woman behind NUSTAR’s business development, from conceptualization to its birth until its current grandeur.

“When it comes to branding, we want to develop a property that is world-class leveraging on Cebu. When we introduce ourselves, we anchor it to the greatness of Cebu,” said De Jesus.

The youngest among the executives, De Jesus said it was her openness, willingness, and sheer interest to take on the huge project of putting up NUSTAR.

Anchored on the belief that Cebu is a strong and thriving tourism economy, NUSTAR’s branding is a reflection of the vibrance of the island.

“The secret recipe for success is a pinch of salt and loads of understanding. People — we must find the right people to work on the team because it’s a marriage; an amalgamation of personalities and expertise that bring about success,” said De Jesus.

The director believes that NUSTAR is a massive factor in bringing Cebu’s tourism to greater heights.

Chef Christopher Romine - Director of Culinary

The artist behind the scrumptious feasts at NUSTAR is Chef Christopher Romine, whose global experience is now offered to Cebuanos.

Romine said people can expect cutting-edge innovation in the culinary scene with over 40 restaurants soon to open at NUSTAR.

“It all starts with quality—quality of people, product, and service. We want to be trailblazers in the culinary scene and a home of many firsts. When creative and driven chefs come together, we will become an iconic culinary destination,” said the chef.

Romine said that it is important for culinary ventures to be managed by the best people who are passionate about what they do and who share the same vision as a group.

“To be the best, you must surround yourself with the best people who share the same passion and desire to be the best,” he said.

Importation remains to be a challenge for the culinary scene in the country and that includes NUSTAR’s restaurants, but Romine said it has greatly improved.

He said that it is a matter of determination to survive through hard times like the pandemic and the current economic struggle.

May Adolfo - Malls Operations Director

Adolfo is the Operations Director handling The Mall | NUSTAR.

“We bring a lot of firsts, especially in luxury retail, exciting specialty offerings, an array of dining options, pampering, and relaxing respites at this four-level mall component of the integrated resort,” she said.

Adolfo said that every challenge is an opportunity and at NUSTAR, the opportunities are endless.

She added that it is a matter of establishing the right tenant and employing the optimum and strategic zoning aligned to NUSTAR’s vision to ensure the delivery of a compelling value proposition to their patrons and stakeholders.

“It demands nothing less than 100% of my commitment and the team to transform our vision into reality with the right mindset, hard work, and perseverance,” said Adolfo.

The director truly believes that Cebu is ready for NUSTAR to bring forth a new mall experience.

NUSTAR has transformed the skyline of Cebu with its prime location at the SRP.

This Integrated Resort is run by a team of excellence-driven executives determined to bring everyone a brand-new experience.

Now, luxury is being redefined for every Cebuano.