Filipina travel agent shares secret to staying on top in Singapore

Posted at 03/29/2013 1:44 PM | Updated as of 03/29/2013 1:46 PM

MANILA - The Pinoy Star, a community magazine in Singapore, recently published its list of 10 Top Filipino Entrepreneurs in the country.

One of the winners is Maria Josefina 'Pen' Villanueva, managing director of Pentravel & Tours (Sinapore) PTE LTD.

The Pinoy Star has given ABS-CBNnews.com permission to republish the interviews with the winners.

MARIA JOSEFINA 'PEN' VILLANUEVA, Managing Director Pentravel & Ours (Singapore) PTE LTD

When competition in business starts to get dirty, as i almost always does, a good entrepreneur's most enduring and remaining weapon is her integrity.

Maria Josefina 'Pen' Villanueva, owner of one of the most successful Filipino-owned travel agencies in Singapore, have faced man hurdles as a businesswoman, but she remains unscathed and in great fighting form every time. She knows that, a the end of the day, her business partners, colleagues, and more importantly, her continuously growing client base will choose to place their trust in her because they know, Pen has always been a woman of her word.

Her business wouldn't have lasted 14 years, with a total of 11 staff in three branches (one in Singapore and two in the Philippines) if Pen and her eponymous travel & tour agency haven't established themselves as an enterprise with integrity.

What's the challenge of running a travel agency in Singapore?

The travel agency business in Singapore is very competitive nowadays. It is a challenge to rise above this competition wherein competitors even go as far as touching on [or affecting ] my personal life, frankly speaking.

How do you manage to remain on top despite the dirty competition?

I have established a good name in the travel industry. I'm known to give 100% commitment and support when partnering with airlines, hotels, and resorts, and to any travel-related projects.

What do you have that other business rivals don't?

I consider my credibility, integrity and honesty as my unique edge over them. This is the reason why airlines choose to appoint my travel agency as their wholesale agent.

What Pinoy values have put you in good stead when dealing with Singaporean clients?

My customer service, attention to detail and prompt service complement the requirements of my Singaporean clients.

Do you support anyone back home?

In the Philippines, I'm still supporting my mother financially and letting her enjoy all e comfort  since  she is already very old.

Do you support any cause or charity in the Philippines?

I always support the cause to fight poverty especially for the needy children in our country through ABS-CBN's Bantay Bata.

Please finish this sentence: to truly succeed, an entrepreneur must...

Be honest and true to oneself. Building and maintaining good human relations are also very important, whether in personal or business dealings. I would always remind all my staff to practice these values since for me, this is where success begins.