Bill Healey hosts a roundtable with four top executives at Hann Casino Resort in the Philippines
The Philippines is known for its growing casino and leisure sectors, particularly in the greater Manila metropolitan area. Casinos, spas and golf are plentiful in the area. We were fortunate to speak with four directors at the new integrated resort, Hann Casino Resort in Clark Freeport, Pampanga.
What is your position and what do your daily responsibilities entail?
Liway Alba – Director of Gaming Operations
I’m basically in charge of table games. I create and amend policies, ensuring that it is aligned to the vision of the company as well as to Pagcor regulations; I introduce gaming initiatives (both administrative and operations) focusing on the enhancement of processes for better guest experience and enjoyment; and I coordinate with other casino heads for better and smoother casino operations.
Cheryl Tiglao – Director of Slots
I oversee the slot operation and technical aspect of the department.
Ryi Lim – Director of Casino International Marketing
I take care of casino marketing, which includes player development, events and promotions, etc.
Sheryl Mamangun – Branding and Communications Manager
I’m in charge of overseeing brand compliance under Hann, and spearheading public relations and communications from and with Hann.
Could you give us a bit on your background, how you got your start in the gaming industry and what brought you to Hann Casino?
Liway Alba: I’ve been in the industry for almost 30 years. I remember myself looking for a part-time job back then, which turned out to be a career. Most of my work experience is overseas, both cruise- and land-based (mainly in Asia). I gained my managerial experience from Macau and Singapore when I joined Las Vegas Sands. My last working experience was at Marina Bay Sands, where I got the casino manager position. After Marina Bay Sands, I took a year’s break to settle myself and the kids here in the Philippines. Joining Hann, or should I say Widus, was an invitation from Ms. Tiglao. That time, I was actually applying at the other property and she asked me to try sending my CV to Widus. And here I am, after four years.
Cheryl Tiglao: I started my career in Clark, particularly in Fontana, as a slot attendant, then slot supervisor, two decades ago. I went to Venetian Macao as a shift manager in 2007 and stayed for two years. I went back home and was hired as assistant slot manager of the pre-opening team at Resorts World Manila in 2009. I was eventually promoted to slot operations manager, and was in charge of hiring and training people. After a short stint in Resorts World Manila, I was hired in Marina Bay Sands as a slot shift manager. I spent eight years living in Singapore. I left Marina Bay Sands as assistant slot manager overseeing the slot operation. I permanently went back home to the Philippines in mid-2017 and took a break for about a year. Fate led me to Hann (formerly Widus) in 2018 when a friend encouraged me to apply for a slot operations manager position and the rest is history.
Ryi Lim: I started out in Marina Bay Sands as a VIP host, which is part of the team of international marketing, taking care of the premium direct players playing in the club called Paiza. I took a break after working for around eight years in this industry, including in Macau and the Philippines, and was then invited to join Hann Casino in 2019.
Sheryl Mamangun: Prior to working at Hann Casino Resort (formerly Widus), I had 12 years of sales and marketing experience at Holiday Inn Clark from 2000 to 2012. I moved to Hann Casino Resort in 2012 as a sales executive and eventually was promoted to marketing manager. My main role is managing the day-to-day operations of the marketing department. I monitor and implement various marketing initiatives, developing marketing strategies and partnering with branding agencies for branding development projects. I also oversee branding, advertising and public relations.
What impact is the resort expected to have on the local community?
Sheryl Mamangun: The resort stood as the first fully integrated resort north of Manila. It has undeniably added value to the community, with Hann being one of the top investors in Clark. This is alongside the almost 2,000-person workforce employed in the property.
Where does Hann Casino draw its guests from?
Liway Alba: Hann Casino caters to neighboring provinces and, of course, the Korean community.
Cheryl Tiglao: The majority are locals and foreigners, particularly Koreans.
Ryi Lim: It’s primarily the Filipinos. However there is very strong attraction for the Korean market, be it the serious gamers or the tourist-occasional gamers
What makes Hann Casino unique? What draws guests to the property?
Liway Alba: Its strategic structure. Curiosity is one thing as it is new, of course, but also because of the integrated-resort feel, with its excellent service, and variety of table games and slot machines.
Cheryl Tiglao: With its first-of-a-kind IR of Central Luzon, Hann Casino showcases modern facilities, sophisticated design, exquisite F&B outlets and five-star star hotels minus the traffic of the city.
Ryi Lim: It is the only integrated resort in the Philippines where you can be away from the traffic, and the hustle and bustle of the city life, embracing the serene surroundings while enjoying an impeccable guest experience comparable to that of the IRs in Entertainment City.
Tell us about the unique architecture of the recently opened property.
Sheryl Mamangun: The property boasts modern architecture aesthetically complemented by nature and lush green landscapes, with an elegant façade that showcases lines and contours flaunting structural impressions of the Banaue rice terrace.
Could you give us a feel for the size of the casino, the floor space, the number of table games and gaming machines?
Liway Alba: Currently, we have 149 tables which break down as follows: Mass - 49, H club -15, H Circle - 29, Junket level, two to 56. We offer 10 different games - baccarat, blackjack, pontoon, roulette, money wheel, sicbo, craps, Texas hold’em, Hann Poker, lunar poker.
Cheryl Tiglao: We also have 868 combined EGM/ETG.
What are the preferred table games and gaming machines?
Cheryl Tiglao: Progressive machines, particularly JJBX.
Liway Alba: Baccarat of course, Super 6 in particular, but we have a fair share of games in poker and craps.
Which social media platforms does Hann use to reach out to its guests?
Sheryl Mamangun: Hann Casino Resort is very active on the social media scene through its channels on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Youtube and LinkedIn.
What type of non-gaming activities will be available for guests and their families?
Sheryl Mamangun: Hann Casino Resort is deemed the ultimate playground north of Manila. Aside from our world-class casino, we currently house the first Swissotel in the country and the first DOT-accredited five-star hotel in Central Luzon, which is Clark Marriott. These brands offer luxury amenities and facilities ranging from a wide array of food and beverage outlet options, top-notch recreational facilities like spas, pools and lounges, and elevated weekend entertainment, among others.
Soon, we will also see the rise of Hann Resort golf courses and other international luxury-hospitality brands as well.
Does Hann Casino have tournaments on either the table games or slots? If so, what are the more popular types of tournaments? What are your current promos?
Ryi Lim: We had two baccarat tournaments this year, mainly on the main gaming floor for the mass players. The exclusive baccarat tournaments will be coming up very soon for the premium mass players. At the same time, we are also preparing for the slot tournaments and we hope to bring this to our players by first quarter of 2023. Current promotions are centered mostly around raffle draws, and item giveaways which are a big hit among our players.
We have started out slowly in introducing special events since Covid has become much more manageable nowadays. Just recently, we concluded a concert in Clark Marriott’s ballroom, exclusively for our players only. We are also looking into Oktoberfest, shopping events, food and maybe even golf tournaments in the future.
What is Hann’s commitment to corporate social responsibility? How does it contribute and support the local community?
Sheryl Mamangun: We currently have the Hann Foundation Inc. (HFI). Formerly known as the Widus Foundation Inc., it is the corporate foundation of Hann Philippines Inc., owner and proprietor of Hann Casino Resort.
Established in June 2017, HFI envisions to cultivate a culture of care and compassion by uplifting communities through timely, efficient and collaborative projects, each centered on creating better opportunities and building a brighter future for all.
It is also the implementing body of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR), alongside being the platform for social development practices together with both the private and public sectors. These empowered partnerships actively foster “Bayanihan” or the Filipino spirit of teamwork between Hann employees and volunteers alike.
Since 2017, HFI has notably implemented various social, educational, health, disaster relief, and cultural heritage projects that have helped rebuild, sustain and develop communities across the country. HFI is committed for the long haul to bringing hope and enhancing quality of lives through sustainable and impactful projects, one local community at a time.
Casino Life would like to thank Liway Alba, Cheryl Tiglao and Ryi Lim for their feedback on Hann Casino Resort the newest IR north of Manila.
**** This interview was undertaken August 2022 and originally published in Casino Life Magazine Issue 152 ****