If there’s one phrase that can perfectly describe her, it would be ‘a global achiever and a modern-day hero.’ Vagelyn Tumbaga-Pacio, only 39-years-old, has become an icon of womanhood, a trailblazing lady of charity, community patroness and a world-class hotelier.
From being a humble farm girl, Pacio is now the Human Resources Director of Dusit Thani Dubai hotel, a five-star luxury hotel in the emirate. She rose from the rank of human resource secretary to the youngest general manager in the Middle East of a four-star hotel in UAE at the age of 28.
Among her achievements include being listed on the 8 Women Of Substance 2018, making her the first Filipina and Asian awardee to grace the award. Just recently, she was also recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Global HR Leaders and HR Global Excellence Award as cited during the World HRD Congress in India.
To this date, Pacia is the International Ambassador of the United Hotelier of the Philippines (UHP) in the UAE. The UHP group is the organization of all Filipino professionals working in hospitality, restaurants, travels and airlines. Part of her work involves initiating activities and training that enhance the knowledge and skills of the members as well as inspiring and motivating them to become successful in their chosen field.
“I reached the epitome of success at a very young age of 28 when I was named the General Manager of Acacia Hotel in 2008. I established a name overseas as the only Filipino and youngest general manager of a four-star hotel to participate in the Middle East Great GM Debate during that time,” Pacio said, adding that no other Filipino has ever participated in such a prestigious award and record reveals that she was indeed the only Filipino to have ever assumed the post of a general manager of a posh hotel in UAE at a very young age.
Various institutions and publications acknowledged her in the field of human resource and hospitality industry for her sincere involvement in promoting the positive image of expats in the Middle East.
Her word doesn’t stop inside the office. Pacio has organized great initiatives for her fellow countrymen by providing jobs especially during pre-opening of hotels. She also provides free training and seminars about UAE labor and employment regulations as well as career development training.
Like most overseas Filipinos in the UAE, she started her career on a small-paying job.
“I started my career as a secretary cum HR assistant with AED 1,000 monthly salary in a construction company, shared a bedspace with more than 10 people in one room and took public transport services in the midst of the hottest season,” she said.
The 2005 film ‘Dubai’ has inspired her to venture and work abroad and it was also at that moment that her family was in a deep financial crisis.
Pacio, who remains to be grateful for the people who have helped her to succeed, has the ultimate dream to own a hotel and resort in San Fernando, La Union.
“If that time comes, I will give and do my best to deliver Exceptional Filipino Hospitality and be known locally and internationally,” she added.
Her advice to Filipinos abroad is to go out of their comfort zones. Echoing Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s famous line ‘it’s a risk not to take a risk,’ she said Filipinos should explore and see beyond the horizon as they have so much they can do and the future’s so bright and ahead of them.
“We have to always raise the bar and continuously grow and develop ourselves. Learn and invest in education and training to be better that we were yesterday,” Pacio said.