John Harold Sagun Inspiring Filipino at Atlantis The Palm

Position: Housekeeping Coordinator

Company: Atlantis The Palm

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Hometown: Caloocan City, Metro Manila

One inspiring Filipino who holds a sensitive position at Atlantis the Palm, one of the best known destinations in Dubai, is John Harold Sagun.

Then, a room attendant

He has been in Dubai for five years now. “It was all guts, determination and faith when I came here in Dubai to work, without any knowledge about the country, not even a relative to accompany me. I started to work as a room attendant —brushed toilet, changed bed linens and did everything that should be done. I never knew that it was very hard to work here,” said John Harold, who first worked as a Room Attendant.

“I struggled a lot and I almost gave up, because at that time many people want to resign but I was so determined for myself and for my family, so I stayed and think about positive things that might happen if I stay and work hard,” he further said.

“When I completed my one year, I applied for several times for (higher) position. I think it was not really my time. But I was determined so I applied for every single vacancy to prove to the management that I know I can do it. After so many attempts my hard work paid off. I got a promotion,” he added.

After two years, he was promoted as a Housekeeping Coordinator. “My tasks mostly deal with the internal guest relations involving our colleagues, helping them with requests, giving them enough information. As a Senior Coordinator, it is also my duty and responsibility to guide the junior coordinators by giving them extra knowledge on how to deal with certain problems that they might encounter and guide them every time they have questions,” he narrated.

“As of now, we are adopting REX, a system that deals with rooms operation, time management and environment-friendly practices. My manager gave me the opportunity to implement the new system along with my other colleagues. I was involved 60 percent in its implementation while balancing my duty in the office. We are now using the system for other daily operation. I am so thankful that I am one of the few people that makes this works,” he added.

Salary not enough

He was born in Manila to spouses Hyllic Sagun and Hermina Bernal Sagun. His siblings are Jennifer, Girlie, Hyleen, Sigrid, Jinkee and Reizel. “I am still single. We are a big family. I have six sisters and because my mother is so kind, she adopted three more. We lived in Caloocan. My elder sisters did not finish their studies in college. Most of them looked for a job after finishing high school. The eldest applied overseas to help my parents. Soon after, my other sisters followed. All of them have their families, and now it’s my turn to help my mother even in small ways. I am thankful to my sisters who never give up for us to have a better future,” John said.

He took his elementary and high school education at Newland Center for Education. He attributes his love for his job to his roots. “When I was a kid, my family had a small canteen personally managed by my mom who was also the chef,” he recalled.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from AMA Business Education. “I took HRM course because I really love to cook and I know that I can use my knowledge to help my mother. But, sometimes, plans change. Now, mostly all of my experiences are customer related. I’m enjoying the moment. I still have hopes that one day I can fulfill my mom’s dream to establish a restaurant,” he said.

He looks back to his humble beginnings with pride. He quips, “I was 20 years old when I worked for a call center, where I took charge of the McDonald’s delivery for about four months. I have to quit because it’s too far and my salary is not enough for my daily expenses.”

Strong determination

To his fellow expats, this he says, “Optimistic, I always see and think on a brighter side. My spirit animal is eagle. We must have determination that we can do anything that we set on our mind. We tend to give up when we feel that nothing is happening. It will happen. It might take for a while but it will come true. Always believe in your capability.”

For him, success is not all about position or rank. “We must have the capability to help others and be a good influencer for them to be better. Don’t stop believing in yourself because you are the only one who knows your limitation. Stay away from negative people for they will hinder you from achieving your dreams,” he said.

John Harold, who also functions as Executive Manager of United Hoteliers of The Philippines (UHP) in Dubai, stressed, “I have a long way to go, but, for now, being here and working in a respected company for five years is my greatest achievement.”

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