“Quality Happens When You Care Enough to do Your Best.”- Ging Chaves
Cagayan de Oro’s Iconic CHALI Resort recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary, but it actually started 65 years ago when owner Dodong Chaves was 5 years old, as the first home-grown beach resort in Cagayan de Oro inspired by Jali Beach Resort of the Jalandonis in Cavite.
It boasted of a Japanese garden, putting green, and Talisay tree house with cottages for picnics, a couple of cottages and a basketball court.
Chali was named after the first syllables of Dong’s parents: his Dad-CHAves and Mom-LIM.
“Actually the story of Chali started way back in 1954 with my father Ernesto Chaves and my mother Lolita Lim, but it was only 25 years ago when my wife Ging and I started our dream to revive Chali with no grandiose plan, no feasibility study, no business plan but only our mere instincts and God’s providence. We just wanted to have a piece of paradise out of the small beach front property we have.”
Chali was operated by his parents until September 21, 1972 when Martial Law was declared. The property was leased to a third party who continued to use the name CHALI and operated it as a picnic place.
Meantime, Dodong, then a medical sales rep married bank employee Ging in 1976, and the couple took over CHALI in 1990 with a bank loan and reopened it in 1994 with the new Tres Marias Restaurant, two function rooms, swimming pool and five cottages.
“A cottage for us to rest, a pool to refresh, a horizon to gaze, and our Talisay Tree House for our children to play and enjoy,” was how Dodong described their simple plan.
In 1996 they opened their hotel but were hit hard by the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998 and it was touch-and-go for a while.
“We opened our doors to our friends, and soon the public. Seems we just slept one night and woke up 25 years with 4 kids, 5 grandchildren, 76 guest rooms and cottages and this grand ballroom and a strong community of 110 employees,” Dodong recalls.
Today CHALI has 16 cottages, 60 hotel rooms, seven function rooms, a catering service and new grand ballroom. Tres Marias is next online to undergo a renovation.
“I believe this commemoration is a reminder of God’s goodness and we can only sing praises of thanks for the 25 years of happiness and joy, 25 years of making dreams come true, and 25 years of unwavering faith of His Great Plans,” Ging said. “After all we are mere shepherds of God’s flock, willing and eager to simply serve and make him known, loved and honored.”
The couple cited their secrets for Chali’s success and longevity: the conjugal partnership of Dong and Ging, God’s Providence, and their children:
Vanessa “Vani” married to Benjamin Kelly based in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles with son Esen. Vanni owns an architectural outsourcing business The Redwagon Group (TRG) and Ben is into real estate.
John Ernesto “John” married to Lawyer Kristine Yuson, with two daughters Anna and Ally. John owns Cyber Club, Senio Foods and a coach and co-owner of Krossfit Cagayan in Nazareth.
Youngest daughter Angela “Angel” is married to Ted Pierre Jalad, and the couple owns their own restaurant Red Tail Shrimps.
Not the least, Ma. Theresa “Saz” married to lawyer Eduard Joseph Eullaran, and they have two kids Sienna and Mateo. Besides Chali Resort, Saz also manager their catering service The Cater Company, and owns Ribs & Bibs Restaurant with partner Chef Rosie B. Peralta.
Saz has been at the helm of Chali for the last 17 years and launched Chali as “CHALI RESORT & CONFERENCE CENTER” with a new commercial and logo during the anniversary party.
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy. They are charming gardeners who make our souls blossom,” Saz quoted during her brief thanksgiving talk.
“To our employees, know that this is also your night. You are terrifically tireless, exceptionally excellent, and abundantly appreciated. We are beyond words and we are so blessed to have each and every one of you as part of the Chali family.”
“To our valued guests, partners and colleagues in the industry, your support and trust all these years have been our inspiration to keep going. It was and still is a pleasure doing business with you. And being here tonight, giving us your time and presence, is indeed a wonderful anniversary gift.”
Dodong summed up the anniversary celebration in behalf of the family.
“Today we remember the seeds of our growth. The acquaintances that became life-long friendships. Like that Talisay tree by the beach, Chali just spread her branches, increased her girth, and strengthened her roots.”
“So it’s not just a corporate anniversary. It’s an anniversary of a family that grew strong, defying the odds.”
“Over our 25 year journey, we have been up and we have been down. Yet we have stood the test of time. We have lost and we have won. We had worries and we had celebrations. The best thing of all was that we have each other to rely on all the time.”