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Boss Lady.

Jessica Maloles-beauty queen, advocate, businesswoman-is slowly causing a stir in social/philanthropy circles. Rising from the ranks, hers is a story of tenacity, risk-taking and astute choices.

Born in Davao and raised in General Santos City, she nevertheless has comfortably ensconced herself in the restaurant and hotel scenes in Metro Manila, Batangas and Misamis Occidental. She owns the Bless Las Paellas and Okiniiri chain of restaurants, and a partner at the Bless Amare boutique hotels and cafes.

'I've always wanted to try new business ventures in the restaurant industry. It started when a good friend brought up the idea of venturing into the food business,' Maloles shared.

Her favorites at the Las Paellas restaurants (Greenhills, Taguig, Paranaque, Laguna) are Paella Negra, Paella Valenciana, Callos Madrilena and Pinoy Short Ribs Caldereta; and from Bless Okiniiri Japanese restaurant (BF Homes Paranaque) are the Sizzling Beef Yakiniku, the salmon and the miso soup.

Her mentor, great friend and confidant Nelson Mendoza wanted a partner to improve and grow his hotel and resort business. After brainstorming sessions, they decided on a unique boutique hotel and resort idea.

In BF Homes Paranaque is the lovely and serene Bless Amare Boutique Hotel and Cafe; in Baliangao, Misamis Occidental, they offer leisure and tranquillity at the Bless Amare Sunrise Resort, while at Nasugbu, Batangas, the Bless Amare Sunset Resort is where you can relax and enjoy the Instagrammable surroundings.

'Bless' is an integral part of her business branding, because 'there are no obstacles in a blessing. It is freely given and received,' Maloles said, adding that she's blessed with five children with her husband Octavio. 'God has always been the center of my life. He is the source of the blessings and the One who provides. In my business and in my life, He sustains me.'

But before the unassuming Maloles became a CEO of Bless Amare Group of Cos., she labored in menial jobs. 'I worked as a promo lady for several products, a saleslady, a merchandiser. I honed my skills as a stock person, cashier until I became a supervisor and manager,' she said.

Maloles racked up all these backbreaking experiences while being a working business-administration student at GenSan Holy Trinity College. That's why she has a special spot for working students in her heart. As a way of paying forward, she gives financial support to her employees who wish to continue their education.

When business is booming, she emphasized, 'we don't keep the profit to ourselves. We share it with those who work for us.' Maloles also doles out bonuses every so often, not just the 13th-month pay.

This compassionate spirit also extends to her advocacies. 'I'm a Rotarian, a past president of Rotary Club of Manila South. I'm involved in many feeding and medical programs, also community development through sustainable training. My involvement are usually hands-on, and/or through monetary and supply donations,' Maloles said.

Her work schedule can be quite hectic, so she finds time to indulge herself, like shopping. 'They say that a diamond is a girl's best friend. You can say I have many best friends,' she said with a giggle. 'My special favorite is my set of Bvlgari. '

Her bags? 'AsFour, Coach to Michael Kors, Chanel to Louis Vuitton, Prada to Versace, and my favorite is a few collection of Hermes.'

'I can't share my beauty secrets,' said a laughing Maloles, a first runner-up at Mrs. Asia International 2014.

She loves to travel and dabbles in interior design. 'I also help my fashion designers in designing the gowns that I wear. Almost all my gowns and casual clothes are custom-made. I have two personal designers who make most all of my gowns, Rye Baile and Marlo Javier. Boyet Fajardo is also a personal favorite and a good friend,' she shared. 'The late Pitoy Moreno designed my wedding gown. He was very talented and a genius at his trade.'

Being from Mindanao, how does martial law affect your business?

'Martial law is meant to control those that are a menace to society. It is intended for the safety and security of law-abiding citizens. It is also aimed at ensuring peace and order,' Maloles explained. 'As long as people with authority do not commit abuses, martial law doesn't affect any businesses in a negative way.'
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jan 28, 2018
Words:820
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