For all we know, Team Building has been a cliché in any organization –it aims to build more effective, productive, successful and fun working environment yadayada. Seems fun and easy right? But no, you think the executing part is tricky? (because you know that everything can’t be fixed by obstacle courses and high-fives, in fact, it can lead to more eye-brow-raising amongst the team if done wrong) Think again. You are still to be involved in the planning and you don’t have any idea how to begin with all the budget constraint, profiling, and how exhausting it is to find the best location.
My colleague was tasked to scout the best vendor and location for our annual team building this coming October. Being “nagmamaganda”, I volunteered to share her adventure (or rather giddy experience). Don’t get me wrong, I had fun though.
As a disclaimer, I am not in any way an expert in this field. But let me list the ideal requirements to ponder when hunting the best team building vendor near the Metro. Allow me to point out a few vital elements. Take into account the location. A word –convenience, you and I know how tiring the week is; last thing you want is a long and uncomfortable commute. You see, we have families and friends we want to spend the rest of the weekend. We also have to consider the capacity of the location, will it accommodate all the employees without having to sacrifice somebody’s comfort or favoring others. How about the food? Yes, that’s a big deal. People want to indulge after all the ridiculous activities (ang nega ko) the organizer asks them to. Speaking of activities, they are essential as those would be the tools to reach your goal – improving social interactions, unity, meeting goals as a team and what have you. Ultimately, the budget. For a company aiming to strengthen its strategic goals and improving profitability(sugar-coating for budget cut, haha cheap ba?), budget is a concern. And so the vendor that provides the best value whilst offering the most reasonable price.
We compared 4 popular team building destinations near Manila and here is the result.
Amansinaya: 3 hours. Don’t be deceived with the map. You have to ask the locals countless times then be prepared to pass through narrow rustic road before you get there (imagine the Shake-Rattle-and-Roll kind with Manilyn).
Caliraya Resort Club:: 3 hours.
Shercon: 2 hours.
Camp Benjamin: 2.5 hours.
Winner: Camp Benjamin. Well, technically, it’s Shercon. Am I math challenged or biased? Most employees live near Camp Benjamin, the qualitative property that needed to be considered. And it is also near Tagaytay so hooray for any side trip after the event.
Venue and Facilities
Amansinaya: Modern-type villas with 16 rooms each, mini pool, main swimming pool within the activity area, water slide, pool bar, and the mountains. It feels serene and quiet. Bring necessities you will need for there are no nearby stores or residences.
Caliraya Resort Club: Unpleasant rooms, bed sheets seems old and dirty, and the receiving area smells so bad –the smell of an old hooker coming out from a hot room (ewww). Pool and other facilities were average. To be honest, this resort is overrated.
Shercon: The volcano view was breathtaking. A great place to escape the busy and polluted city. The place is huge and spacious so be prepared to do a lot of walking (they have few carts though). Explore different kinds of fruit trees like rambutan, lanzones citrus and what have you. The pavilions and rooms are contemporary and cozy. Pools are everywhere. Activities for team building include zipline, maze, wall climbing, obstacle courses, etc.
Camp Benjamin: The rooms were clean, beds were tiny but cozy, bed sheets look new. The swimming pool was lovely. Overall, the facilities are well maintained. The place is green and refreshing. The kind of place you want to de-stress to. Like Shercon, they all have the basic facilities for team building like wall climbing, mud slide, zipline, ropes for obstacle courses etc.
Winner: Camp Benjamin. Well, look at the picture, it’s worth a thousand words.
Amansinaya. “The food was all right. Enough to satisfy our tummies but it was a bit pricey”- tripadvisor review- MalU
Caliraya Resort Club:. Based on my experience, the food were okay, buffet type, but taste so average and nothing to rave about (mairaos lang pagkain ganun).
Shercon. You are allowed to bring you own food without a corcage fee, yay! But according to a a review (ArielPablo), “The food is okay and the serving is okay”, so I am guessing another mediocre food.
Camp Benjamin. We had a chance to peek at a certain group’s Boodle fight food. It has Chicken (inihaw), Fried Pork (lechon Kawali), Fish and vegetables (looks like pinakbet) with bibincrepe (rice cake crepe style). Food from their restaurant was also delightful with reasonable price.
Winner: Camp Benjamin. Yes, with my personal judgement, I am biased. On a serious note, the food has some quality compared to the other three.
Budget? To follow, our boss has yet to decide.