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Experiencing The Madness Of Macau With AXA Asia

Tagging along with the AXA Philippines contingent as they descended on Macau for the regional AXA Asia MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table - the Premier Association of Financial Professionals), was like being part of a career-driven extended family; sharing in their joy and pride to be part of this event, while discovering Macau as a never-ending gaming pleasure-paradise. After all, 5 of the 10 largest casinos in the entire world can be found in Macau, with the Sands Macao and the MGM Grand Macao leading the way of the Macau-based casinos in the Top 10, followed by Ponte 16 Resort, City of Dreams Macao, and The Venetian Macao. And with 41 licensed casinos existing within the 30.5 Square Kilometres of this special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, it’s hard to escape the reality of how this is truly the Las Vegas of Asia.

While heavily dependent on gambling and tourism, Macau has truly taken pains to be more than a one-trick pony of gaming, endeavoring to also be children friendly despite the obvious irony. And it’s worked, as a I saw countless families and kids there on holiday. And don’t scoff at Macau’s existence—while it’s the most densely populated region in the world, it’s among the richest regions in the world, and it’s GDP per capita by purchasing power parity was higher than that of any country in the world. It’s no wonder that Singapore, and Manila’s Entertainment City, have followed the same formula. Shopping and dining in Macau is out of this world—all the luxury retail brands are represented in this enclave of serious money, and just imagine, there are Robuchon and Ducasse restaurants mingling with the highly-regarded Portuguese eateries. 



photos by Philip Cu-Unjieng

The AXA Asia MDRT gathered representatives from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and our own Philippines, among others. AXA Asia’s Chief Executive Officer Gordon Watson welcomed the delegations, and promised an enlightening full-day session of inspirational speakers, of analysis and forecasts, and a lot of camaraderie and sharing so that the different countries could learn from each other. On a sidebar note, if in the past, this event had always been hosted by a Hong Kong-based male host, AXA Philippines pushed for diversity and invited Issa Litton to co-host the event. As so many of the MRDT representatives from the various nations are women, this proved to be a very popular move; and Gordon Watson was more than pleased with the development, happy to see how it created a new dimension to the proceedings. 

At one time seen as a marginal market, the Philippines has emerged as one of the significant areas of growth in the Asian market, with AXA Philippines enjoying double digit growth in 2017. It was on this note of marked accomplishment that the Philippine delegation, some 120-strong, joined the day long festivities, which culminated in a special dinner. The grand winner of Holland’s Got Talent, a light classical tenor, was even flown in for the occasion, and he charmed the crowd by regaling them with one Chinese ballad. 

Led by AXA Philippines Country Head Rahul Hora, CDO Marie Raymundo, and CAO Geoffrey Tan, it was fun mixing with this Philippine contingent, as they’ve obviously found a way to mix rewarding work and play. Having fun, rehearsing for a dance number, would also be mixed with planning sessions and strategy discussions. Coming from all over the country, I loved how one of the MDRT financial professionals relayed to me how loyalty is still of prime importance, how he’s been representing AXA for over 25 years now. 

Macau and this AXA event were certainly eye-openers for me, and I’m thankful for the experience.