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In Focus: Doreen Alo, Director for Real Estate Management Services, Cebu, Philippines

Sympathetic and determined, meet our Director for Real Estate Management Services in Cebu, Doreen Alo, as she looks back at the challenges that brought her to where she is now and get to know her tips for those who are planning to venture into the world of real estate.

1. What has been your toughest challenge as a real estate management professional and what did you do to get over that challenge?

In 2012, when I joined Colliers, real estate management services (REMS) was a relatively new service in Cebu. We had a few projects then, before I joined the company. The experience I had in terms of building management was different from the management that landed on my lap at that time.  It may be related but I was dealing more with retail rather than office or residential buildings.  I needed to study and learn that quickly. But the real and greatest challenge I had then was not even REMS but on full awareness of the Colliers brand and the services that we do; to explain that Colliers is not an encyclopedia firm but a real estate provider, who we are and what we do.

Like all other challenges, you focus on one thing and plant seeds to reap at another time; the right time – and abundantly. You do the walk and not the talk.  Patience was our greatest ally at the time and in due time, we confidently reaped what we sowed. In a year to three years, we expanded to more than twice or perhaps even tripled the number of projects we managed – another challenge up our sleeves – but a happy one at that.  Today, I can proudly say we made a mark in the industry.

2. What is property management and why should companies engage your services?  What is your differentiator?

Property management in simple terms; is managing a property of another in three different aspects: financial, administrative and technical, where you eventually increase the value of the property, if done well. And as one of the leading brands in REMS, we see to it that it’s done well.  The Colliers team I would say, does things differently. Perhaps it is the culture embedded in the company that differentiates us from all others.  Our services surpass even the agreement we made that 100% customer satisfaction becomes a personal goal. With this common goal, we become ONE COLLIERS geared towards one direction that will accelerate our clients’ success.

3. What advice would you give women who are embarking on a career in property management?

Let’s face it squarely: property management is seen as a “man’s world.” I am in the middle of not just men, but engineers, which I am not, by the way. At a certain point, it gave me no room to equally discuss the technical issues – financials and administration was totally my cup of tea.  But I always advise myself - and this goes to women aspiring to be in the same career path as I am - don’t let your gender, nor your lack of technical knowledge, get in your way. Learn. Learn. And learn. Understand the engineer’s lingo.

I further advise women to gather your strength if you plan to venture into this kind of career. It takes 100% of your time learning the “language.” The challenge in managing another one’s property is real. Property management needs your ability to smile even in distress or at your lowest; to think fast of a solution, when sometimes it seems impossible; to be flexible with your decisions on other people’s concerns without obliterating the very principles you’ve drawn out for everyone to follow; to accept criticism and assess them and learn from it. Everyday is a learning opportunity in property management. Nothing is constant; and you should have the ability to adapt to all the changes. Face it with an open mind.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve received?

One major influencer in my life was my late father. The advise that I still hold in my heart is: (translated from Cebuano dialect) “Always be ready for adversities in your life; life is never fair. Stick it out with your siblings no matter what happens – support each other and resolve any differences you may have immediately. Life is short to harbor ill feelings with anyone especially your siblings.”

There are many advise that I keep in my heart but this is one that I follow the most.

5. What do you do in your down time and what is it about the activity that you like? 

I do a lot of varied activities. I read novels, business magazines, my husband’s books and even my daughter’s books or children’s books. I do crossword puzzles and sudoku, at other times. I watch Netflix and sometimes Filipino teleseryes. I go “malling” every Saturday. BUT the highest form of relaxation for me is cleaning the house – I love seeing every corner of the house clean.

I enjoy being with people, too, it gives me insights of how “to live life to the fullest”. Interacting with a younger set of individuals give me a lot of insights. I enjoy being with my husband and daughter, with whom I discuss anything under the sun – from history, to politics, to Colliers, and our thoughts on matters that we read or we encountered during the day.  I always feel intellectually stimulated when I’m with them.


TV Series

none in particular but just finishing The Crown on Netflix


80’s-90’s (no particular genre) and Adele’s songs

Coffee or Tea

Coffee AND Tea

Tourist Spot

none that I would call a favorite; each tourist spot I’ve been to is unique and

gives a me a different feeling of awe and admiration – you just need to enjoy it


none in particular; but books that had me in tears were Tuesdays with Morrie and Bridges at Madison County – I was totally moved; I couldn’t stop crying until I finished reading.