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Sunday, May 19, 2024

All lit up for the Yuletide season 

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It’s this time of the year that I really enjoy because I get to see and be part of our local hotels’ preparations for the Holiday Season.  Every day, an average of three hotels send out invitations to their colorful Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies, and each one of them always offers something special that makes them different from their competitors.

The Manila Hotel

Their giant Christmas Tree is a work of art of my good friend, Rachy Cuna, the country’s interior decorator par excellance, who adopted a Filipino theme, using ornaments that are part of our tradition and culture. Medium-sized lanterns, balls made of woven rattan, and brightly colored sinamay as ribbons made for a uniquely elegant Tree. The ceremony was officiated by a bevy of VIPs which included Manila Hotel Chairman Basilio Yap, Vice-Chairman Dr. Emilio Yap III, President Joey Lina, US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, and Department of Tourism Regional Director-NCR Sharlene Batin.

Hotel 101-Fort

This newly opened hotel highlighted its continuing Stay Green Campaign by giving out awards to deserving individuals during the Tree Lighting Ceremony which was spearheaded by Hotel 101 Group General Manager Gel Gomez, Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, Department of Tourism NCR Regional Director Sharlene Batin and former Tourism Secretary Mina Gabor. What made the event even more exciting was the simultaneous lighting of the Christmas Trees of the other Hotel 101 and Jinjiang properties all over the country, as seen on the video monitor displayed in the hotel lobby.   

The Heritage Hotel Manila

The Heritage Hotel Manila’s Christmas Tree is switched on amidst a shower of confetti

The hotel developed a novel idea during the Lighting Ceremony of its brightly decorated 20-foot Christmas Tree, which Pasay City Mayor Imelda Rubiano and General Manager Farid Schoucair officiated. Whereas most establishments feature a choral group to dish out Christmas songs, the hotel management decided to feature a cute 6-year-old girl, Sophie San Juan, to serenade guests with her beautiful voice, singing a medley of Yuletide melodies. I was enthralled looking at and listening to this first grader from Miriam College, as my own grandchildren, who are also musically inclined like her, came to mind.  That was a nice Christmas treat.

Conrad Manila

The elegant Tree of Conrad Manila is a sight to behold with its droplets of crystals and shimmering beads

The hotel’s elegant 16-foot Christmas Tree is always a beautiful sight as it is made of crystal beads and sparkling ornaments that speak volumes of its theme this year, Magical Christmas.  Everywhere you go, you see every part of the hotel thoughtfully decorated with beautiful touches of splendor all over, ensuring a magical experience for all guests throughout the most wonderful time of the year. With Congressman Antonino Calixto, Mayor Imelda Rubiano, SMHCC President Elizabeth Sy, Executive Vice-President Peggy Angeles,  and General Manager Fabio Berto turning on the switch, the hotel kicked off the most awaited Festive Season. Guests enjoyed the performances of singer Jasmine Fitzgerald, the male group Qu4tro, and the rich and sumptuous cocktail food served after.

Taal Vista Hotel

Taal Vista Hotel executives switch on the beautiful Christmas Tree of the hotel

It is always a pleasure to drive to Tagaytay for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony of this hotel because I welcome the opportunity to enjoy the cool weather and watch in awe the splendor of Taal Volcano and Lake, the perfect antidote to stressed-out citylanders like me. This time, we were all ready for the lighting ceremony of the gigantic Christmas tree at the hotel’s patio but then, it started to shower, which the management took as a good luck sign, a shower of graces for the hotel.  They then decided to do the ceremony with the Tree at the lobby, which is just as beautiful as the one outside.  SMHCC President Elizabeth Sy, Executive Vice-President Peggy Angeles, and General Manager Ramon Makilan were on hand for the ceremony.

Pico de Loro

Pico de Loro’s colorful Tree carries a strong statement on the property’s care for our seas and underwater resources

The resort’s very attractive Christmas Tree is unique because, instead of the usual Holiday trimmings, management decided to display colorful replicas of various underwater creatures, as a way of pledging their support for the government’s drive to preserve and care for our seas. A trip to this resort in Nasugbu is always a welcome break for me, as I look forward to communing with nature every time I’m there. The last time I went, I explored the beautiful mangrove forest which the property takes care of and it felt really good to enjoy the beauty of nature up close.  This time I decided to soak in the sun and enjoy the warm sea water until I turned bronze. After all, that’s what Christmas in the tropics does to a fun-loving denizen.

The Linden Suites

I got excited to receive the Invitation to their Tree Lighting ceremony as I haven’t been to that part of the metro for ages, since I moved residence to the south.  I miscalculated the traffic and missed the event entirely.  However, party people that the hotel’s officers are, I was still in time for the fun after-party at the hotel’s penthouse.  It was also a chance for me to do an ocular of the guest rooms as I haven’t been to this hotel at all.  The spacious and functionally designed penthouse suites are excellent.  I have to try them out soon.  But the fun penthouse party with friends, which gave me the rare chance to share my musical capabilities, was enough for me to have a taste of what Christmas is like at this hotel.

Being kissed does not always mean you are loved. Ask Jesus about Judas.

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