Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa held its tree-lighting ceremony to coincide with the resort’s 20th anniversary celebration. Good thing traffic from Cebu City to Lapu-Lapu City that afternoon was easy.
Welcoming all at the lobby lounge during a champagne reception were communications director Mildred Amon and a bevy of lovelies that included Lara Agua, Rochelle Tabino, Monica Tan, Natasha Zotova, Kathy Cabahug and Anna Rose Manalo, director of events.
Lighting the Christmas tree were Lapu-Lapu city Mayor Paz Radaza and Marco Vazzoler, the new general manager of the Mactan Shangri-La. Jude Bacalso, glamorous in a Cary Santiago gown, hosted the program with his usual elan.
Jude also hosted the program at the resort’s Mactan ballroom where dinner was served. He does spice up things like no other. He could have gone on and on for all we cared, and it would have been a more entertaining evening.
The ballroom was magnificently set with fine linen, sparkling crystal and gleaming silver. Flowers abloom in every table were to the credit of Pinky Chang, whose husband Winglip, right beside her, was constantly asked when the Grand Majestic Chinese restaurant is reopening. “In January,” he said.
The dinner buffet was superb, with various stations serving up Mactan Shangri-La’s best specialties. There was a tower with the most tempting desserts.
Congratulations are due the new executive chef Ashton Hall, who is from Texas; and the food/beverages director Ben Martlew who comes from Australia.
Seated with Marco Vazzoler were the Consul General of China Zhang Weigou, the Consul of Japan and Mme. Shoji Otake, retired honorary consul general of Australia Arcadio Alegrado with daughter June Alegrado, and Tess Yang. Joining them later were Iris Arcenas and Alice Woolbright.
Lapu-Lapu City VIPs included tourism officer Hembler Mendoza, Councilor Queenie Amman, her husband Horst Amman and their daughter Vanessa.
Spotted: events organizer Stanz Catalan, Timex’s Bob and Susan Oliver with their cousin Peter Pomponio, Jigs Arquiza, Dr. Nestor Alonso, Dedon’s Vince Lampert, Agnes Huettel, Deena Pages and Loida Montesclaros.
Cebu’s society columnists were in full force: Nelia Neri, Flor Ynclino, Chinggay Utzurrum, Cookie Newman, Mila Espina and Honey Loop.
The evening concluded with special and exclusive offers from Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts all over the world, auctioned for the benefit of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” victims.
It was a grand celebration, repeated all over again the next evenings to honor suppliers, clients and more corporate friends. Next grand event at the Mactan Shangri-La is the Chinese New Year.
SM City Cebu turns 20
Also celebrating 20 years of existence was SM City Cebu, spearheaded by Marissa Fernan with the thrust of helping rebuild communities. This has been underscored by SM’s efforts to help victims of the recent earthquake in Bohol and Yolanda, which devastated various provinces in Eastern and Central Visayas.
A simple though meaningful program was presented at SM’s Northwing Atrium featuring excellent renditions of Broadway hits and popular songs by a powerfully wondrous trip of top-quality performers such as Jenine Desiderio, Cris Villonco and Robert Seña.
Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña was present. She recalled how 20 years ago she had cut the SM inaugural ribbon as the city’s then first lady. “Seems like yesterday,” she said, to which Teresin Mendezona and Nonie Uy countered, “and we’re still here.”
They sat with Marissa at the main table together with Amparito Lhuillier whose jewelry store at SM Cebu also opened 20 years ago. Ditto Winglip Chang with his Majestic outlet, and Philip Rodriguez, Cebu’s premier couturier, always ready to assist SM in its fundraising projects.
Rica Rellon, communications manager at the nearby Radisson Blu Hotel, came by with Neil Rumbaca in tow. He is now vice president for marketing of SM Hotels and Conventions. He used to be with the Shangri-La in Mactan.
The Marco Polo Plaza Hotel lit up its Tree of Hope at the lobby to the sound of Christmas carols from the Celestial Voices Chorale, and amid prancing fairies from the Cebu Center for Dance ballet school.
General manager Hans Hauri presided the ceremony together with Msgr. Roberto Alesna of the Cebu Cathedral, and GMA station manager Ann Marie Tan. Maricris Garcia performed to great applause.
There were cheers for Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus when they descended, not through any chimney, but down the hotel’s grand staircase.
The Marco Polo’s Tree of Hope is raising funds for the Kapuso Foundation’s relief operations for those affected by the recent calamities.
For P200 you put your name on a Christmas ball and hang it on the tree. The response has been terrific. Though the décor seem tight, they can still make space for any kindhearted donor all the way up to Jan. 5.